A simple and delicious vegan quinoa and spinach bake that’s ready in less than an hour and only requires 10 ingredients. It’s everything a good casserole should be: creamy, crispy, satisfying.
Why you’ll love it
First, let me just tell you that my husband DOES NOT like quinoa. And he asked me to make this again, so there’s that…But here are some reasons why you’ll love this dish as well.
Let’s just take a second to discuss quinoa. It’s obviously one of my favorite foods (hence “Cashews and Quinoa“) and here’s why…Quinoa is incredibly versatile. It’s similar to rice in that it takes on the flavors of the liquid it’s cooked in. It’s a great base for burritos, granola (stay tuned for a recipe), and casseroles. I’m going to let you in on my tips and tricks for making the BEST quinoa. Here we go!
First off, I suggest buying pre-rinsed quinoa. Just one less step in preparing the quinoa at home. If you don’t buy the pre-washed stuff, rinse and drain the quinoa thouroughly before cooking it.
Next tip, for every 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, use 1 3/4 cups of liquid. You read that right. Not 2 cups of liquid. I’ve found that using 1 3/4 cups prevents the quinoa for getting squishy. You want light and fluffy quinoa right?
Bring the liquid (I always use water) to a boil and then add the uncooked quinoa. Cover the pot and cook the quinoa for 10-12 minutes over a very low flame.
The quinoa is finished once the liquid is absorbed. Now, here’s the challenging part: wait! Resist the urge to stir, fluff, or eat the quinoa. Let it rest, uncovered for about 10 minutes before fluffing gently with a fork. I prefer to let the quinoa rest even longer especially if it’s being used in a casserole. You want it as close to room temperature as possible.
There you have it! Perfect quinoa EVERY TIME!
The spinach mixture is super simple to prepare and can be made while the quinoa is cooking. In a large skillet add the olive oil and heat over medium-high. Once hot, add the diced onion and minced garlic, cooking over medium-high heat until the onion is soft but not burned. About 4 minutes.
Add the fresh spinach and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the spinach to cook down for about 3 minutes. Once the spinach is wilted, remove the contents of the pan into a separate bowl and add the chopped artichoke hearts. Set the mixture aside for later.
Ok, I know a rue can sound scary, but I promise it’s not. If you’ve ever made macaroni and cheese (even the boxed stuff) you’ve made a rue. The key to a good rue is getting the fat to flour ratio correct. With a correct ratio, the flour will whisk together beautifully and come smooth and, gradually, golden brown. When the flour and olive oil are thick, smooth, and golden the mixture is ready for some liquid.
While whisking the rue, gradually add the room-temperature almond milk. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to a low simmer to thicken. Continue whisking the mixture to prevent clumping or a film from forming on the surface. After a few minutes the liquid should thicken. At this point, the rue is finished. All that’s left to do is add the vegan mozzarella cheese (this is the BEST homemade vegan mozzarella cheese EVER!). Stir the cheese into the hot rue and allow it to melt. A few small chunks of un-melted cheese are no big deal. They’ll melt in the oven.
Putting It All Together
Now that you have your perfectly cooked quinoa, spinach artichoke mixture, and cheesy rue, let’s put it all together. Into the rue, add the spinach and artichoke mixture. Stir to coat. Then add the quinoa and gently stir. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased loaf pan and top with panko breadcrumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and bake, uncovered, at 350*F for 25 minutes. At 20 minutes, check to make sure that the topping isn’t burning. When the bake is finished, allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
This quinoa spinach bake is so creamy and full of wholesome ingredients. It’s simple and satisfying and I hope that you give it a try. Let me know what you think and I’ll see you for the next recipe. Enjoy friends!
Ingredient Health Benefits
Artichokes- vitamin C, folate, fiber, magnesium, potassium, 7th highest food antioxidant-containing food (2004 USDA study)
Olive oil- monounsaturated fats
Onion- antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, folate
Quinoa- complete protein; rich in iron, potassium, riboflavin, B6, niacin, and thiamine; good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese; anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory properties
Spinach- fiber, vitamin K, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, vitamin B, vitamin A, glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)
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Quinoa Spinach Bake
- 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 6 oz fresh spinach
- 1, 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, sqeezed dry & chopped
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1½ cups almond milk
- ½ cup vegan mozzarella*
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1-2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat and saute onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes until soft.
Turn down the heat to medium and add spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Remove from the skillet and set aside for later. Add the chopped artichoke hearts
In the same skillet, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for 3-4 minutes until browned but not burned, whisking continuously.
Whisk in the almond milk and continue stirring unti the mixture has thickened. Add in the vegan mozzarella and whisk until smooth.
Add the spinach and artichoke mixture to the thickened almond milk. Stir to combine and add the cooked and cooled quinoa. Gently mix well and add to prepared loaf pan.
Top with panko breadcrumbs and olive oil.
Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes unti the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
*This is the vegan mozzarella cheese recipe I used. It’s amazing for pizzas, dips, casseroles…