2 1/2 cups water
2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrots
4 4 oz links chicken sausage (I used chicken and apple links) chopped
6 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
CREAMY CHEDDAR SAUCE:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
COOK THE QUINOA:
- Bring water and quinoa to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 12 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
- Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- To a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat over MED heat. Add chopped onion, carrot and chicken sausage and saute 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are softened and sausage is lightly browned. Remove to a large mixing bowl, reserving the pan drippings in the skillet.
- While onions, carrots and sausage are sauteing, add broccoli florets to a large microwaveable bowl with a splash of water. Cover bowl with a plate and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, to steam. Drain broccoli and add to the large mixing bowl.
- Add butter and garlic to pan drippings, melt. Add flour and whisk until mixture is combined and no flour lumps remain.
- Add milk and chicken stock, whisking to remove any lumps from the flour/butter mixture. Bring to a high simmer and cook, whisking often for 2-4 minutes. Mixture will thicken quite a bit.
- Add thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine. Add in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, whisking to melt cheese into sauce.
- Add cooked quinoa to large mixing bowl with other cooked ingredients. Pour in cheese sauce and stir to combine well.
- Spray a 3 qt. casserole dish (13×9″) with non-stick cooking spray and transfer 1/2 the mixture to dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, the top with remaining half of mixture.
- Toss panko breadcrumbs with remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle over top of casserole. Top with 2/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.
- Cool UNbaked casserole completely, then cover tightly with foil.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F, for 25 minutes.
- Broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.
Original Recipes visit: Cheesy Quinoa and Sausage Broccoli Casserole @ thechunkychef.com