Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake

I’m the proud owner of a Costco size bag of quinoa. I wouldn’t say I “needed” it, but it was right there in front of me and everything at Costco is so tempting (i.e. the massive blocks of cheese). Not to mention a little box of quinoa isn’t always cheap, so it was a pretty good deal…and quinoa is dellisssh.

This bake is pretty great because it’s like healthy comfort food with the classic chicken and broccoli combo. I know what you’re probably thinking, how is it healthy if it has cheese? Well a little cheese never hurt no one, okay! It’s made totally from scratch. That means no canned soup full of ingredients that you ain’t ever heard of. Chicken, fresh broccoli, superfood quinoa, creamy greek yogurt and cheese… how can you can say no to that? Seriously… how? It’s also easy and quick to make. PERK ALERT.

Oh hey, does anyone know how to actually measure out how much quinoa you need? It’s like pasta, I always cook wayyyyy to much. I wanted 2 cups cooked quinoa, but I had no idea how much dry quinoa to measure to make 2 cups cooked…so I ended up with about 6 cups cooked quinoa. If you’re mathematically challenged like me (or don’t read instructions like me) then you can freeze cooked quinoa in freezer bags and defrost in the fridge, which is what I ended up doing!

Some Dani notes:

  • Cook the quinoa ahead of time (the ideal shortcut)
  • Make the whole casserole ahead of time, keep it in the fridge or freeze it and bake it off on a busy night when you’re running out the door.
  • Get creative with the cheese, I always use cheddar but you can use whatever you like, mix it up!
  • Cut out the chicken if you like and substitute with more veggies or meat alternative (Asparagus or yves sausage would be yum)
  • I used white wine (because I had some open) but you can sub it for veggie or chicken broth (which it turns out I didn’t have)
  • This whole thing can be made ahead of time, and baked off when you’re ready to eat
  • This makes GREAT leftovers, you can even freeze the leftovers!
  • I’m pretty sure it’s kid friendly? I mean it’s full of cheese, so how could it not be. I don’t have kids, but I definitely would have ate this as a child.

Is there anything better on a rainy day then hot, ooey gooey, creamy comfort food that you can feel good about? I don’t think so. It’s the perfect way to add some superfood to your weekday!

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Serves 4 (or less if you want amazing leftovers!)

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon AP flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken, veggie stock or wine
  • 3/4 cup milk or half and half cream
  • 1-2 tablespoon cilantro
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (plus a pinch extra 😉 )
  • Cilantro, for on top
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square casserole dish.
  2. Season sliced chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
  4. Add chicken breasts and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, until browned. Set aside.
  5. In the same pan, melt butter. Scrape all those yummy brown bits off the bottom. Add onions and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or 2 until onions are soft and translucent. Your kitchen should start to smell fantastic at this point!
  6. Add in flour and cook for 1 minute until lightly browned. Whisk in the stock or wine and milk. Bring to a boil and add cilantro. Cook for 2 minutes, continuously whisking.
  7. Turn heat down to low, add broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes.
  8. Stir in cooked quinoa, chicken, greek yogurt, 3/4 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Toss to combine.
  9. Spread mixture into the casserole dish. Bake for 12 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and bake until cheese in melted and top is lightly browned.
  11. Serve with fresh cilantro.

Tahini Harvest Bowl

Nope, I didn’t hurt myself. I was Dwight Schrute-ing it last night. If you don’t know what that means you should go look up who Dwight Schrute is, I bascially looked like this last night:

Image result for dwight schrute covered in beet juice at mall

Meaning that like Dwight, I wouldn’t be allowed in any fancy stores for safety concerns. “I’m a beet farmer, you idiot!” I’m actually not a beet farmer though. But I do like beets, and I decided to try roasting them last night which was a W-I-N in my books, and I also discovered a few things. 1. I should have used gloves, and 2. Dwight must have some damn good soap because beet juice gets over and stains EVERYTHING, and 3. He was right, beets are life. If you do use beets, I suggest gloves and to rinse everything off right away so it doesn’t set in.

This dish isn’t really about the beets, I just got super excited because I never cook with them, so it was new and uncharted territory for me. I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but veggie bowls are REALLY popular, they’re everywhere. I jumped on that train last night with some in-season winter veggies and quinoa and it was darn good. So good in fact, that I called my mom just to tell her what I had made and how much I was enjoying it.

Umm…and this easy tahini sauce? If you haven’t had tahini, it’s sesame paste, and it’s often used in hummus. It’s a bit bitter for me, so I felt it needed sweetener. This sauce was soooooo fantastic (or at least I thought it was), I legitimately could eat it on ANYTHING and be perfectly content. I packed up a container of leftovers for BBE who likes Tahini, and I think I may have put too much on, but hey the quinoa will soak it all up, right? As you all know by now, I love lemon, so I added a lot – but start with a little and then keep adding as we may have very different lemon tolerances. This sauce would also be perfect as a salad dressing, hot or cold, as a dip, over any fun hippy-dippy veggie/grain bowls…or maybe even just on some bread…or just with a spoon.

Alright, so this is a super easy concept. Sweetened roasted broccoli, beets, sweet potatoes and carrots, fluffy quinoa, and to marry it all together it’s topped with tahini sauce, pistachios (another BBE favourite) and fresh dill. How quick and easy is that? More importantly, it’s packed with nutrients and you can use any seasonal veggies, or whatever you have in your fridge. This really makes the perfect weeknight meal when you’re craving something healthy and simple yet satisfying. Plus, it’s super comforting, which is ideal for the chilly winter weather! Oh and hey, it makes beautiful leftovers…ding ding! Meal prep friendly!

In more good news, my hands and cutting board are beet juice free today, and I have veggie loaded, sweet and savoury, superfood leftovers awaiting me! Not too shabby considering this meal took LESS THAN AN HOUR which means you can quickly get back to binge watching Netflix! WIN WIN.

Tahini Harvest Bowl (Vegan)

Vegetables:

  • 2 medium whole carrots (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 beet (peeled and cubed…gloves recommended!)
  • 2 Tbsp sweetener (honey, maple syrup or other alternative)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil 
  • Pinch of salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 1 small/medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed

Quinoa:

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained; I buy the pre-rinsed)
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch of salt

Tahini Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Zest and Juice of one medium lemon (to taste, start out with a bit add more if needed)
  • 2 -3 tbsp sweetener (honey, maple syrup or other alternative) (to taste)
  • pinch of pepper & salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (or until you get a consistency you like)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh dill or parsley (to taste)

For serving (optional):

  • Pistachios, walnuts or almonds
  • Dill or parsley

Preheat oven to 400 fht. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment (easy clean-up!)

Place carrots, beets and sweet potatoes on baking sheet (these take longer than the broccoli so we start them first) and drizzle with 3/4 of the honey or sweetener and oil (save some for the broccoli) and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Toss to combine..careful not to mix the veggies together as the beet will stain the other veggies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until veggies start getting soft (depending on your oven and how big you cut the veggies). Once they start to get soft, add broccoli to the sheet pan, drizzle with the rest of the honey or sweetener and oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the water and add the quinoa. Put on low and cook for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Set aside.

To make the sauce, combine tahini, sweetener, dill (or parsley), salt, pepper. Add lemon juice, a bit at a time, adjusting the amount to your taste. Drizzle in olive oil to loosen the sauce and make it thick but pourable. If you want it thicker, add less oil, and more for a thinner sauce. Taste and adjust as needed, adding in more honey, lemon, dill or oil if desired.

To serve, divide quinoa into bowls. Top with roasted vegetables and a pretty generous pour of the tahini sauce because it’s delicious. Garnish with nuts (I used pistachios, the crunch is great) and fresh dill or parsley.

Saluti!