Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake (no photo)

I can hardly wait to make this again for two reasons:  1) so I can add a photo to this post and 2) because it is an incredible substitute for a side pasta dish.

I love that this super food has gained such popularity and that recipes for it are plentiful.  I really try to limit the simple-carb pasta dishes to just a few times a month so when I made the bruschetta salmon the other day, I needed a good side dish.  This is absolutely wonderful!!!  All the flavors of a baked pasta dish but with the goodness of quinoa.

** NOTE: The recipe calls for a cup of mozzarella, either shredded or fresh.  I think next time I'll use both:  shredded inside the casserole (for the fun cheese stretch!) and fresh for the top for the wonderful, creamy goodness.

And I will be getting a photo to this soon...I can hardly wait to make it again!


2 cups cooked quinoa (*see note)
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella, divided (**see note)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (about 12 tomatoes)
1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons, divided
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat pasta sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan.  Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, S&P.  Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa.  Fold in half of the mozzarella (see note ** above) and half of the tomatoes, then about half of the basil ribbons.  Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish.  Top with fresh mozzarella (or shredded) and the remaining tomatoes.

Bake for 10-15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons.  Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.

* NOTE:  1 cup uncooked quinoa yields about 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.  I make the  entire batch so I have some leftover for a snack.  To cook, bring 2 cups water to a boil, add uncooked quinoa and let simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Recipe Source:  www.halfbakedharvest.com

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