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Red Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Gruyere Bake

Ellie Krieger’s recipes are some of the best things on the planet. We love her creations, and use them whenever we see them. We found this one thanks to the Washington Post.

There’s a lot going on here, but I promise, it’s well worth the effort. It’s actually not all that much effort, just a lot of prep involved—mostly prepping vegetables and cooking the quinoa ahead of time.

Considering how cheesy and delicious this casserole dish is, it’s remarkably healthy—low-fat milk, only a bit of AP flour, a little Gruyere cheese, and lots of grains and veggies. The flavor comes from a wonderful seasoning combination and a little bit of creativity. She recommends red quinoa (available at Wegman’s) for its deep flavor, but any quinoa (and, I suspect, just about any grain) will do. But try the red quinoa. And when you prepare it, do it in stock, not just water (you’ll thank me later). I used Better-Than-Bouillon seasoned vegetable base to make the quinoa, and I used twice the recommended amount. It really rounds the flavor up. I guarantee you’ll be happy if you make it this way.

This is not just another veggie casserole. It is just bursting with flavor. And if a nice meaty bite is something you crave, include some cremini and shiitake mushrooms to the veggies. They will add a nice earthy and “meaty” note to this wonderful dish.

It’s a keeper!

INGREDIENTS
  • Olive oil, for greasing the baking dish
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, preferably red (from about 3/4 cup/4 1/2 ounces uncooked)
  • 4 cups roasted mixed vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, squash, assorted mushrooms…), coarsely chopped
DIRECTIONS

Roast the vegetables—whichever ones you choose—according to your favorite recipe, until lightly golden brown and beginning to soften.

Prepare the quinoa per package instructions, adding vegetable cubes or stock base to the water. We use “Better-Than-Bouillon” seasoned vegetable base—the best product available (IMHO) for quick stocks.

Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Brush a 1 1/2- to 2-quart shallow baking dish with oil.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the garlic, mustard and paprika and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, until the mixture has thickened to the thickness of cream, about 2 minutes.

Add half of the cheese, the salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat. Add the quinoa and vegetables to the pot and stir until combined.

Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Brown Rice: Perfect Every time

Do you like brown rice? Do you hesitate to make it because it’s time consuming, and half the time it comes out wrong? Too mushy or too hard, too runny or too sticky? And then you don’t do it again, because you’re unsure of the final product?

Well let me ease your pain.

This brown-rice recipe isn’t much fussier or time consuming than regular rice, as easy to make, and healthier, tastier, and fluffier–all the reasons you want brown rice instead of white.

I make a lot of brown rice; Liza wants it with almost every meal. So I needed to find a simple, foolproof recipe that was consistent. I tried a dozen different recipe sources, and wouldn’t you know, I settled on Martha Stewart? I’ve honed it to, ahem, perfection. Martha’s recipe is three ingredients: rice, water, and salt. The amounts are different from what you think you need for rice, but it works.

For my recipe I’ve replaced the salt with bouillon cubes (vegetable, chicken, or beef), because I just like it better; it adds a note that just picks up the flavor of whatever you serve it with. But if you don’t want the extra flavor, replace the bouillon cube with 1/4 teaspoon of Morton’s or 1/2 teaspoon of Diamond Crystal kosher salt. And trust me on the amounts and timing. It won’t seem right, but I guarantee success if you follow the recipe. And by the way, stock works too, if you have that on hand.

Here then, is perfect-every-time brown rice…

Ingredients:

1 3/8 cup water (or stock)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown rice

2 bouillon cubes (chicken, vegetable, or beef–omit if you’re using stock) or kosher salt as described above

Preparation:

1. Rinse the rice in cold water, stirring and changing the water until it runs clear.

2. Add the water to an enamel-coated cast-iron pan, turn the heat on to medium, and crush the bouillon cubes (or the kosher salt) into the water. Stir to mix, add the rice and stir once quickly.

3. Cover and bring the pot to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to a low setting that keeps the pot at a slow simmer. Give the rice one quick stir and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes (no more!). Remove from the heat.

4. Quickly fluff the rice with a rubber spatula, replace the cover and allow the rice to steam, off the heat, for 10 minutes. Serve immediately, or move the rice to a refrigerator-safe storage container and allow to cool to room temperature. Store for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze in airtight zipper-close freezer bags (yup! It freezes, too, but defrost slowly, not in a microwave oven).

Perfect every time.

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