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There are a lot of pasta and rice casserole recipes but I haven’t see many with quinoa.

Quinoa is a new queen of healthy whole grains, full of complete protein and contains all essential amino acids. Treat it like rice but quinoa is even better. Has a nutty taste with a crunchy texture, fills you up with good quality calories and helps the weight loss. Real food at its best!

And hey, if you have lots of leftover quinoa from last night’s dinner, this Turkey & Spinach Quinoa Casserole has your name written all over it.

Sweet pieces of ground juicy turkey mixed with quinoa, loads of spinach and baked with cheese. Tastes even better the next day (if any left)!

I have a confession to make – me and cheddar cheese are not friends. For health reasons. It was painful to let the cheddar cheese into my perfectly healthy heavenly quinoa dish but I had to. Once I ended up on mom’s farm, the nearest store is 70 kms away. So, you understand…Pretend it’s low fat mozzarella.

I paid back with 5 large handfuls of organic spinach from mom’s garden. Loaded it up for you with iron, vitamins A, K, C, E , calcium and cancer fighting abilities. Mom has so much of superfood spinach, we froze bags full, make salads every day and I drink Superfood Chia Green Smoothie.

I admit though, I love the yellow colours. I understand why so many healthy cooking websites still use cheddar in their dishes and let’s be honest – once in a while I will do the same.

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The casserole came out extremely juicy and perfectly cheesy. Don’t be afraid to throw as much spinach as you want because it shrinks like crazy. Garnishing with diced tomatoes and green onions is optional. My kids loved it!

A tip: if your kids are not spinach eaters, replace it with broccoli, green peas or any other green vegetables they like.

The casserole tastes even better the next day and is perfect for freezing. I made it twice now, froze and defrosted, and each time it was like fresh.

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Turkey & Spinach Quinoa Casserole

Turkey & Spinach Quinoa Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4-5 large handfuls spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 3 cups light cheddar or mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, dry
  • 2 tsp basil, dry
  • Salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)
  • Green onions and diced tomatoes for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa as per package instructions and undercook by 4 minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Preheat skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add turkey and sautee for 5 minutes breaking into pieces with the spatula. Drain the excess liquid and add to the bowl with quinoa.
  4. Return skillet to the heat and spray with cooking spray again. Add garlic and onions, and fry until golden brown. Add spinach and sauté until it's wilted. Transfer to a bowl with quinoa and turkey.
  5. Into the same bowl, add tomato sauce, bread crumbs, 2 cups of cheese, thyme, basil, salt and ground pepper to taste. Mix enough to combine.
  6. Transfer the mixture in a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake for 25 minutes. Serve immediately, no need to let the casserole cool down.
  7. Optional: sprinkle with diced tomatoes, green onions, a dollop of Greek yogurt or salsa.
  8. Storing Instructions: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze divided into individual portions, in an air tight container for up to 1 month.
http://ifoodreal.com/turkey-spinach-quinoa-casserole/

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving = 1.5 cup:
Calories: 441.6
Total Fat: 8.1 g
Cholesterol: 53.9 mg
Sodium: 911.8 mg
Total Carbs: 45.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.8 g
Protein: 45.6 g
WW Points+: 8

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58 Responses to “Turkey and Spinach Quinoa Casserole”

  1. S

    Made this earlier this week. I added mushrooms and topped with some Sriracha. Delish! Back to find more recipes!

    Reply
  2. Lindsey

    Just made this & even without the garlic, onion, & spices, it was delish, so with these I can’t even imagine! This’ll be a regular in my home!

    Reply
  3. erin

    When you defrost after freezing, how do you reheat? Oven, microwave? Any suggestions?

    Reply
  4. Cattledog

    We made your recipe early last week and will be doing a repeat this week. Thank you

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Try to buy organic or at least without hard pronounced ingredients. I either use organic Trader Joe’s sauce or Newman’s Own All Natural or Organic.

      Reply
  5. Carrie

    I have two packages of ground turkey breast sitting in my
    freezer. Didn’t know what to do with it. I think I just found my
    answer ;)

    Reply
  6. Colleen

    This looks delicious! Do you think it could possibly be
    made in a slow cooker? I have to bring in a slow cooker recipe for
    work next week…

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Possibly yes. Never tried. Since it’s all cooked, just cook on low for 3 hours. Let me know how it works out. Hm. I should try that too!

      Reply
  7. Tara

    Looks amazing!! I’ve question though, when you undercook the quinoa, do you drain the excess water first, or leave it in with the other ingredients? Can’t wait to try it, thanks!!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      You undercook quinoa by a few minutes, so it is al dente, a bit hard. There will be no water left, maybe just a tiny bit at the bottom. The grain should absorb all water, it just won’t expand that much if you cooked it all the way. But in case you have some water left, just drain it. I always cook my quinoa 1:1.25 ratio, not 1:2. You can do that. Guarantee, there will be no water left.:)

      Reply
  8. AJ

    I really enjoyed the flavour of this dish. The texture was
    a bit homogeneous and mushy for my husband. Next time I will break
    it up more by adding vegetables (maybe broccoli) throughout. I
    halved the recipe and it filled an 8×10 casserole dish. Adding
    tomatoes to the top was delish.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Mix some tomato paste and diced fresh tomatoes with boiling water to bring it to 2 cups. It will kind of be the same consistency as tomato sauce. Or as an alternative, puree in a food processor some tomatoes with the paste. The paste will thicken the tomato juice.

      Reply
  9. Lea

    I’m so excited to find this recipe!! Just curious… The recipe says it serves 12 people at 2 cups per serving… that would mean the recipe make 24 cups of casserole? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Lea. That was a typo. The recipe makes 12 cups or 8 servings, 1.5 cup each serving. I updated the info. Got confused.:) Tx for pointing that out. Enjoy!

      Reply
  10. Amy Fox

    How necessary are the bread crumbs and cheese? Thanks! I really hope to adapt this a bit for my nutritional needs.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Breadcrumbs soak up the liquid and cheese helps to hold the casserole together. It will work out without these 2, just won’t taste the same or be holding together. Still should be good.:)

      Reply
  11. alyssa

    Just made this it was the best! Had such a different but good taste! Made me fill full without filling weighed down can’t wait to makw this for special occasions!

    Reply
  12. Katie

    I tried this recipe with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and it was wonderful! I am an oncology nurse navigator and in our clinic’s monthly newsletter I like to put one healthy recipe for our cancer patients to try. May I have your permission to use this recipe?

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      You can use gluten free breadcrumbs, coarsely ground gluten free oats or ground rice crackers instead of regular breadcrumbs.

      Reply
  13. Katie

    I’ll be honest – as I was preparing this dish, I was getting a little worried. It looked mushy and I thought I had gotten the proportions off.

    HOWEVER, this casserole is amazing! I am so, so pleased and so excited to have found it. I added some red pepper flakes, and then garnished with diced tomatoes with habanero peppers for a kick. Yum, yum, yum! Glad I’ll have leftovers for a while. :)

    Thank you, Olena! I’ll definitely be back for more recipes. :)

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Haha, I always appreciate the honesty. I never get offended because we all have different tastebuds. Glad you liked it! And yes, I cook in big portions.:) You can always freeze too.

      Reply
  14. Jareli

    I was looking for a new recipe that I could use quinoa with. This look delicious! And I love that you added the WW Points Plus on there. So helpful! DEFINITELY trying tonight. :)

    Reply
  15. April

    Yay! Pinned this about a month ago – tried it tonight! EVERYONE liked it!! (Includes an 8 & 11 year old!!) SO happy! Thank you! I added some red peppers for color (& because I had them) Other than that, stuck to recipe – yum!

    Reply
  16. Denise

    My Parents hunt & we’ve got quite a bit of Ground Venison in our Freezer. Could you do a swap out of it w/the Ground Turkey? It would certainly help from hearing, yet again, Mom say to me “Do you know how expensive that is!?!” Ever since being diagnosed Gluten Sensitive at the very least this past year, that sentence gets said at least twice a week by her. I see these blogs where people they have no idea where they’d be w/out the support of their Family after their Gluten Intolerance diagnosis and I wonder what that’s like. I mean, it’s not like I’m doing this to her on purpose or have any choice in the matter, but for some reason…

    Anyway, please let know if that swap can be done? Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Yes you can totally use ground venison. I use it sometimes as well as my mom hunts. Yes older generation doesn’t adapt to changes easily.

      Reply
  17. Amy @ A Little Nosh

    I made this tonight and we really enjoyed it. It was great that I could prep it all last night and then just stick the casserole pan in the oven when I got home from work. I’m going to be blogging about this recipe soon!

    Reply
  18. Kate

    How did you calculate the WW points plus for this recipe? When I put in the fat, carbs, fiber and protein that you have listed into my WW calculator, I got 11 points. Just trying to figure out which is correct because it’s delicious!

    Reply
  19. Emma

    Is there anyway to substitute the cheddar cheese with something else? Would greek yogurt work?

    Reply
    • Olena

      Greek yogurt wouldn’t work. You can skip cheese completely but then add a bit more of dried herb spices to compensate for lost flavours. Or you can use cheese alternatives, there are plenty.

      Reply
  20. Karin

    I made a slightly altered version of this tonight and really enjoyed it–though I’m sure I would have loved the original, too. However, I have a kid who really doesn’t like quinoa, so I used an 8 oz. package of farro instead (cooked per package instructions); also, I had leftover roast turkey that needed to be used so I replaced the browned ground turkey with diced roast turkey. Thank you for a delicious dinner! We’ll certainly make it again, I hope eventually with ground turkey and quinoa! :)

    Reply
  21. Kate

    I have really bad GERD so all tomato products are out of the question :( Do you think there would be anything I could substitute for the tomato sauce?

    Reply
    • Olena

      You can try any organic canned soup. Amy’s or Pacific Foods have a good selection. I’m thinking mushroom, chicken or butternut squash soup will be great.

      Reply

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