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.
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.
- 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)
- Cook quinoa as per package instructions and undercook by 4 minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl.
- Preheat oven to 375 F degrees and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Optional: sprinkle with diced tomatoes, green onions, a dollop of Greek yogurt or salsa.
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving = 1.5 cup:
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