If somebody had offered me kale and quinoa when I was a kid, I probably would have rejected them, even though I’d never had them. But if somebody put this casserole on my plate, without telling me what is in it, I think I would have dug right in. Covering it in cheese saves the healthy broccoli, kale, and beans from the realm of hippie health food. Don’t get me wrong–I eat a lot of what most people would probably consider health food. (I am a vegetarian, after all.) But sometimes you just want cheesy comfort food, and this casserole fits the bill. Just don’t tell anyone that there’re a lot of vegetables underneath that cheese.
Cheesy Broccoli Kale Quinoa Casserole
5 cups (12 oz) fresh broccoli florets
1 Tbsp water
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
2 Tbsp pesto
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
3 green onions, sliced
3 cups chopped kale, tough spines removed
1 16 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
12 oz grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the broccoli florets in a large bowl with the water, cover, and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, until slightly tender but still firm.
Whisk the vegetable stock, pesto, salt, and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Heat mixture over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally.
Place the quinoa and green onions in a 9×13 baking dish. Add the hot vegetable stock, then the kale, garbanzo beans, parmesan and 8 oz (about 2 cups) of the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Take the casserole out of the oven and mix in the broccoli. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese over the top of the casserole and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted.
Optional: Place the casserole under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to brown the top. Serve warm.