Caprese Quinoa Bake

Be the mom whose kids get to stay out riding bikes and playing till ‘really late.’

Be the mom whose kids are having Caprese Quinoa Bake for dinner instead of Cheerios or Fruit Loops.

Be the woman sitting down to an amazing, vegetarian meal that is amazingly healthy and delicious.

Be THAT person!

We are having this at our house Tuesday night!

out of the oven

Fluffy quinoa is tossed with roasted petite Roma tomatoes, sautéed shallots and garlic, chopped basil, and grated mozzarella cheese and then topped with slices of juicy beefsteak tomatoes and fresh mozzarella…..and finally baked to beautiful, golden brown, bubbling perfection. (I know what you are thinking…you just want a bowl of Cheerios.  Right) Feel free to bulk this up with crumbled sausage, ground beef, steak, shrimp or ground turkey.

IMPORTANT: When you make the Caprese Quinoa, try the medium or spicy Italian sausage. Remove it from the casing and brown it in a frying pan. Add it with the quinoa, shredded mozzarella, garlic and scallions when you get to that part of the recipe. Also, at the end of the baking time, I put it under the broiler for about 3 minutes. Let it set in the oven when you turn off the broiler for about five minutes. Then pour the balsamic vinegar reduction over the top. ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS

1¼ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups petite Roma or cherry tomatoes, halved (You can use a blend of red and yellow tomatoes but all red is fine.)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 small shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced (3 tsp minced from the jar)
¼ cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup of grated cheese) (Purchase this grated or shredded)
8 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4–inch rounds
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

NOTE:  I added 4 small links of crumbled and browned mild Italian sausage.  I added it when the quinoa was put in the large bowl.

PREP PHOTOS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3.   While the quinoa is cooking, place the halved tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

tomatoes in

4. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes until they’re tender and the skins have started to burst.tomatoes out

5. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When hot, add the minced shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.

6. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, cooked shallots and garlic, and basil. Stir in the grated mozzarella and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.shallots

7. Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large skillet and smooth the top. (Yes, you can use a round, square or rectangular baking dish if that’s what you have.)waiting for quinoa

8.Starting in the center, overlap slices of tomatoes and mozzarella in a small circle. Make a second circle of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella, covering the surface of the quinoa. (If you’re using a square or rectangular dish, just make two lines of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella and call it a day.)getting ready for tomatoes cheese and oven

9.Cover the skillet loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.tom and cheese

After 10 minutes in the oven:

after 10 minnutes in oven

10.While your quinoa bake is in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside. (This is easy to do — don’t move from the vinegar and it will be perfect) Balsamic reduction in progress below:

balsamic

 

11.Sprinkle your quinoa bake with freshly sliced basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.

The bake in the photo below as well as the photos of the process, are all mine!

out of the oven

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, place the halved tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes until they’re tender and the skins have started to burst.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When hot, add the minced shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
  5. In a large bowl combine the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, cooked shallots and garlic, and basil. Stir in the grated mozzarella and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large skillet and smooth the top. (Yes, you can use a round, square or rectangular baking dish if that’s what you have. Duh.)
  7. Starting in the center, overlap slices of tomatoes and mozzarella in a small circle. Make a second circle of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella, covering the surface of the quinoa. (If you’re using a square or rectangular dish, just make two lines of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella and call it a day.)
  8. Cover the skillet loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.
  9. While your quinoa bake is in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  10. Sprinkle your quinoa bake with freshly sliced basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.

 

SHOPPING LIST

1¼ cups uncooked quinoa
2 cups petite Roma or cherry tomatoes  (You can use a blend of red and yellow tomatoes but all red is fine.)
extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
2 small shallots
garlic minced (3 tsp minced from the jar)
¼ cup packed basil leave
8 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese (Purchase this grated or shredded)
8 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 beefsteak tomatoes
balsamic vinegar

Source:  Recipe:  Domesticate Me (The Dude Diet)

Photos:  My Kitchen Romance

 

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