Simple ingredients mix up in a snap and then bake to golden perfection for an easy, cheesy meal enjoyed by kids and adults alike!
Delicious recipes that allow for seasonal adjustments rank high in my book. Originally, I developed this baked quinoa dish because I wanted to use this wholesome grain in a new way–and my 10-year-old isn’t fond of the texture when presented as a salad or pilaf, let alone all by itself.
So, I incorporated eggs, cheese, veggies, and a few other odds and ends. And guess what? It was a hit!
I truly love this dish too. If I’m lucky enough to have leftovers, this dish makes a perfect lunch or second dinner. Sometimes, I top my piece with chopped avocado and tomatoes to make a deliciously satisfying meal.
As for the seasonal component, broccoli, kale, and spinach are excellent alternatives to the zucchini. I haven’t incorporated sautéed mushrooms yet, but that addition is next on my list. (If you try it first–perhaps with some Asiago cheese–please provide feedback!)
In the recipe notes, I’ve included a number of other ways to adapt this quick and easy, all-in-one meal. And for tips on cooking this mildly nutty-tasting ancient grain, take a peek at this Perfectly Cooked Quinoa post.
- 2 cups (290g/10.2 oz) cooked quinoa (from ¾ cup uncooked, see notes)
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup (60ml/2oz) milk
- 1 cup (4½-5oz) shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture (see notes)
- 1 cup (4oz) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup (55g/2oz) finely diced ham (your favorite deli ham works well; see headnote for options)
- ⅓ cup mix of mild chopped herbs (like basil, chives, parsley, and dill; omit or add ½ dried Italian seasoning if you don’t have any on hand)
- ¼ cup minced yellow onion
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375℉ and lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking dish.
Lightly beat the eggs with the milk in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except the Parmesan or Asiago and spread into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just set and the top is lightly golden. If desired, stop cooking a minute or two early and broil, watching carefully, to further brown the top.
Quinoa Tips: Always rinse and drain well before cooking; this will eliminate any trace of bitter flavor. Red, white, or tri-color quinoa may be used. Leftover or previously cooked quinoa works very well in this recipe. This How to Cook Perfect Quinoa post offers specific details and troubleshooting.
Flavor upgrade for the quinoa: To achieve a slightly nutty flavor, you can sauté the rinsed and drained quinoa over medium-high heat in about a tablespoon of olive oil until dry and slightly toasted. Stir frequently so as not to burn as quinoa dries. Then, add the liquid and simmer, uncovered, over low until cooked through, about 12-15 minutes. To get the correct amount for this recipe, start with ¾ cup (141g) of dry quinoa and, after sautéing, add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (10oz) water. You could also cook the quinoa in chicken or vegetable stock for added flavor.
The zucchini: I grate the zucchini on the coarse side of a box or hand grater then squeeze out the excess moisture with a paper towel or clean tea towel.
• Broccoli is an excellent alternative to the zucchini. Frozen and thawed broccoli that has been similarly squeezed of its moisture works well, as does chopped leftover roasted broccoli. When roasted, enough moisture has been cooked out that squeezing is not necessary.
• You could also try spinach, treating frozen the same way as the zucchini or frozen broccoli. Fresh spinach should be steamed or sautéed to wilt, and then the excess moisture should be removed.
• Mixing up the cheese is fair game (an Italian blend or crumbled feta would be nice), and cheese lovers may absolutely go a heavy on the measurement.
• A handful or sliced olives offers another complementary flavor addition.