Quinoa, Cheddar and Zucchini Bake

By Ann Fulton

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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. 

Simple ingredients mix up in a snap and then bake to golden perfection for an easy, cheesy meal enjoyed by kids and adults alike!

An iPhone photo of a recent dinner (February 2022) served with Air Fryer Broccoli. To make that, toss florets with olive oil to lightly coat and salt and pepper to taste. Air fry in a single layer at 400℉ for 10-12 minutes or until crisp-tender and lightly charred in spots. 

July 2012

 

Quinoa, Cheddar and Zucchini Bake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
This all-in-one offers a family friendly way to enjoy quinoa and comes together in a snap. Use pre-cooked quinoa for added speed. The small amount of ham offers a lovely hint of flavor, although you could substitute several strips of cooked and crumbled bacon, cooked sausage, or simply omit for a vegetarian meal.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉ and lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking dish.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Notes

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.

Variations:
• 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.

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Comments

  1. Pingback: Our Summertime Favorites » The Farm Bus from Farm to Family

  2. Ann

    It looks great, I think I will bake it in mini muffin tins. I’m the only one that likes quinoa. Then I can freeze them for a quick bite.

    Reply
  3. Lynette Cassel

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it last week and just ate the last piece for lunch. It is SO good. I ‘m going to make it again in a muffin pan. Easy lunches. Yum.

    Thanks again, Lynette

    Reply
    1. Ann

      You are so welcome, Lynette, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I think the muffin cups will be great!

      Reply
  4. Carol

    This was an instant favorite the first time I made it, and in the autumn we had it several times. I hadn’t made it in a while, though, and it came up in a discussion of “healthy eating after the holidays.” Last night, in all the snow, I decided we needed comfort food after what promised to be harrowing commutes home-but so often comfort food isn’t the healthiest, and the guys I cook for are very fitness-focused. This popped into mind-but no zucchini in the house! I had some frozen broccoli, so I defrosted, drained and dried it as well as I could, and proceeded on. Our 24 year old son, living with us again until his wedding, ate half the casserole. I’d say that was a ringing endorsement!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Thank you for the great feedback, Carol. I am so glad this recipe has been a hit. The use of broccoli is perfect, and it’s so easy to have a frozen bag on hand!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

  6. Pingback: A Week in Review | Retired in Costa Rica

  7. Pingback: Meals Made Ahead | cleanlunchbox

  8. yahoo.com

    “The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – Quinoa, Cheddar and Zucchini Bake” was a
    very nice blog. Continue authoring and I will keep on viewing!
    Regards ,Leoma

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Cheesy Zucchini Quinoa Bake « The Soul of Health

  10. http://tinyurl.com/gencherd06781

    I personally was seeking for recommendations for my own site
    and stumbled upon your own blog, “The Fountain Avenue Kitchen
    – Quinoa, Cheddar and Zucchini Bake”, do you mind in the event I personally use a number of your own tips?

    Thank you ,Lakeisha

    Reply
    1. Ann

      I am not sure exactly what you would like to use, but if you would like to link in to any of the information, you are welcome to, Lakeisha!

      Reply
    1. Ann

      Depending on appetite and if you have anything on the side, I would say six…four for big eaters or if this is the only thing served!

      Reply
  11. Pingback: Quinoa, Cheese and Zucchini Bake - My Judy the Foodie

  12. KC

    This is wonderful with chopped broccoli when zucchini isn’t available! Thanks for sharing your recipes/tips. I am totally amazed that you respond to all posts! Thank You for sharing your talents!

    Reply
    1. Ann

      Hi KC,
      I might not get them all, but I try! It is the least I can do when people take the time to leave so many thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate the feedback and am so glad you like this recipe with broccoli. I do, too: )

      Reply
  13. Betsy & Brett Anderson

    Finally made this tonight for dinner. Everyone loved it! The four of us ate every last crumb. No leftovers 🙁 My husband literally scraped every last morsel out of the dish he liked it so much. Colin requested that I double the recipe next time.

    Reply