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Peruvian Baked Quinoa and Cheese

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“This is an interesting way of using Quinoa, a wonder grain that is thousands of years old. My wife resisted strongly when I introduced this grain into our household but now loves it. One of the nice things about it is that it cooks in 15 minutes from scratch so it is a time easy menu item. Make sure you rinse it well in water as it may be bitter. I have never experienced bitterness but that is what all the packages and websites say. I have made some changes to the recipe which I have noted in the recipe. Please make according to your own taste and diet restrictions. Jim in So. Calif.”
READY IN:
1hr
SERVES:
8
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. 1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leak and bell pepper; cover, and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in quinoa, garlic, and sesame seeds, and cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes, or until quinoa grains turn opaque.
  2. 2. Add 3 cups water, and season with the chicken granules. Taste for salt and add more granules or salt as desired. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 3 or 4 minutes more, or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. 3. Preheat oven to 350°F Coat 13 X 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and 80% of the cheese. Transfer to a prepared baking dish, level contents, and add remaining 20% of the cheese to the top, and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned around the edges and top.
  4. 4. Jim’s Additional Step: Once removed from the oven, sprinkle top with additional shredded cheese. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top and set on stove top for a few additional minutes. The goal is to allow the additional cheese to melt as a second layer of melted cheese on the top of the hot casserole. Don’t worry, the casserole will retain all the heat required to melt the addition cheese – don’t go wild here – just a nice additional thin melted topping. A little bright red paprika on this layer would also add some additional color. Enjoy!
  5. Suggest for a smaller serving that you just make ½ of everything and place in a small 7” X 9” pan. This is the perfect size for a smaller meal and will cut into very nice 4 piece serving pieces.
  6. We both loved this dish and will make it again.
  7. Recipe comes from Ralph’s (Grocery Store) Optimum Wellness Magazine March/April 2009, page 10. Recipe has been modified as noted above.
  8. Quinoa has been grown for more than 5000 years…in the Andes Mountains of Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia, where it is a primary food source. “Quinoa is unique because it contains eight essential amino acids and is a complete protein in itself.” A 2007 study at Osaka City University in Japan showed that quinoa is high in antioxidants, making it an exceptionally heart healthy snack. Try substituting quinoa in recipes that call for rice, couscous, or pasta.

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