I have been craving the oddest things lately, mostly foods from childhood, specifically processed things like chocolate cake and hamburger helper. Now, of course I want the grown-up, real-food version. So my lastest craving, for broccoli and cheese rice, morphed into a healthier quinoa recipe.
Cheesey and satisfying like the original, but made with real ingredients and no package necessary. Though if you want that signature orange colour then don’t use a white cheddar as I did. Oh, and yes, it certainly did fulfill my craving.
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Recipe(serves 4)
Put a pot full of water on to boil. Remove any part of the broccoli stem that is woody and roughly chop the broccoli stalk into approximately 1/2" pieces. Do the same with the florets but keep separate.
Once the water is boiling add a heaping tablespoon of salt and add the broccoli stalks. Cook for 2 minutes. Then add the quinoa and the remaining brocoli and cook until the quinoa just starts to get soft and you see the little tails emerge, about 5-6 minutes. Drain and run the broccoli and quinoa under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
In the meantime, start the cheese sauce. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and whisk for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk 1/4 cup at a time, and don't add more until the mixture is simmering again. Once all the milk is combined, bring to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly. Add a pinch of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Allow the mixture to simmer for 5 minutes to thicken and allow the floury taste to cook out.
Slowly start stirring in the grated cheddar a handful at a time. Allow the cheddar to combine before you continue to the rest. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli mixture. Season to taste and serve.
(If you have leftovers, this reheats pretty well as a casserole. Add a few extra tablespoons of milk, place in a buttered casserole dish and top with extra grated cheddar. Bake for 20 minutes)