It’s that time of the year that I inevitably start to crave comfort foods. Yet with the weather still sort of lingering between summer heat and cooler fall temperatures, I’m not quite ready for anything too heavy or overly hearty. Comforting yet bright, this cheesy kale and quinoa casserole is the perfect dish for the transition of the seasons.
Kale is sautéed until nice and tender with onion, garlic and vegetable broth, which all help to infuse it with plenty of flavor. The kale is then mixed with cooked quinoa, lemon zest, cannellini beans and Greek yogurt, before being baked in the oven with plenty of mild cheddar cheese.
Now, if you are not a huge fan of Greek yogurt, have no fear! It is used here to help keep the quinoa from drying out while baking. The flavor is not prominent in the final dish. It also adds a little extra protein, in addition to that already coming from the cannellini beans and the quinoa.
You can cook the quinoa in advance so it is ready to go come dinnertime. However, be sure to warm it back up before mixing it in with all the other components. Otherwise it will take longer to heat up in the oven and the dish could dry out.
A comforting yet bright cheesy casserole filled with sauteed kale, quinoa, cannellini beans and lemon zest!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 9 to 10 ounces), stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
- Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/4 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 2 to 3 quart baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When hot, add in the onion and cook until tender and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the kale and vegetable broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the kale has wilted down and the broth has evaporated. Remove from the heat.
- Add the vegetable mixture to a large bowl, along with the quinoa, lemon zest, cannellini beans, Greek yogurt and 1 cup of the cheddar. Mix until well combined. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup of cheddar cheese and the walnuts.
- Bake for about 10 to 13 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.