Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

Believe it or not, i discovered quinoa earlier this year when i started paying close attention to everything that i eat. At first i thought, “ewwwww is this really what everyone is raving about?” It’s not even that good anyway. Luckily, i did not easily give up on quinoa! I started doing some research and asking other people how they prepared their quinoa and the most popular suggestion i received was to cook it with chicken broth instead of water. This has since become my traditional way of cooking quinoa. Taste wise, it makes a huge difference. From then on, i started to explore other ways of making quinoa and that’s when I discovered Tieghan’s recipe of the Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake.. Holy cow this dish is amazing!!

p.s. I made this for a good friend who had never eaten, let alone heard of quinoa. Let’s just say my friend enjoyed it just as much as I did.

Anyway, here is the recipe…Thank you Tieghan for letting me post this recipe on my blog. Check out her blog for more recipes

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

First cook the quinoa, set it aside and then cut the basil and grape tomatoes

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 1Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 4

Heat the pasta sauce and tomato paste

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 2

Next, I measured and stirred in the heavy cream, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 3

Here i folded the quinoa into the sauce and then added mozzarella cheese and grape tomatoes

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 5

Lastly, i added basil and folded some more

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Pour the mixture in a baking dish

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Add grape tomatoes

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Add some mozzarella…You can never have enough cheese!!!

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 9

You are supposed to put the dish in the oven and then when it’s done baking, top with fresh basil. My silly self did not read the directions, so i accidentally added the basil on top of the cheese and then popped the dish into the oven. No harm was done, tasted just as good. I probably just missed out on eating fresh rather than toasted basil haha…So here is me adding the basil

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 10

When it is all said and done, this is the goodness that awaits your belly 😉

Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake 11

Just in case you need a second final pic

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Instructions

  • I followed Tieghan’s recipe to the tee.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    1. Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan.
    2. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, Parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
    3. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa.
    4. Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too.
    5. Once combined, spray an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish.
    6. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.
    7. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
    8. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.
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