Things sometimes get crazy and if I know I won’t have a lot of time to make dinner I like to try to plan ahead. Weather it be getting home late, an evening workout, or the kids activities I try to make sure I am still able to feed my family a healthy meal. This Mexican Quinoa Casserole, or as we call them here hotdish, can be made ahead of time. I will either make it the night before or earlier that day and put it in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
If you want this could probably be frozen as well but I am not sure how long it will take to cook. Everything is cooked, there is no meat, so it would just be a matter of warming it up. If you knew you were going to make it you could pull it out of the freezer in the morning and place it in the refrigerator. If I had to guess I would say it would take an hour to an hour and 15 minutes to heat through straight out of the freezer. I would place it in the oven while preheating to help defrost. If someone tries it I would love to hear how long it took. I will also try it and update this post with the time when I do.
Another thing I do to speed this up or prepare is when I make quinoa I always make extra to have for other upcoming meals, breakfast bowls, baking, lunches, or if it isn’t going to be used it could be put in the freezer.
Mexican Quinoa Casserole
Makes 4 servings, an 8×8 pan
3 c quinoa, cooked and cooled
1 bell pepper, chopped
½ an onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
1 c corn, can be frozen
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 c packed fresh organic baby spinach
1-15 ounce can black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 c shredded cheese (used shredded dairy-free mozzarella) or 1/3 c nutritional yeast
If you are going to bake this right after making it preheat oven to 350. In a pan over medium heat sauté chopped onion and chopped pepper. Saute until pepper is tender. Stir in corn, drained diced tomatoes, and grate in garlic. Remove from heat. If there is a lot of moisture in your onion/tomato mixture carefully drain it, there shouldn’t be a lot of liquid. If you don’t want to layer your casserole mix together quinoa, beans, and cooked veggie mixture in an 8×8 pan. To layer spread quinoa in the bottom of an 8×8 pan. Top quinoa with spinach and then spread your beans on top of the spinach. Spread cooked veggie mixture on top of beans. Cover with foil and place casserole in the refrigerator, up to 24 hours, until ready to bake. When ready to bake preheat oven to 350. Sprinkle cheese or nutritional yeast on top. Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove and let cool for a couple of minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper or seasoning of choice. Enjoy!