Curried Quinoa Casserole (Dairy Free)

One of the toughest things about making dairy free food for Sweet Pea is comfort food.  Casseroles, macaroni and cheese, pizza, pasta–all have some form of dairy in them.  The ubiquitous casserole with cream-of-something soup has been a standard part of our rotation for years when I need something fast and easy for dinner.  But stopping to think about all of the salt and who-knows-what in the canned soups, not to mention the cream factor, made me question whether or not we should be eating this stuff.  Sure it’s tasty, but what could we make that’s both better for us and edible for Sweet Pea?  Hence this experiment.  I’ve made this curried casserole several times, tweaking the ingredients and spices each time, and I think it’s gotten to a pretty good place right now.  I’m sure I’ll change it up once I print this recipe…Tom’s joke is that I can never follow anything in print.  I have to make it my own.

This recipe comes together pretty quickly, and you could make it meat-free by subbing out the ground turkey for beans or tofu crumbles and the chicken broth for veggie broth.  Or make it a side dish with just the quinoa, veggies, and dried fruit.  And in case you’re wondering, the seasoning is not spicy at all.  Unless, of course, you add more cayenne or red pepper flakes, which would be delicious.  But not for a one-year-old at our house!

Curried Quinoa Casserole

1 lb. ground turkey

1/2 a small onion, diced

1 c. quinoa (you can also use couscous)

1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth plus enough water to make 2 cups of liquid

4 c. assorted frozen veggies (we used green beans, edamame, peas, and corn)

1 c. dried fruit (we used dried cranberries, golden raisins, and chopped dried apricots)

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. cayenne (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown turkey and onion in a skillet until cooked through.  Drain off any grease, then add turkey to a 2 quart casserole dish.  Add quinoa, vegetables, and dried fruit to casserole dish.  Combine chicken broth with all of the spices, and pour over the quinoa mixture.  Stir until well combined.  Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, until quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid and the veggies and dried fruit are tender.  Check on the casserole halfway through the baking time to stir and see if you need to add any additional water.  Fluff casserole with a fork and serve!



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