Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Research confirms that taste is the number-one reason why one food is purchased over another. So what are consumers to do when the taste of favorite foods starts to lose its luster? As part of the 2014 National Nutrition Month® theme, "Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right," the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to explore new foods and flavors, keeping taste and nutrition on your plate at every meal.

We at Market Street want to help you enjoy the taste of eating right by exploring new foods and tastes. One of the ways you can begin to explore new foods when shopping at Market Street is to include a new fruit, vegetable or whole grain in your basket each week this month.

We've even done the hard part for you. Each week the Market Street dietitians will share a new food or recipe that you can make for your family. Some of the foods may be familiar but perhaps you haven't tried cooking it in a new way. Or perhaps you've heard about the food for a long time but just haven't gotten the nerve to try it.

The first recipe for this month is Mexican Quinoa Casserole. We love this recipe because most families love Mexican food so that immediately means kids and adults alike will be familiar with the flavors. We add a twist by using quinoa (keen-wah) instead of brown rice so we can introduce a new food to a familiar favorite.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole (see complete recipe at the bottom)

Mexican Quinoa Casserole Ingredients

Chop the onion, poblano pepper and red pepper.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped vegetables. Cook until tender.

Add the corn and cook for a few more minutes.

While the vegetables are sautéing, measure out the flour, spices and salt.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan, add the flour, spices and salt.
Then add the milk and stir until thick.

Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Combine the cooked quinoa, black beans, and sautéed vegetables in a large bowl.
Stir in the cheese mixture.
Pour all ingredients into greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with optional toppings: salsa, sour cream, pico de gallo and/or avocado slices.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Olive oil spray
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, chopped and seeds removed (this type of pepper is not too hot)
1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeds removed
2 cups corn - either thawed from frozen or rinsed and drained from a can
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (you can use gluten free flour too)
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups milk of choice (unsweetened)
3/4 cup low fat cheese (I use Monterey Jack or 2% Mexican cheese)
3 cups cooked quinoa (cook according to package instructions - very similar to brown rice)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Optional: Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 pan with olive oil.
2. Chop the 2 peppers and onions and have them ready for the skillet.
3. Spray a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium. Add onion, poblano pepper and red pepper and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the corn and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, heat olive oil in medium pan. Add the flour, spices and salt. Cook for 2 minutes (the mixture will be slightly thick). Add the milk and stir often until thick. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
5. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, black beans, vegetable mixture and cheese sauce. Stir until well combined. Transfer to the 13x9 pan.
6. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Note: you can make this casserole ahead of time and freeze it. Allow 10-12 hours to defrost in the fridge before baking.

Nutrition information:
Servings: 8
Serving size: 1/8 of pan
Calories: 310
Total Fat: 13g
Saturated Fat: 6g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 25mg
Sodium: 550mg
Total Carbohydrate: 37g
Fiber: 6g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 14g
Vitamin A: 15%
Vitamin C: 50%
Calcium: 10%
Iron: 15%

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