The first recipe I tried from the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook is the Caprese Quinoa Bake. A similar but slightly different recipe can be found on the Half Baked Harvest website for a Creamy Caprese Quinoa bake.
I thought I would start simple, and this recipe has everything I am drawn to: limited dishes, pretty quick looking and lots of cheese! I was not disappointed!
The Caprese Quinoa Bake is essentially a one-dish quinoa casserole that mixes together the flavours of Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato and basil) with hearty quinoa. I used tri-colour quinoa and it tasted and looked great!
The recipe calls for heirloom tomatoes but it’s winter in Calgary, so I used Roma, which is what I could find at the store. I also could not find any fresh basil so I used basil in a tube from the fresh section of the grocery store. It was probably fine?
The recipe calls for using 1 cup of pasta sauce, which did not use the whole jar. One of my pet peeves is having a partial jar of pasta sauce in the fridge. I never know what to do with it, and it almost always ends up going bad and being discarded. What are your tips for using up extra pasta sauce? Do you just put it on noodles and call it a day?
Notes from the Recipe
I did not read the recipe very closely in advance, and silly me, did not realize that the recipe called for cooked quinoa. It ultimately was not a problem because the quinoa cooked while I prepped the vegetables.
Whenever a recipe calls for cheese I almost always put more in than the recipe suggests. I have yet to be disappointed with the results. Load up the mozza!!!!
Similar to the Creamy Caprese Quinoa, you put the casserole in the broiler at the end of the recipe to crisp it up. I am scared of the broiler because it is so easy to burn your dish. It was fine, I watched it through the oven glass and it didn’t burn but maybe should have been left in a tad longer.
I think this turned out fantastic! We gobbled it up and the leftovers went quickly. This made fantastic leftovers and would be a great dish to meal prep for weekday lunches. It is filling because of the quinoa but has a light fresh taste from all of the fresh tomatoes.
I am not going to lie, more mozzarella would have worked but otherwise, I would not have changed a thing. This was a great success and I can definitely see cooking it again.
It took about 30 minutes all-in and I would give it five stars for the easy clean-up alone. You can literally make this with nothing more than a cutting board, knife, bowl, pot and measuring cups. I was able to do all of the prep dishes while the casserole baked.
Husband’s review: yum, yum!