Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake 1

Today on the blog we have a dish that combines the healthful (nutrient-packed cauliflower, spinach, and quinoa) with the decadent (homemade pesto). Say hello to Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake!

I LOVVVEEE making homemade pesto. The flavors in it are so much more vibrant than in store-bought pesto. It couldn’t be easier to prepare; all you need is a food processor or blender. My pesto recipe features fresh parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and pine nuts. If you don’t have pine nuts on hand and don’t care to buy them – because let’s be real, they are an investment – you can use walnuts instead.

Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake 2

This recipe was inspired by one of my resolutions for 2017: to eat more veggies. I already consume a good amount of vegetables, but I always feel like I can eat more. One way I try to incorporate additional veggies into my diet is by sneaking them into main-course dishes. This Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake is so richly flavored, you won’t care that you are substituting cauliflower and quinoa for starchy pasta.

Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake 3

 

Vegetarian AND gluten-free? Man, we are getting the year off to an excellent start!

Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake 4

Cheesy Cauliflower Spinach Quinoa Pesto Bake

Pesto:

-2 tightly-packed cups flat-leaf parsley

-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

-1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts

-1/2 cup olive oil

-1 tbs. minced garlic

-1 tbs. lemon juice

-1 tsp. kosher salt

-1 tsp. black pepper

-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Other ingredients:

-1 cup quinoa (I used white quinoa)

-2 cups water or vegetable stock

-Florets from 1 large head of cauliflower

-1 tbs. high-smoke-point cooking oil, such as grapeseed or coconut

-1 medium onion, diced

-2 tightly-packed cups spinach

-Additional 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend all ingredients for the pesto sauce to a smooth consistency in a food processor or blender.

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer. Add with the two cups of water or stock to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and let boil until softened, about seven minutes. Drain water.

While the quinoa and cauliflower are cooking, add the oil and onion to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Let onions cook until softened, about three to four minutes.

Once the quinoa, cauliflower, and onion are ready, add them to a large mixing bowl with the spinach, pesto sauce, and additional half cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Mix well, then evenly distribute within a 13×9-inch baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, until cooked through and top is lightly browned. Then enjoy! Makes about 8 to 10 servings.

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Jackie

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