Saturday, November 29, 2014

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole To-Go

Our Thanksgiving celebration is delayed this year. We are going to have a potluck tomorrow with some of our friends. The actual day was a quiet affair though. Husband was of town, and so were most of our friends. My parents, who are packing bags as the end of their trip approaches, and I wanted to steal the last weekend to enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather. We decided to pack some lunch and head over to Del Mar beach. Although not very picnic-y, I had just the right dish in mind. Last week I had bookmarked this Quinoa Enchilada Casserole recipe, and had (almost) all the ingredients on hand. This casserole was perfect for various reasons - it was an easy one pot, rather casserole, dish; it stayed quite hot until we got to the beach; it was easy to carry in the car; and it was tasty with all the Mexican flavors, yet fit into my mom's restricted diet plan.

A few modifications made this dish perfect for us. I added fresh poblano pepper rather than canned chiles, tossed in lots of fresh spinach instead of cilantro for a dose of healthy, and used regular instead of mild enchilada sauce. The only cheese I had on hand was paneer. Mom can't eat cheese anyway, so a little bit of paneer to bind everything worked just fine. Some ooey gooey cheese would've been nice, but we didn't miss it. Even after using regular sauce though, the dish lacked serious heat to our Indian palates. I would have certainly liked either hot enchilada sauce or some jalapenos thrown in there. We topped the casserole with fresh avocados before serving. 

Quinoa Enchilada Casserole

1 Cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 Cup canned black beans, rinsed
1/2 Cup corn kernels
3/4 Cup chopped fresh spinach
1 Poblano pepper - seeded and chopped
1/4 Cup grated paneer (or use mozzarella/cheddar)
1 Bottle hot/regular/mild enchilada sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Teaspoon cumin-coriander powder
1 Teaspoon red chili powder (if needed)
Salt to taste
1 Avocado, seeded and diced
Cilantro for garnishing (optional)
  • Cook quinoa according to package instructions. You can use any kind of quinoa. 
  • Mix all the ingredients, except avocado and cilantro, in a casserole. Taste before you add salt, as the sauce is quite salty. 
  • Preheat oven at 375F. Bake quinoa mixture for 15 minutes, or until you see a crust on top. 
  • Garnish with cilantro and avocado. 

Thursday was a pretty hot day. I had expected it to be cooler by the beach, but it wasn't so. By the time we finished lunch it was too hot to be on the beach without any shade, especially for the baby. Mom and dad said their goodbyes to the Pacific, and we returned home. We made an unsuccessful trip to the mall yesterday. The lane to the entrance was blocked forever. It was black Friday..what was I thinking?? It didn't bother me much though, as we ended up taking a U-turn and going for a nice lunch instead. Somehow we circle back to food :). 

I am looking forward to our feast tomorrow. Are you done with all your feasts for the holiday? What did you gobble gobble gobble?

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