Vegetables, Kale, & Quinoa Bake

I am always looking for ways to add kale to things. In general, I find kale a hard vegetable to eat, so I need to “dice it and spice it” to make it work for me. This casserole works with or without vegan cheese and I add different vegetables depending on what I have available. I’ve made this in less than 30-minutes with a 20-ounce package of frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots) and a 10-ounce package of chopped kale. I eat this as my dinner entree but it would work great as a healthy side dish for meat eaters too.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes (20 minutes if using frozen veggies)

Servings: 8

Ingredients

4 SWEET POTATOES, peeled and chopped small*
4 CARROTS, peeled and chopped small*
1 head BROCCOLI, chopped small*
2 teapoons of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, divided
SALT and PEPPER to taste
1 cup QUINOA
2-1/4 cups WATER or VEGETABLE STOCK
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 ONION, chopped small
10 ounces KALE, ribbed and chopped
1 teaspoon CUMIN
2 teaspoons CHILI POWDER
1 cup VEGAN CHEDDAR CHEESE (optional)

*Or replace the vegetables to be roasted
with a 20-ounce bag of mixed frozen vegetables
(like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots).

Directions

  • ROAST FRESH vegetables
    • PREHEAT oven to 400 degrees F
    • LINE a baking sheet with aluminum foil
    • CHOP sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli into bitesize pieces
    • PLACE chopped veggies on the baking sheet and COAT with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. MIX well. (I use my hands to MIX the oil with the veggies to make sure they are well coated.)
    • COOK for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden
    • REMOVE vegetables from the oven but KEEP THE OVEN ON
  • If using FROZEN vegetables, ignore the roasting instructions above and cook them according to the package then set aside until later.
  • PREPARE quinoa
    • Follow the package directions.
      • If you don’t have directions, here is how I cook quinoa: I rinse it well in a mesh strainer then COMBINE 2 cups of vegetable stock or water in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of quinoa.
    • ADD another 1/4 cup of liquid to keep the quinoa moist for when you bake it.
    • Bring to a BOIL then reduce heat for 15 – 20 minutes. You want some liquid left for moisture.
    • When quinoa is done, turn off heat and set aside.
  • PREPARE KALE MIX
    • CHOP onions, MINCE garlic, and CHOP kale
    • HEAT a large skillet on medium heat
    • ADD 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • ADD onions and SAUTE for 3 minutes
    • ADD garlic and SAUTE for another 2 minutes
    • ADD kale in batches, as much as your pan will hold
    • ADD a tablespoon of water for STEAM
    • COOK down kale and keep adding more kale and water until the kale has wilted to about 1/2 its original size. SAUTE as you go.
  • In a large bowl, COMBINE kale mixture, cooked mushy quinoa, and roasted (or cooked frozen) vegetables. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. STIR well.
  • SPRAY a large baking dish with cooking spray
    • NOTE on baking dishes: I use an 11 X 7 X 1-1/2 inch baking dish which holds 10 cups. Different size baking dishes require different amounts of time to cook. For example, if you use a 9 X 9 X 2, which is the same 10 cups as my 11 X7 X 1-1/2″, you should decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and increase the time to complete cooking to 40 or 45 minutes, This is because the set up in the 9 X 9 X 2″ is thicker so it will take longer. (This hint came from the simpleveganblog.com)
  • ADD the total mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly across
  • If you opt to use vegan cheese as a topping, sprinkle the vegan cheese across the whole mixture evenly
  • BAKE for 10 minutes minimum (until cheese has melted).