You need this today.
It’s got tons and tons of basil.
My very favorite summer herb.
As if you did not notice.
It’s also loaded with tons and tons of sweet grape tomatoes.
Another summer favorite of mine. In fact, they are my favorite variety of tomatoes. Okay, well actually I think I like heirloom tomatoes the most….
But of course, I can never, ever find them and when I do?
I totally can not afford them.
So I pretty much always go for the cute little grape tomatoes.
They never fail me.
So I am on a bit of a quinoa kick.
I think most of the world is. It’s quick, it’s good, it’s hearty and it’s healthy.
But I went and made it so much better today.
I combined it with fresh tomatoes, basil, a little cream and a lot of cheese.
Then I melted that cheese in the oven.
Yes, the oven. Trust me this is worth turning the oven on for, plus it is only a short cooking time.
Just a few minutes under the broiler and you have ooey gooey cheesy quinoa.
Like a melty caprese pasta, but with quinoa. It’s a pretty good twist.
It’s so good.
Plus simple, easy and so quick.
Just what every Monday needs.
Oh, and apparently I feel Monday needs lots of photos too.
Photos are easier on the brain anyway.
It’s a good way to ease into the week.
Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake
*This was inspired by [How Sweet It Is | http://www.howsweeteats.com/2011/05/creamy-caprese-pasta/].
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella, divided
- 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large bunch fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa. Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve.
Oh, and so is cheese, lots and lots of cheese – Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake!