Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Recipe for Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce

Adding quinoa and not using canned soup makes this Better-than-Moms Chicken and Broccoli Casserole.
I made this Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce a few times to get it just right, and I really wasn't planning on posting the recipe right away.  Then today after I took the latest version out of the oven I ate some for lunch, had seconds, and realized I was looking forward to eating it again for dinner, and I decided that this recipe needed to be on the blog.

The idea for a chicken and broccoli casserole that included quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) came from a cookbook I picked up at Costco called Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood. This book has so many recipes that look interesting, and I was intrigued by the idea of remaking this classic American casserole with quinoa replacing the rice and using a sauce to replace the canned soup.  Of course I put my own spin on it, using leftover rotisserie chicken to save a step, bumping up the lemon juice, and topping the casserole with coarsely-grated Parmesan instead of cheddar.  If you're already a fan of uber-nutritious quinoa you're going to love this, but even if you've never cooked quinoa before, I highly recommend you give this a try.

Most quinoa has to be rinsed (check the package to be sure.)  Rinse with cold water until no more foam shows.

Cook the quinoa in boiling water or stock until the liquid is absorbed, then put the lid on and let it sit for 6 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.  (Here is more on How to Cook Quinoa if you've never done it.)

Cut broccoli to make 3 cups of same-sized broccoli flowerets, then cook in salted boiling water about 2-3 minutes and drain.

Cut up enough chicken to make 2 cups of diced, cooked chicken.  (I used leftover rotisserie chicken.)

Whisk together the low-fat sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, curry powder, Vege-Sal (or salt) and black pepper.

In casserole dish that you've oiled or sprayed with non-stick spray, layer the quinoa, broccoli, and diced chicken.

Use a rubber-scraper to spread the sauce mixture over the top of the other ingredients.  (I used the rubber scraper to poke spaces for the sauce to run down.)

Cover the top of the casserole with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350F/180C for 35-40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is starting to brown.

I couldn't resist snapping one photo of my lunch, eaten immediately after I took these photos!

Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce
(Makes 4 generous servings, recipe adapted from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.)

1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed unless the package says it does not need rinsing)
1 cup water for cooking quinoa (or a little more, see recipe)
3 cups broccoli flowerets, cut into same-sized pieces
1/2 tsp. salt (for cooking broccoli)
2 cups diced cooked chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1/3 cup mayo or light mayo
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. curry powder (I used Penzey's Sweet Curry Powder)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste to season the sauce (I used Vege-Sal.)
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.  Rinse quinoa until no more foam appears.  Combine quinoa with 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  (Use the smallest pan you have that has a tight-fitting lid.  I used a pan that was too big and I had to add a couple T more water to get the quinoa done.)  Simmer until the water is absorbed, then cover the pan with the lid and let it sit for 5-6 minutes, fluffing with a fork when the quinoa is done. 

While quinoa cooks, start a medium sized pan of water boiling while you cut broccoli to make 3 cups same-sized flowerets.  Add about 1/2 tsp. salt to the water, add broccoli, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the broccoli turns bright green.  Drain broccoli into a colander placed in the sink.  Dice enough cooked chicken to make 2 cups diced, cooked chicken.

Whisk together the low-fat sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, curry powder, Vege-Sal (or salt) and black pepper to make the sauce. 

Spray a 9" x 9" glass or crockery casserole with with non-stick spray or oil.  Layer quinoa, broccoli, then chicken, spreading out each ingredient so it covers the surface or is distributed evenly.  Use a rubber scraper to spread the sauce mixture over the top of the chicken.  (I used the side of the rubber scraper to poke slits so the sauce could run down into the other ingredients a bit.)  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbling and the top is starting to brown.  Serve hot.

This would be great to take to work for lunch and re-heat in a microwave.  The chicken, broccoli, and quinoa would make a balanced one-dish meal.


South Beach Suggestions:
This casserole would be approved for phase 2 or 3 of the  South Beach Diet.  For South Beach dieters it would be best to use light sour ceam and light mayo.

Ten More Tasty Ways to Enjoy Quinoa:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Radishes, Cucumber, and Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette from Kalyn's Kitchen
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad with Parsley and Mint from Kalyn's Kitchen
How to Cook Quinoa in a Rice Cooker from Gluten Free Goddess
Quinoa Pilaf from Simply Recipes
Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Parsley from The Perfect Pantry
Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf from Gluten Free Goddess
Curried Quinoa Salad from Wasabimon
Citrus Quinoa Salad with Toasted Almonds from Cooking with Amy
Quick Quinoa Salad from Guilty Kitchen
Quinoa Casserole from Macheesmo
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit

92 comments:

  1. Kalyn, your casserole sounds really yummy and so easy to make!

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  2. Thanks Nancy; I love this recipe.

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  3. Kalyn-- I've been a longtime reader but never commented. This looks good! Do you know why it's necessary to rinse the quinoa? I've always skipped this step, because on many recipe reviews I've read other cooks claim it's not necessary. I'm wondering if it improves the taste or texture, which might mean my young kids would be more likely to eat it. Just curious!

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  4. Hi Heather, thanks for commenting! Quinoa is a seed and it has a natural coating called Saponin which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Some boxed quinoas are pre-rinsed, but if you buy it in bulk or in a bigger container it probably needs to be rinsed. (You will see a foaminess when you rinse it.) I'd say it definitely improves the taste if it's not the pre-rinsed type.

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  5. This is definitely NOT my momma's casserole as she doesn't even know what quinoa is! It sounds delicious and I love that it's curry flavored!

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  6. Kalyn,

    I love the idea of a quinoa casserole. Glad you posted the recipe. Being gluten-free, quinoa is one of my go-to grains. I've printed off your recipe and am going to tweak it a bit to be dairy free (might make a sauce out of chicken broth, some coconut milk and a few other goodies). I love the idea of "creamy curry sauce" so I'm going to stay with that direction. I just bought 5 different types of curry from Penzey's. I'm a curry lover and wanted to do a taste test on the differences. I love the smell of curry. Add in a little garam masala and I'm addicted. =)

    Great recipe. I'm looking forward to giving this one a whirl. Thanks for making it gluten-free!

    Melissa

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  7. This version of the classic casserole looks and sounds so appealing. Quinoa is one of our favorite grains to use and I am always looking for new ways to prepare it. You have opened up a whole new avenue of possibilities with this casserole.

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  8. I've been using the rice cooker method to make batches of quinoa (from Gluten-Free Goddess). Then I have cooked quinoa on hand for salads and dishes like this yummy casserole. The cooked quinoa will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

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  9. Fantastic - I just made a quinoa recipe the other day, and was wondering what else I could make. I love the flavor and the texture. I think you've just given me my weekend dining recipe.

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  10. Joanne, my mom never heard of quinoa either!

    Melissa, thanks! I love your ideas for adapting it to be dairy free as well as gluten free.

    Dara, I did find myself thinking of other possible calendars where you could use quinoa when I was making this!

    Lydia, I just got a big bag of quinoa from Costco and I'm going to try that rice cooker method next.

    TW, great! Hope you enjoy it.

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  11. This sounds great! This will be on our menu as soon as the next leftover rotisserie chicken is in the fridge. Or maybe I'll just pull out some chicken tenders if I can't wait till next week. I'll be sharing this one on facebook. I've hooked many friends on South Beach by sharing your recipes. No need for feeling any dieting deprivation with your recipes!

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  12. Great job using the leftovers. With food prices rising the way they are, you can never make enough use of your leftovers. Quinoa sounds interesting, I've never tried it...

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  13. Nancy, thanks so much, both for the sharing on Facebook and the kind words about the recipes!

    VE, thanks. I'm always happy when I can find a recipe that uses leftover rotisserie chicken, because I can't seem to resist them at Costco. (And I use the bones and skin to make homemade chicken stock, double win!

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  14. Kalyn,let me take this opportunity to thank you for suggesting Penzey's spices. Luckily I have a store near me. I am enjoying all the spices I've purchased so far and already have my favorites. One of them is the curry you mentioned in this quinoa recipe. So thank you! rj
    p.s.maybe now I can give quinoa a try~

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  15. Love the additional protein -- and ESPECIALLY skipping the canned mushroom soup. It has its place but when we use it in everything, everything tastes the same!

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  16. Lucky, lucky you to live near Penzeys. I've been to their stores in California and Chicago, but no Penzeys in Salt Lake. I also love The Spice House, which is owned by the sister of Bill Penzey.

    Do try this, it's a good way to get introduced to quinoa.

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  17. Alanna, I guess we were writing comments at the same time! Wish Blogger would work on a way for us to "reply" inside the comment so they don't get out of order like this. I agree completely, and nowdays I must prefer the "fresher" flavor of the made-from-scratch sauce.

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  18. I'm very intrigued--this sounds great! I'm always looking for new quinoa recipes, especially ones that my bf might enjoy since he's not fully-converted on quinoa yet. I will have to file this one away for the near future!

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  19. That looks marvelous, Kalyn. I love quinoa but only have used it in salads. Wonderful flavors in this casserole!

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  20. I've been eating a little quinoa lately and have found it very satisfying. This recipe looks like something my mom would have made but definitely with a can of cream of chicken soup! I really like your version and have saved it for future use. Thanks, as always, Kalyn for your inspiration!

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  21. Jackie, if he likes curry flavors I'm thinking you might slide this one past him!

    Thanks Barbara. I also thought this was a very creative way to use quinoa.

    Christine, my mom too! I liked this version of sauce so much better!

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  22. Bookmarking this recipe. It's making my mouth water! Looks great!

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  23. This quinoa casserole looks like something my whole family would love. I especially appreciate your alternative to condensed soup because I hate to rely on it all the time. I will be tweaking many of my old casserole dishes using your sauce. Thanks!

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  24. Cooking Creation, thanks. Hope you enjoy it!

    Tami, I'm also thinking of other places to use this sauce! (And going to check out your blog now for more quinoa ideas.)

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  25. This looks delicious, but I'm not much into the low fat sour cream. I wonder if Greek yogurt would work...does it separate when cooked?

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  26. Georgia, one of the versions I tried but didn't like used fat-free Greek yogurt. It seemed like the yogurt just got hard and didn't "melt" down into the other ingredients the way the sour cream did.

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  27. This sounds delicious. I wonder if full fat Greek yogurt would work. I think I'll try half sour cream and half yogurt and see what happens. My family loves casseroles so this is right up our alley.

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  28. Martha, assuming you read my comment above about the fat free Greek Yogurt. I do think full-fat Greek yogurt would work better (but not as SBD friendly as the low-fat sour cream.) If you try a different version would love to hear how it works.

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  29. I just added this to the menu for next month! Yes, I'm weird, I plan way ahead! I love quinoa and this looks so good!

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  30. Debbie, I'm impressed. (I can barely plan one day ahead!)

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  31. This looks so good...I'm definitely going to try it! would using red quinoa work as well? It's what I have in the pantry.

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  32. Can't think of any reason why the red quinoa wouldn't taste okay, although I'm not sure it will look quite as appetizing with the brightly yellow sauce. Might be fine though, let us know if you try it.

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  33. Hi Kalyn!

    Exellent blog you have here! So full of quality recipes and I have to say that my mouth waters just by looking at the pictures! Never mind cooking them!

    Although this chicken casserole looks really delicious and something I would definitely try! I love the slow cooking of casseroles.

    Thank you for sharing it and I will definitely bookmark your site to revisit.

    Take care

    Michael

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  34. I have some left over rice, a can of cream of chicken soup in the pantry and some brocccoli in the fridge and was thinking about making that old time casserole recipe. Love this much healthier version. I need to try Quinoa more often.

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  35. Thanks Michael!

    Lea Ann, I'm liking quinoa more the more I use it. I think this is a good recipe for people who haven't eaten it much.

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  36. Love this idea. Thanks for posting. I am always stumped as to what to make with quinoa. Never tried a curry!

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  37. I made this tonight, and it was tasty for something so easy. I wanted a dairy-free meal, so in place of the mayo and sour cream, I used a can of coconut milk and left the cheese off the top. It worked great! Without the cheese on top, it needed some extra flavor in the sauce, so I upped the mustard to 1 tablespoon. I wanted to add more curry powder, but I ran out. :-( I put some fresh coarsely ground black pepper on top to make it look more appealing. Also, since I cook quinoa in big batches in my rice cooker, I just used 2 cups of leftover quinoa that was lying around. I used frozen organic broccoli, and I didn't even need to thaw it. I definitely want to make this again. I love the concept. I look forward to experimenting with different seasonings and vegetables. Yum, yum. Thanks for the idea. (Oh, and I think it's a great meal to give gluten-free families who have just had a baby or are in crisis! It's easy, nutritious, and one-dish.)

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  38. Nicole, thanks. I was intrigued when I found it in the cookbook and really enjoyed it.

    Treetopstudio, fun hearing about your changes. Thanks for sharing about how it worked in a dairy-free version.

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  39. I can't wait to try this, I'm always looking for new ways to use quinoa and this sounds delish!

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  40. Thanks Jessica, as I said, I loved it!

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  41. Hi Kalyn!

    Made this for dinner tonight - excellent! Did make a few changes - added a bit more chicken, cooked the quinoa in broth and sprinkled a bit of salt and fresh ground black pepper while layering. Also used Asiago instead.

    This will be fun to play around with - perhaps a Mexican variation with beans, lime juice, ancho chile powder, cumin and a bit of coriander? Great dish!

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  42. Made this tonight...and it was a hit! My boyfriend suggested we bring it to a potluck this weekend. :)

    Thanks again, Kalyn!

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  43. Lynne, that's great. Glad it was a hit.

    Hi Joe,
    Glad you liked it, and I'm looking forward to seeing what creative variations you come up with!

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  44. Kalyn,
    This was delicious. Though I found the sauce didn't get to my quinoa. next time I might mix it then top with cheese.. Oh, I also doubled the curry, because my husband and I love it.. I will use this again and again.. :) thanks so much.

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  45. Laura, glad you liked it. You could add a tiny bit more sauce (I was afraid it would get too mushy.) Double curry sounds good to me.

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  46. I made this recipe this week and my whole family loved it! I have never made a curry recipe that my family liked before so this one is a keeper! Thanks Kalyn!

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  47. Pam, that's great! So happy to hear it.

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  48. Great idea for using quinoa. I must try it!

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  49. I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream and extra firm tofu instead of chicken and it was FANtastic! Thanks for the idea :-D

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  50. Anonymous, so glad that variation worked for you!

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  51. I made this recipe without the curry and it was a family favorite! Keep the recipes coming I love your site.

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  52. Fabulous! Thanks so much for using quinoa- I have always been scared of it, but this dish turned me into a quinoa lover... I used tofu instead of sour cream, and vegetarian chicken, and the whole works was gone in no time at all.

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  53. Basil I know just what you mean about quinoa. I was slow to warm up to it myself, but now I like it a lot. Glad this made a believer of you!

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  54. Thanks for this tasty and easy recipe! I doubled the ingredients and put the casserole in a 13x9 glass dish so we could have leftovers a second night -- even better than the first time!

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  55. Julie, so glad you liked it!

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  56. Wow, I just made this and it was really tasty. I didn't know at first how parmesan as a topping would play with curry sauce, but it was really delicious. I can't get my hands on low fat sour cream here so I had to replace it with low fat plain yogurt.
    Thanks for my dinners for the next few days =)

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  57. Lynn, thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed it.

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  58. I just found this recipe. I was excited in trying it. When I used "print friendly" , the section on how to make the sauce was missing. I have always enjoyed any recipe of yours. Keep up the great work.

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  59. Thanks for catching that and letting me know! I just fixed it.

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  60. Kalyn, Apparently this is going to be one of my Go-To Recipies, this time I changed it up, still using Chicken and Quinoa, but instead of broccoli I sautéed zucchini and mushrooms, and for the sauce used Pesto for the dijon and curry, it smells great and I can't wait to have it tomorrow night for dinner.

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  61. Laura, that sounds like a great variation! Thanks for sharing.

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  62. Hi Kalyn,

    You have been inspiring me for years, and your meals have fed my family countless of times. Thank you!

    For this recipe, do you think couscous would work as a substitution for quinoa? I do not live in the U.S. and I'm not sure how or where I'd get quinoa just yet (although I haven't given up trying). Thank you!

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  63. Rachel, thanks for that nice feedback. I do think couscous would be a great substitute for the quinoa here.

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  64. I tried this recipe and did substitute Greek yogurt for all the sour cream. For me, it's a necessity. I'm lactose intolerant and can stomach the yogurt, but not the sour cream.

    I have to say that the sauce was extremely tart. The sauce sat on top of the broccoli and never made its way down through the casserole. I added 2 teaspoons of curry powder and thought it actually could have used a full tablespoon. The flavor was interesting, but I'm not sure I'm sold on it. My advice would be to stick with the sour cream. Otherwise an excellent recipe.

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  65. One of the versions I tried but didn't like used all Greek yogurt, and I agree that this needs the creaminess of the sour cream.

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  66. All the way from South KoreaJune 27, 2011 at 5:29 AM

    Oh my! I love this recipe. I didn't have sour cream so I used coconut milk and added lots more of the curry powder, just because I love it! And it turned out wonderful! You're a great inspiration, Kalyn!

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  67. I really like the sound of this with coconut milk, and how fun hearing from someone in South Korea. So glad you enjoyed it.

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  68. This recipe is delicious! We're on phase one of SB, so I just left out the quinoa and did the recipe on the stovetop: big hit! (although we love quinoa, so I'll be trying the whole recipe when we're on phase two!)

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  69. Laurie, glad you liked it and thanks for letting us know that it worked that way.

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  70. We just made this tonight and the adults loved it. My little ones are picky and I'd say they were neutral to it, which is actually quite good. I made the full fat version by default because that is what we happened to have in the house, and I would go with the lower fat next time if I can plan it that way. I also may try the coconut milk version.

    I'm starting to like quinoa after a bad first experience cooking it. I think the issue was rinsing because I couldn't figure out how the quinoa that other people made was so yummy and the batch I made was just nasty. It must have been a brand that needed rinsing. I'm happy to have another recipe to keep on hand for leftovers- especially this one since we often have just a touch of chicken left after roasting one and one meal. It will be nice to get a 3rd nourishing meal out of one bird and I can plan on making a double batch of quinoa when I'm roasting (or crockpotting) the chicken.

    JessG in MA

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  71. Jess, so glad you liked it! (And yes, for quinoa that needs it, rinsing is essential.)

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  72. I made this for my meals this week and it is soooo delicious! I use the red quinoa instead of white. I think the red has a little more flavor and no rinsing but white is good too.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. I bet it is pretty with the red quinoa!

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  73. I made this for my family using veganase (my daughter is allergic to eggs ) instead of mayo and it was great! Wondering if it could be freezes? I want to add it to my casserole swap but it has to be freezable?

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    1. I honestly don't know how well it would freeze; I've never frozen it. I am skeptical though; seems like the broccoli would be fairly soft after being frozen.

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  74. Thanks for the great recipe. Even my 1 year old loved it (broccoli and all!).

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  75. JillEE, I love hearing that!

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  76. I made this for a friend who just had a baby. I replaced the sour cream for greek yogurt because I don't usually buy sour cream but kept everything else the same. Came out great and she loved it so much she is making it as I type. My husband is now jealous that I haven't yet made it for us! Love your blog- keep up the great work!

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  77. Thanks, and so glad you enjoyed this!

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  78. What a great adaptation to the 365 version. I reduced the broccoli, added a zucchini, along with lightly sauteed red pepper & mushrooms. I also avoid egg and soy so I substituted Veganaise for the mayo. I will be looking forward to lunch this week! I really love the cream sauce. I am thinking that there may be a goat cheese version in my future. Thanks for posting!

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  79. Any idea if you can freeze this? I'm going to try making it this week and thought I'd go ahead and make a double (one to freeze), but I'm not sure how it'd be. Thoughts? Excited to try it!

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  80. I haven't tried freezing it; would love to hear how it turns out. I'm guessing the texture will change a little but it will probably still be okay.

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  81. Thank you for this recipe! I've made a bunch of recipes from your Site and they never disappoint! This one was especially good and I loved the flavour combination!

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  82. Tanny, thanks for that nice feedback. So glad you are enjoying the recipes.

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  83. We really liked this casserole. I used red quinoa, a bit more low-fat sour cream, a bit of cheese under the sauce, and 1/3 cup on top. I did poke holes--but, the sauce didn't seep into the whole casserole--but, we liked it this way-- The quiona stayed firm and didn't need to be drowning in sauce-- Overall, we enjoyed and I would make it again--My hubby loves curry--I used about 1 1/2 tsp of curry. Thanks for your blog--love to try different things--and this does it for me!!

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  84. So glad you enjoyed it! I am imagining how pretty it would be with the red quinoa.

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  85. This looks delicious.. I will be making this for dinner tonight. Can't wait to see how it turns out as we are curry lovers but I'm not a fan of Dijon mustard so we will see!! :) on a side note-for the commenters who dislike using canned mushroom soup in their recipes.. you can make your own substitute, I use one from "meal planning with connie" blog.. they are quick and easy and soo much healthier than the canned stuff. Try it out sometime!! :)

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  86. Golden Girl, hope you enjoy. I have seen a few options for homemade cream of soup replacements, but most of them have flour and other ingredients I don't especially want.

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  87. I made this casserole last night to have for the week and it is so delicious!! I wasn't sure how the cheesiness of the casserole would go with the curry sauce but it really works. Thank you for this recipe!

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