Cookie and Kate have a house guest for the next few days. His name is Henry and he is Ali’s sweet Yorkie-maltese mix. The dogs have been getting along well, but their personalities really could not be more different. Observing them has been an interesting study in dog psychology.
Here’s a brief rundown of our subjects: Cookie is a quick and fearless circus dog who inhales her food the second it hits the bowl. Henry is a shy but interested little Toto who nibbles on his dinner and runs from falling Brussels sprouts.
I don’t blame Henry. I would run from giant falling cabbages as well. Cookie, on the other hand, treats falling Brussels sprouts like gold raining from the sky. “FOOD!”
I’ll have to be more careful with my sprouts while Henry is here. This Brussels sprout gratin is worth it, though. It’s bubbly, garlicky bread crumb-topped goodness filled with caramelized Brussels sprouts, hearty quinoa and creamy cheese. Lots of cheese. This is my first gratin recipe and it will certainly not be my last.
This recipe comes from The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook, a new cookbook by Katie Parker of Veggie and the Beast. (How great is her blog’s name?!) Katie’s vegetarian recipes are hearty and rich in protein, thanks to whole grains, beans, vegetables, tofu and dairy. Just the kind of food I love to eat!
This delicious gratin is all Katie’s concept. I’ve made it a few times now and couldn’t help but tinker with the cooking method and seasonings, like I always do. I cooked the quinoa in vegetable broth for extra flavor and skipped the béchamel sauce, replacing it with a cup of milk instead. I’m totally enamored with how this quinoa gratin turned out. I think it would be great with roasted cauliflower or carrots, too. If you’re looking for a healthy-ish, comforting winter dish, this is it!
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup quinoa (any color), rinsed under running water in a mesh sieve for a minute and drained
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, small sprouts halved and large sprouts quartered
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- 4 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated Gruyère cheese
- 2 ounces (about ¾ cup) grated Fontina cheese
- 1 cup low-fat milk (cow's milk tastes best but unsweetened plain almond milk works, too)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ tablespoon butter or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pressed or minced garlic
- 1 slice whole wheat bread or gluten-free bread, torn into pieces and processed into crumbs in a food processor or blender
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring the vegetable broth or water to boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 17 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Cover and set aside.
- Toss the prepared Brussels sprouts with enough olive oil to lightly coat the sprouts on all sides. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 to 18 minutes, until they're starting to caramelize on the edges.
- Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Stir the dried oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, nutmeg and red pepper flakes into the quinoa. Then stir in the cheese until it's all melted. Stir in the milk until the cheese and milk are evenly incorporated into the quinoa. Discard any burnt single Brussels sprout leaves on the pan, then stir the roasted sprouts into the quinoa. Transfer the mixture to an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish and sprinkle evenly with grated Parmesan.
- Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, stirring often. Add the bread crumbs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned and crisp. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the gratin.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, until the top is golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serving suggestions: I think this creamy dish would go great with a green salad, like my favorite green salad with apple or a little green arugula salad.
Storage suggestions: This dish keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for several days.
Change it up: I think this gratin would be great with roasted cauliflower! Feel free to play with the vegetables and spices.
Prepare in advance: I'm pretty sure you could assemble this gratin in advance. Just cover it and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake. You'll need to add about 10 to 15 minutes baking time since the gratin will be chilled when you put it in the oven.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my Baked Chiocciole with Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Blue Cheese and Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cranberries with Barley.