Warm, cheesy, and hearty casseroles are the best thing about winter. They warm up your belly and they warm up your home. What if I told you, there was a plant-based cream sauce so good, it could make you eat Brussels sprouts even if you don’t even like them? That might just be the case with this plant-based Brussels sprouts and quinoa casserole. I don’t hold anything against Brussels sprouts, but I know many people do. This is why I chose them for this recipe. Just to prove a point. 🙂
Quinoa is the base of this plant-based casserole
For the base of this casserole, we will use quinoa. This is actually my favorite way to use quinoa. I don’t like it in salads or risottos, but I do like it in a casserole. Quinoa is a great source of nutrients and it cooks very fast. No pre-cooking is needed, all the magic happens in the oven. The main thing you should know about quinoa is that it should be washed thoroughly. Quinoa tends to have a funky taste if not washed properly, not to mention the dirt that might come with it in the form of sand or small pieces of rocks. I used to be terrified of quinoa because I once almost broke my tooth on a small piece of rock that came with it.
Brussels sprout topping
As I already said, I used Brussels sprouts just to make a point. But any vegetable works with this plant-based casserole. I particularly love to use cauliflower or broccoli. But the thing about this plant-based casserole is you could hide any vegetable in it. The sauce makes it so creamy and delicious you just won’t care. So choose any vegetable you like (or dislike), the sauce will take care of the flavor. Just cut it into bite-size pieces and spread it over the quinoa covered in water and it will steam cook on top of quinoa.
Delicious plant-based cream sauce for this casserole
What makes this plant-based casserole spectacular, is the cream sauce. This sauce is what binds it all together and gives it that warm, hearty look, feel, and taste. It is also a very simple sauce, that consists of cashews, sunflower seeds, tapioca starch, and a few spices. I use boiling water to blend it because it helps my low-speed blender to blend it smooth. Hot water also helps it thicken up a little. But the main thickening will happen in the oven. When golden-brown spots start to appear, the casserole is ready. Wait for it to cool down just a little, then grab a fork and you are good to go!
Plant-based casserole with Brussels sprouts and quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cup water boiling
- 250 g Brussels sprouts
For the cream sauce
- 3 tbsp cashews heaped
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds heaped
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp tapioca starch heaped
- 1/4 tsp black salt (*optional)
- 1 clove garlic
- salt to taste
- 1 ½ cup water boiling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 355°F.
- Wash quinoa thoroughly and place it in a casserole dish.
- Season it to taste and cover it with boiling water.
- Clean and quarter the Brussels sprouts. Spread them on top of the quinoa.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Put all ingredients for the cream sauce in a blender except for tapioca starch. Blend until smooth and add tapioca at the last few seconds. (*see notes)
- Take the casserole out of the oven and cover it with the cream sauce.
- Bake for another 15 minutes.
- Make sure you stop and let the steam out if your blender doesn’t have an opening for the steam to escape.