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Eat Well Sep. 9. 2014
Entreés

Cheezy Broccoli Quinoa Pilaf

Sep. 9. 2014
Entreés
McKel Hill

McKel Hill

MS, RDN, LDN, Dietitian

I suppose you can say it’s mac & cheese with broccoli, all grown up.

When I was younger, like most children in America, there was some type of dish our parents would cook using carbohydrates loaded with cheese as a way to hide green vegetables… am I right? Fortunately, my family embraced healthy foods and were on the health conscious side, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t eat “junk”. When I was a teenager learning to cook for myself, mac & cheese with broccoli was my go-to, it was easy, moderately healthy (or so I thought) and kept me feeling good enough to do activities I wanted to all day/night long.

Fast forward like 10 years to the present moment, I’m living a dairy-free, gluten-free lifestyle, and one that’s plant-centric with an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. So how does this classic cheesy carbohydrate-rich dish loaded with cheese fit into my lifestyle now? Introducing one of my favorite “comfort” foods, Cheezy Broccoli Quinoa Pilaf. I suppose you can say it’s mac & cheese with broccoli all grown up.

Instead of refined wheat flour shaped into noodles as the base of the dish, it’s replaced with fiber and protein rich quinoa. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains to enjoy solo as a side dish, for breakfast, in baked goods, and even dessert. I also highly recommend all of you to try out quinoa instead of rice or noodles for that matter to get more bang for your buck so to speak when we’re talking about caloric/nutrient density. Quinoa in comparison to noodles or pasta contains far more fiber and protein, not to mention the texture is amazing! It soaks up all of these delicious homemade cheezy sauce perfectly.

 

Cheeze not cheese. The cheezy sauce is one that I could’ve devoted an entire blog post on, it’s a dairy-free “cheese” recipe that I’ve shared with my clients secretly for years and they LOVE IT! You’ll truly understand why this cheeze recipe deserves the title McKels Ultimate Cheeze Sauce after you’ve tried it. I use this cheeze sauce for dipping raw/roasted veggies, pouring over any grain/pasta, over fish/eggs, or in my Nourish Bowls and One Bowl Skillet Meals. It’s made entirely of my favorite vitamin B and protein rich protein in the plant-based lifestyle, nutritional yeast. I’ve talked at length about nutritional yeast and why I use it almost daily in other blog posts (I’ll give a link below where you can read more about it), but all in all, it’s the beez neez.

Add ins | try adding protein rich chickpeas, hemp seeds, green peas, or any other type of protein you enjoy for even more of a boost. You can also get creative if you’re trying to serve this to picky vegetable eaters, by adding more veggies to it like red bell peppers, green peas, carrots, etc.

This recipe is a PERFECT one to make on your batch cooking day for making quick and easy lunch or dinner meals at the snap of your fingers. You can literally reheat this in under 5 minutes, add a protein of your choice and a big ole’ salad on the side and there you have it- lunch or dinner in 15 minutes. Also be sure to check out my Meal Planning 101 with more tips on how to make this recipe work for the whole week for you or your family.

 

 

Cheezy Broccoli Quinoa Pilaf
Recipe Type: entree, side dish
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
A vegan inspired quinoa pilaf made with broccoli, nutritional yeast, and quinoa- completely dairy free. VGN GF
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa (red, white or combination)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted or raw
  • Use all of the cheese sauce below
Instructions
  1. Cook 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups vegetable stock. Boil for at least 20 minutes, and fork to fluff. Yields about 3 cups of cooked quinoa or more. In the meantime while the quinoa is cooking, make the sauce.
  2. Set this sauce aside until quinoa is finished cooking.
  3. Pour McKels Ultimate Cheeze Sauce into the pot with the cooked quinoa, steamed broccoli, toasted/or raw pine nuts, and stir to combine the sauce with the broccoli and quinoa. You may add additional almond milk to thin the sauce a bit. The goal result is a thick and creamy quinoa.
  4. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh black pepper.
  5. Enjoy!

 

McKels Ultimate Cheeze Sauce
Recipe Type: dip, sauce, dressing
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 1 cup
McKels vegan cheez sauce is the perfect addition to any entree or recipe you’d like to give a cheesy flavor to sans dairy.
Ingredients
  • heaping 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • dash of ground cumin
  • fresh ground black pepper, sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan at low/medium heat and stir until combined.
  2. Gradually start with 1/4 cup almond milk and gradually increase to the desired consistency- the goal is for it to be thick enough to cover a spoon but thin enough to stir easily. Remember the quinoa will absorb a lot of this liquid.
  3. Adjust all seasonings to taste.
  4. Use over vegetables, quinoa, legumes, etc.

You may enjoy reading up on | nutrition and health benefits of Nutritional Yeast, Broccoli, and Quinoa.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe and love it as much as I do! Was this type of recipe a “classic” one you enjoyed growing up or maybe still do?

xx McKel

 

The Recipe

Serves 4

Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa (red, white or combination)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted or raw
  • Use all of the cheese sauce below

Directions:

  1. Cook 1 cup dry quinoa to 2 cups vegetable stock. Boil for at least 20 minutes, and fork to fluff. Yields about 3 cups of cooked quinoa or more. In the meantime while the quinoa is cooking, make the sauce.
  2. Set this sauce aside until quinoa is finished cooking.
  3. Pour McKels Ultimate Cheeze Sauce into the pot with the cooked quinoa, steamed broccoli, toasted/or raw pine nuts, and stir to combine the sauce with the broccoli and quinoa. You may add additional almond milk to thin the sauce a bit. The goal result is a thick and creamy quinoa.
  4. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh black pepper.
  5. Enjoy!

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  • Leesh

    I have been an avid follower for a long time now–implementing your food philosophies into my daily life & trying out countless of your recipes! I just made this recipe, and WOW it is amazing! I’ve been searching forever for a satisfying cheese alternative (huge lactose-intolerant cheese lover here) and your recipe is to die for! Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are by far my favorite resource for nutrition/health, and I am so appreciative of your dedication to this site! Keep up the amazingness–we are all loving it!

    • Hi Leesh,
      Thank you so much for your kind words I’m happy you’re enjoying the recipes! xo M

  • Ohmygosh I feel like I’m going to love this.

  • Kiirsten

    I had been trying to find new ideas for quinoa so I was excited when I saw your recipe. Made it last night and LOVED it!! The nooch and dijon mustard was such a unique combination; there was so much flavor and texture that it really felt like comfort food, but knowing it was healthy made it that much better (yay for B-vitamins!)! I added some more stir-fried veggies to my left-overs today for lunch…so yummy!! Thank you!! :o)

    • Hi Kiirsten,
      Thank you so much I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed this one, it’s my favorite 🙂 Please share it if you love it!

  • The Green Kitchen Editor

    This recipe is just beautiful! I made it for my carnivore husband this evening and he devoured it in record timing. Thank you so much for sharing such an awesome recipe!!

  • Jamie-Leigh

    I just had this for dinner, the cheeze sauce is delicious, will definitely be making again! Thank you for your inspiration 🙂

    • So glad you loved this! Isn’t it awesome, next time try it on rice or with roasted veggies 😉

  • MaryKate

    YUM!!! Loved it – quick question:can the sauce be made ahead of time/kept in the fridge & added to stuff later? Would love to make some and have it on hand 🙂

    • MaryKate

      5 star! Delish!

    • YES. I love making this ahead of time, simply store it separate so the quinoa doesn’t get too soggy if you keep it longer than 4 days. Reheat before you’re about to enjoy it.

  • Wow! This is a great protein-rich recipe for everybody, especially vegetarians and vegans, we all know how nutritious quinoa and broccoli are, even separately eaten. Like the sauce too, it adds magnificent flavor and creaminess to the dish 🙂

  • Jean

    Just made this tonight. So delicious! I am sure it was the cheez sauce that made it so special. I used spelt barley instead of quinoa (due to a picky husband), didn’t have dijon for the sauce, and added chickpeas. I am delighted to report that I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for this!

  • Kellee

    Hi Mckel,

    I’m absolutely loving this recipe! It totally hit the spot for the comfort food I was craving and I’m feeling so good about it being an approved recipe for my whole food cleanse I’m doing. Yay!

    Thank you thank you

  • Johanna

    This is literally so amazing! I cooked this today for my parents and my sister and they really liked it (usually my father and my sister are not too fond of my vegan cooking and don’t really want to try whatever i cook for myself) and aah, thank you so much for this recipe!

    • This one is a total crowd pleaser, my love is a huge cheese eater and if I can get him to get this it’s a winner 😉

  • Soni

    I plan on making this for dinner for my family since they’ll all be coming home from work pretty late, but I did have a question! If you don’t have pine nuts on hand could they be substituted? Would a poach egg be good as a protein, and what salad do you recommend with this? Sorry to bombard you with all of this, but I’m so limited on groceries and I’ve used up all my kale, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes for this week ????

    • McKel Hill

      You can use any nut or seed you like, pine nuts just taste amazing! Yes to the egg and you can eat it with any greens salad you enjoy like my massaged kale salad. I hope you enjoy Soni!