Lasagna Quinoa Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms
It’s sort of a joke amongst my family members that I have terrible taste in movies. This is completely ridiculous and based on a one-time claim that A Night at the Roxbury was the best movie I had ever seen. So, pretty much anytime I recommend a movie, somebody will be like, “Well, you thought A Night at the Roxbury was the greatest movie of all time…”
Needless to say, such dismissal of my cinematic opinions needles me. First of all, I made the above statement when I was 10 years old, and at that time, it actually was the best movie I had ever seen. Also, A Night at the Roxbury is an excellent film, so I’m not sure why everyone is hating.
Although I truly believe that I have decent movie taste, I’ll admit that I’m mostly into contemporary romantic comedies and the occasional psychological thriller. I’ve seen very few “classics,” a sad fact that deeply upsets my film buff father, who’s constantly trying to teach me to appreciate “real movies.” Because I love him (and want him to let go of the Roxbury incident ASAP), I usually agree to watch at least one of his favorites whenever I visit.
Last weekend’s trip to Santa Barbara was no exception.
After a couple glasses of wine on Saturday night, I made the mistake of admitting that I had never seen The Godfather. The look of horror on my dad’s face was bad enough, but then my roommate got in on the shaming (unforgivable), and they both decided an immediate screening was necessary.
Sure, I appreciated the epic nature of the movie, and I was obviously entertained, but DEAR GOD, it’s long. So long. And since my dad and Logan fell asleep almost immediately, I had to turn up the volume to ridiculous levels just to hear over their joint death snores. This was fine for dialogue, but do you know how many people get shot in The Godfather? Loud dialogue is fine, unexpected gunshots at that decibel are not. I had like 16 mini heart attacks and spilled two glasses of water. (It’s also my pet peeve when people sleep during movies. Who am I supposed to discuss things with?)
Truth be told, I started to zone out after the first two hours, focusing mainly on Diane Keaton’s wardrobe and the number of times people are shown eating or talking about lasagna and cannoli. By the time the credits finally rolled, I’d decided to start wearing more belted dresses (they really worked for Diane) and to make some lasagna, stat. Silver linings.
I have yet to procure said waist-whittling dresses, but I did make good on the lasagna yesterday in the form of this glorious Lasagna Quinoa Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms.
I know I get excited about every recipe around these parts, but I’m downright giddy over this one, peeps. I’d go so far as to say this is my best quinoa bake yet, which is a bold statement given fall’s magical kabocha squash creation and last summer’s caprese madness. This thing is straight-up delicious insanity, and I feel weirdly proud and emotional about it.
Just to break it down, the sexy bake on your screen involves a hearty (and healthy) combo of ground chicken, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and onions simmered gently with crushed San Marzano tomatoes and plenty of fresh basil. Traditional lasagna noodles are replaced with nutrient-rich quinoa, which gets folded into the chronic meat sauce along with creamy ricotta and fresh mozzarella. The filling is then transferred to a baking dish, topped with more Mozzarella, Parmesan and whole-wheat Panko, before being baked to bubbling, golden-brown perfection. It’s all the addictive and comforting flavors of lasagna in trendy quinoa casserole form. Boom.
The ingredient list is long, yes, but please don’t get all worked up over it. Everything is easily accessible, and you should already have a lot of the basics on hand. And while you’ll need to do a solid 30 minutes or so of hands-on prep, I promise the process is simple (chop, sauté, mix, bake) and pretty much idiot-proof. You can also assemble the casserole up to two days in advance and then just pop it in the oven when the mood strikes. Double boom.
The power of this quinoa bake is strong, friends, and I plan to capitalize on it. You should too. (In all future negotiations, just say, “If you do x, I will make the Lasagna Quinoa Bake.” It’s an offer they can’t refuse…)
Lasagna Quinoa Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms: (Serves 4-6)
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms (about 6 mushrooms), stems removed and finely chopped
1 pound ground chicken
5 ounces (1 clamshell) baby spinach
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (I recommend San Marzano.)
8 basil leaves, finely chopped (plus extra for serving)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ cup ricotta cheese
6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese (about 1½ cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan
¼ cup whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs
Preparing your Lasagna Quinoa Bake with Chicken, Spinach and Mushrooms:
-In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1½ cups water to a boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
-Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
-Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender.
-Add the ground chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
-Add the spinach. It will seem like too much, but it isn’t. I promise.
-Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spinach has wilted.
-Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt, red pepper, oregano, and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. (If your meat sauce is too runny, your quinoa bake won’t set properly, capiche?)
-Fold the quinoa, ricotta, and ½ cup of grated mozzarella into the sauce, making sure everything is well combined. (It’s not the prettiest, I know.)
-Transfer the quinoa mixture to a medium baking dish (I used a 9”x13” dish) and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining grated mozzarella over the filling in an even layer. Then add the Parmesan and Panko.
-Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. (If the top isn’t browning as much as you’d like, just pop it under the broiler for a minute or so at the end.)
-Let your lasagna quinoa bake cool for 5 minutes before serving. Feel free to garnish with extra basil and crushed red pepper if you’re into that.
Lasagna Quinoa Bake with Chicken, Spinach and MushroomsAuthor -
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms about 6 mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 5 ounces 1 clamshell baby spinach
- 1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes I recommend San Marzano.
- 8 basil leaves finely chopped (plus extra for serving)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 6 ounces grated mozzarella cheese about 1½ cups
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs
- In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1½ cups water to a boil. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender.
- Add the ground chicken and cook for 6-7 minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon, until no longer pink.
- Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until wilted.
- Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt, red pepper, oregano, and sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. (If your meat sauce is too runny, your quinoa bake won’t set properly, capiche?)
- Fold the quinoa, ricotta, and ½ cup of grated mozzarella into the sauce and mix until well combined.
- Transfer the quinoa mixture to a medium baking dish (I used a 9”x13” dish). Smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining grated mozzarella over the filling in an even layer. Then add the Parmesan and Panko. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. (If the top isn’t browning as much as you’d like, just pop it under the broiler for a minute or so at the end.)
- Let your lasagna quinoa bake cool for 5 minutes before serving. Feel free to garnish with extra basil and crushed red pepper if you’re into that.
Never miss a post!
Get new recipes and lifestyle tips delivered straight to your inbox.
I’m a huge quinoa bake fan and this did not disappoint. Instead of ground chicken I used Trader Joe’s party meatballs and added them to the sauce as it simmered. My husband is so picky with vegetables and he inhaled this! Will definitely make it again!
easy to riff!
This was delicious! I followed the instructions almost exactly and the texture turned out perfectly. Not too watery or gooey and just the right amount of ricotta. It was a tad spicy for me with so much red pepper, so I’ll dial that back next time 🙂 Thank you for another fabulous quinoa bake! I’m officially addicted to them.
Yay! I’m so thrilled to hear it was a hit and that you’re firmly aboard the quinoa bake bandwagon!!
I just made this tonight for dinner, and I did not like the taste of it at all. I’ve had quinoa before, in a salad, and it was very tasty. But with sauce in this dish-meh, it wasn’t for me. I wound up tossing the entire 9×13 pan of it in the garbage. Not your fault, but this was waste of time and money.
What if you don’t eat meat or mushrooms? Any suggestions for substitutions?
I just made this and it was BOMB. Thank you for making me like quinoa!
HOORAY. I legit love nothing more than shepherding people into the quinoa camp!
This was insane. I made it last night, and even without the ricotta, my roommate inhaled. can’t wait for the minimal leftovers for lunch!! xoxo
hi 🙂 i have the tricolor quinoa, can i use it in this recipe?
While I am a fan of quinoa, the boyfriend won’t touch it. Do you think the recipe would be good if I substituted squash? The only grain he likes is brown rice.
Hmmmm, I’m not sure about squash. Were you thinking like a zucchini noodle situation? It could work, but I can’t guarantee it. You could def make this with short grain brown rice though. It won’t hold together quite as well (bc brown rice is heavier than quinoa), but I still think it would be delicious!
This is amazing! I doubled the mushrooms since we are mushroom lovers. The leftovers are fabulous. One of my favorites of yours, right up there with the fish tacos!
I made this on Tuesday and have been eating the leftovers all week. So so so good!! Especially great with a side of roasted brussel sprouts! I’m finally eating the last of my leftovers tonight and am so sad about it!
YES. So happy that this bake provided a week-long feast! (And all things are better with brussels sprouts.)
Made this with my roommate/boyfriend (who also happens to be named Logan) Tuesday night… It was amazing and just as good as leftovers! We’ve also had your clementine-jalapeno margs, peanut butter overnight oats, and the best tropical green smoothie in the past 5 days. I think my obsession with your blog has evolved into a slight addiction. I’ve been passing the recipes along to my friends and told them even if the recipe isn’t something I’d typically eat, I still read your posts just to hear the funny stories that come along with them.
Keep em comin 🙂
AH! I am beyond thrilled that you’ve had so much recipe success this week, and even more excited to have created a potential DM addict. And thank you for passing along the recipes, I am grateful for any and all grassroots PR!!
Made this last night…. SO good!
AH! Love to hear that!
Have you (or anyone else) tried this recipe without the chicken? I’m planning on cooking this for a couple of my friends but one of them is a vegetarian. Would it work just as well to just leave out the chicken? Or do you suggest adding some sort of alternative (like tofu or something)?
I have yet to make the vegetarian version of this, but it will definitely work well without the chicken. That said, you’ll need to up the veggies to keep the sauce from being too thin. I’d maybe double the mushrooms and add a diced zucchini into the mix!
I just made this awesomeness!! I used hot Italian turkey sausage instead of chicken and added significantly more mushrooms… But it is freaking DELICIOUS. Thanks for being a culinary genius per usual!
Dude, you are so on top of things!!! THRILLED to hear this was a great success.
Mmm…all that cheesy, quinoa-y goodness is making my mouth water! I can’t say that I’ve sen the Godfather. Thankfully, neither my boyfriend nor my father cares one bit. We’re not really violent movie people – we ARE, however, lasagna loving people!
Girl, I’m very excited for you to skip The Godfather and eat the lasagna. You must experience this deliciousness for yourself. xo
I was wondering how some eggplant would taste added to your recipe? I love the idea of low carbs as I am a diabetic and this sounds like an excellent sub for lasagna. Thanks for sharing it. And yes The Godfather was good but it was soooo long ago! I’ll take the Sopranos today – loved James Gandolfini (and the whole cast actually). Miss his acting talents.
Eggplant would be DELICIOUS in this! You’ll need a little extra olive oil so that the eggplant ins’t dry and spongy, but it would be a great addition to the other veggies. (Confession: I never watched The Sopranos either. I should get started on that…)
My husband is always trying to get me to watch the Godfather…I never have the energy for it. Maybe I need to make this lasagna and then I’ll be ready!
I would suggest you start the movie, have a glass of wine, put the lasagna in the oven, then take a break halfway through to eat. Gotta break up those 3 hours, you know?