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Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake

I haven’t even attempted a Meatless Monday in over a year... I just haven’t thought about it! 😂 And lets be honest, I really like my meats! So, when the idea popped into my mind to extend it for the challenge this week, I got really excited!

The more I keep reading about the health and environmental benefits of going vegetarian, the more I want to slowly switch my menu! I do love my meat still though so it’ll just be a balancing act for now.  

I think I’ll land in the meat minimalist zone annnnd I chalk that as a win! I’m not a very good chef, so when I can nail down a simple, yummy recipe that at least one of my ninos enjoys... I know it’s a keeper!

Heres the recipe I was going for! Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake from half baked😍 However, I didn’t have creamy annnnd no mozzarella or fresh basil on hand. So, here’s the on the fly version:

Definitely not as pretty but it was delicious! And, to add a little texture, I added a thin layer of bow tie pasta. Wahooo! 

Let’s make it!

THE RECIPE Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake *This was inspired by [How Sweet It Is |]. cook time 15 minutes total time 25 minutes servings 4-6 INGREDIENTS 2 cups cooked quinoa 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1/3 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup parmesan cheese 1 cup mozzarella divided 1/2-1 cup grape tomatoes halved 1 large bunch fresh basil cut into ribbons 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper

INSTRUCTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream, parmesan, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa. Fold in half of the mozzarella and half of the tomatoes, then chop 6 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire quinoa mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds or shredded mozzarella and the remaining tomatoes.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes and then turn the broiler on and broil for 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil ribbons. Allow to sit five minutes and then serve. 

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