This girl has never met a gouda that she didn’t like. My love affair with the cheese began as a teenager on a student exchange in Holland. It was love at first bite, and gouda’s been my go-to ever since. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to find an easy-melting, pre-shredded package of Crystal Farms® Gouda at my local supermarket.
Inspiration hit, in the form of Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole.
If you’ve been looking for an indulgent, healthy and tasty holiday side dish, look no further. This isn’t a mysterious cream soup casserole of yore. The hearty, protein-packed casserole is creamy and crunchy, with caramelized cauliflower, nutty quinoa and garlicky breadcrumbs layered in a cheesy sauce of half-and-half and Crystal Farms Gouda.
Crystal Farms is my favorite grocery store cheese. It’s real Wisconsin cheese, created by cheese lovers, for cheese lovers. Located in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, Crystal Farms cheeses are available in a wide variety of flavors and styles. Best of all, it’s all-natural, gluten-free and a rich source of calcium. It’s perfect for all your favorite holiday recipes.
Cheesy Quinoa Cauliflower Casserole is an easy holiday side dish that can be made ahead and popped into the oven to warm right before serving. To cut down on prep, cook your quinoa a day or two in advance following the package instructions. I cooked mine in the rice cooker, which was as easy as tossing the quinoa in with some chicken stock and hitting cook.
As the quinoa cooked, I tossed fresh cauliflower florets with olive oil and roasted them in the oven. On the stove, I dressed up some panko breadcrumbs with butter and garlic. An extra step, but one you won’t regret.
When the quinoa and cauliflower were cooked, I tossed them in a bowl with fat-free half-and-half, milk, fresh thyme and a big handful of Crystal Farms Pre-Shredded Gouda. I snuck a few bites, of course, before I layered it into a casserole dish and topped it with more cheese (because, well, cheese) and panko. After about 25 minutes in the oven, I had the creamy, cheesy casserole of my dreams.
Check out more holiday Crystal Farms cheese recipes and be sure to enter my giveaway for FREE CHEESE. Leave a comment telling me what recipe and cheese flavor you’re going to try for your holiday table. One lucky winner will receive 3 coupons for free Crystal Farms cheese. The giveaway ends on Sunday, December 17, so enter now!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ½ cup lowfat milk
- 1½ cups Crystal Farms® shredded cheese, divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Rinse quinoa and cook according to package directions in 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut cauliflower into bite-size pieces, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender and beginning to brown at the edges.
- Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic clove and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add panko bread crumbs and toast until golden, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
- Add cooked quinoa and cauliflower to a large bowl. Mix in half-and-half, milk, ¾ cup shredded cheese and fresh thyme. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Place quinoa and cauliflower mixture in a greased casserole/baking dish. Top with remaining ¾ cup cheese and top with toasted breadcrumbs. Bake 30 minutes, or until golden and warmed through. For an extra crispy top, toast under the broiler until golden.
- To make ahead: cook quinoa and roast cauliflower up to two days advance. Make casserole up to 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate. Bake as directed.