This gluten-free Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Quinoa Gratin is a nutritious and delicious way to add some veggies to your holiday table! Balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower are coated in a light gruyere and parmesan cheese sauce, topped with a layer of crispy quinoa, and baked to perfection.
Hi, hello, how are you?! Long time no talk. Sorry for going MIA over the past few weeks, but between school, traveling back and forth to NY, and – ya know – life in general, the whole blog thing took a backseat.
But apparently the world kept spinning while I was gone because suddenly it’s mid-November and Thanksgiving is next week! NEXT WEEK. How did this happen?? (This is not a rhetorical question – I legitimately want to know.)
Anyways, I’m slightly freaking out because…
a) it’s almost Thanksgiving and
b) it’s almost Thanksgiving!!!
Okay, what I mean by that is…
a) it’s almost Thanksgiving and I love Thanksgiving
b) it’s almost Thanksgiving, which means it’s almost December and December means winter and winter means cold and cold and I don’t do well together.
For me, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes. Sure, turkey may get all the praise, but let’s be real… it’s all about the sweet potato casserole, vegetables, and stuffing (OH, THE STUFFING). I seriously look forward to my mom’s stuffing 364 days of the year.. not exaggerating.
Growing up, our Thanksgiving table always consisted of a slew of traditional family staples, as well as a few new or rotating dishes. Since there are some recipes I just won’t mess with (see above), the experimentation portion has always been reserved for the vegetables and dessert. And since I’ve already got dessert covered this for year (hello, Apple Crisp Cheesecake Bars), it’s time to tackle those vegetables.
For the past several years, brussels sprouts have remained the common denominator of all of our Thanksgiving vegetable dishes. There’s just something about those crispy, caramelized little cabbages that makes them the perfect addition to your holiday table. Typically I just roast them up alongside some other vegetables and call it a day – but not this year.
This year, I decided to mix things up a little and turn these brussels sprouts into a gratin. But not just any gratin.. a QUINOA gratin.
Traditionally speaking, a gratin (or au gratin) is casserole-like dish topped with a lightly browned crust consisting of breadcrumbs or melted cheese. Though most gratins are built on a foundation of vegetables, the majority of these traditional dishes tend to be high in calories and fat thanks to a combination of heavy cream, butter and cheese.
Well, not anymore. Today I’m changing the gratin game with this Brussels Sprouts & Cauliflower Quinoa Gratin. Made with a light cheese sauce, It is just as creamy and delicious as those high-fat varieties, but so much more nutritious. Oh and did I mention that the crust is made of quinoa that has been cooked and then toasted to crispy perfection? SO. GOOD.
I hope this dish finds its way onto your table this holiday season. And in the off chance that you happen to be one of those super organized people who already has their entire Thanksgiving meal planned, then you can totally have this for a different meal.
Just promise me you’ll make it, mkay?
- 1 cup cooked quinoa*
- 8 oz brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- ½ cauliflower (~10 oz), trimmed and cut into small florets
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ tsp olive oil
- ½ medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1½ tsp corn starch
- ¾ cup fat-free milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp parmesan, grated
- 2 oz gruyere, shredded (divided)**
- balsamic glaze for drizzling (optional)
- To start, cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside to cool (this step can be done ahead of time).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Place brussels sprouts and cauliflower on a baking sheet. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine. Distribute vegetables in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes.
- While vegetables are roasting, line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread 1 cup cooked quinoa in an even layer on prepared baking sheet.
- After 15 minutes, remove vegetables from oven and gently toss. Place both baking sheets (the one with vegetables and the one with quinoa) in the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes, until vegetables are nicely roasted and quinoa has started to crisp. Remove from oven, lower temperature to 350 degrees, and set aside to cool for several minutes while you prepare the sauce.
- To prepare the sauce, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the onions and stir to distribute.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add milk, and continue to cook (stirring frequently) until sauce has thickened. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, parmesan cheese, and half of the gruyere to the skillet. Continue to stir until cheese is melted.
- To assemble the gratin, transfer roasted brussels sprouts and cauliflower to prepared casserole dish. Pour cheese sauce over the vegetables, add an even layer of crispy quinoa, and top with remaining gruyere cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
- * This is the equivalent of about 1/4 cup dry quinoa.
- ** If gruyere is unavailable, feel free to substitute cheddar, swiss, mozzarella or any other cheese you'd like!
- Cook time does not include time needed to cook quinoa.
- Recipe Inspired by Skinnytaste's Brussels Sprouts Gratin