In honour of Slow Food USA's $5 Challenge coming up on Friday, September 16th, I made this delicious quinoa casserole. While I don't live in the USA, nor is Slow Food Canada participating, I've decided to participate in this wonderful event myself. Basically, the $5 challenge is to make a slow food meal for friends, family, or neighbours that costs no more than $5 per person. Slow food shouldn't have to cost more than fast food.
Here is the perfect recipe if you would like to do this in your own home! It was definitely FAR less than $5 per person especially with the amount of meals it made.
2 medium squash or zucchini, sliced
1 28 oz. can of whole or crushed tomatoes
3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 large onion, diced
1 whole red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic
1 pound ricotta cheese
pinch of fresh or dry thyme
salt and pepper
Mrs. Dash seasoning
Parmesan cheese (optional)
First, prepare the zucchini. Slice it (not too thin!) and place them slightly overlapping on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. You want them to soften slightly but not soggy.
While the zucchini is baking, prepare the sauce. Add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil to a medium pot on medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the onion and peppers. Once partially cooked, add the canned tomatoes along with a pinch of salt and pepper, some paprika, and thyme. Stir this together and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Then add the quinoa! Let it simmer for a few more minutes until it thickens. Once the zucchini and sauce is ready, it's time to put it all together. In a buttered 9x9 baking dish, spoon a thin layer of sauce in the bottom. Then ad a layer of squash/zucchini and crumble on ricotta. Continue layering and finish with a layer of sauce.
As you can see from the photo, my casserole didn't end with a layer of sauce. It was good with the zucchini and ricotta on top too! This recipe is so versatile. In the future, I'd love to add some mushrooms and be a bit more generous with the spices. I was concerned it was going to be too overwhelming with all the Mrs. Dash (I'm obsessed!) I was adding, but it actually could use more flavour. If you want to make it even more hearty or meat lover friendly, beef could be added too!
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes and then serve.
Do you have a favourite healthy, economical, "go to" recipe? If so, please share! I'd love to try it!