Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Muffins

I adapted this recipe from one I found online and make it several times a month. My kids love it and it’s easy to make. Any leftovers can go into a lunchbox cold and still taste delicious!

Here are a few notes before you get started:

Quinoa, even if it says it’s pre-washed, needs to be rinsed. It’s not difficult to do and it’s actually kind of cool. Place the quinoa you’re going to cook into a fine mesh strainer (like this one) and rinse it with water over the sink until the little bubbles subside. There’s a naturally occurring phytochemical in quinoa (and some other foods) called saponin. It’s kind of like detergent, with its soap-like quality. That’s why it bubbles and foams when water hits it.

So, just rinse it. If you don’t get it ALL off, don’t worry. You’ll get enough of it that your quinoa won’t taste bitter.

There are several colors of quinoa. Any of them will do!

If you can find sprouted quinoa, that’s best! This makes it more easy to digest and the nutrients in the quinoa easier for your body to use.

This recipe calls for a mixture of cheese but you can just use cheddar if you like. Experiment with whatever is in your cheese drawer! If you have some very stinky cheese to toss in such as Gruyere or Swiss, go for it! Just use it in smaller amounts than, say, your cheddar.

I purchase the giant bags of broccoli florets from Costco. It’s cost effective and I can use broccoli in several ways for a week or two even if it’s just dipping it into my homemade ranch dressing. A smaller bag of broccoli, even frozen, will do fine, too. Just thaw it and chop it. Or, you can purchase a few heads in the produce section and chop them up. I like chopping the stems small and using them along with the florets.

You can make this meat-less if you like. The bacon is just in there for flavor more than anything but it sure does add a much-loved layer of deliciousness! You can use regular bacon but I have also used beef or turkey bacon (I accidentally bought it one time and it was in the freezer. I actually like it a lot for this type of thing.) I have used thinly sliced prosciutto and/or pancetta before, too. Any of these would work well.

Since you’re only using a bit of the bacon you can go ahead and cook the rest just to have on hand or place the unused bacon in the freezer. It thaws quickly for another time. This is what I do.

Chopping cold or even slightly frozen bacon is easier than letting it become room-temp. Cut it length wise into strips and then crosswise again for small pieces.

You can use water or broth to cook your quinoa (it cooks up like rice). 

chopped broccoli

Make sure you chop everything fairly small. It will make it easier to stuff everything into your muffin tin.

If you don’t want to mess with stuffing the mixture into individual muffin tins you could, instead, spoon it into several ramekins or place the entire mixture into a casserole dish.

Alright! Here we go!

Makes 12 tall muffins (maybe a few more) Takes about 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¾ C washed quinoa see notes in post, sprouted is great! Any color will do!
  • 1 ½ C broth or water
  • ½ an onion chopped OR 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped until small, minced OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs butter for cooking your onion & garlic
  • 2 ish C chopped broccoli
  • 1 ½ C grated sharp cheddar and provolone cheese with a bit of parmesan or just cheddar
  • 2 strips of some kind of bacon or the equivalent amount of prosciutto or pancetta
  • Salt & pepper to taste. I’d use at least 1 ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 whole eggs use 3 eggs if you do not have any mayo
  • 1 dollop homemade mayo optional but oh so tasty
  • OR
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • ½ tsp smoky or sweet paprika optional

Fanci-fy It:

  • Serve these with sriracha sauce drizzled on top!

instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350.
  • Cook your quinoa – in a medium size sauce pan on the stove place your washed quinoa and broth or water. Place a lid on it and bring it to a boil. Once boiling you can reduce the heat to low and let it bubble until all the liquid is absorbed by the quinoa and it’s soft. This takes about 12-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop your onion and garlic. Melt the 1 Tbs butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat and then add the onion and garlic to the pan and stir it around a bit. If you’re using garlic and onion powders skip this part. 

  • Allow your onion and garlic to sauté, stirring it occasionally, for about 5 minutes.
  • When your quinoa is ready add it to a large mixing bowl. It will cool faster this way. Add the onions and garlic to the quinoa when it’s finished (soft and maybe a little browned). If you are using garlic and onion powders you can add those now. 

  • Meanwhile, grate your cheese(s) and chop your broccoli and chop your bacon. (See notes in post).
  • Add the grated cheese on top of the warm quinoa and place the broccoli and bacon on top of the cheese. We’re creating a barrier between the warm (maybe still too warm) quinoa so when you add the eggs they don’t cook on accident!
  • Place your seasoning into the bowl on top of the broccoli…salt, pepper, mustard (or homemade mayo) and optional paprika.
  • Now add your eggs (the cheese and eggs and mayo, if you use it, help to hold the mixture together) and mix, mix, mix with a big spatula or spoon. If you do not add mayo remember to use 3 eggs instead of only 2. 

  • You may want to butter your muffin tins. You can taste your muffin mixture before cooking it to see if you need to add more salt. If you don’t want to taste raw egg, taste it before adding the egg. 

  • Stuff a bunch of the mixture into each muffin spot. I mound it up pretty tall and still sometimes have a bit leftover. This can be a tad messy. I have to use my fingers but you can also cook this mixture in small ramekins or even casserole-style if you’d prefer!
  • Place into a 350 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes. There will be tiny bubbles when it’s ready and the broccoli and bacon will be cooked through.
  • Allow them to cool a bit before trying to get them out of their muffins spots. They’ll hold their shape better this way. If you just can’t wait, well, just scoop them out into a bowl and grab a fork!
  • Enjoy!

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