Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole
Mediterranean and casserole might not be two words you hear together often but, in this case, it’s a combination that won’t disappoint. Featuring nutrient-dense quinoa, leafy spinach and protein-packed lentils, this vegetarian casserole delivers both a ton of flavor and nutrition.
Although it is highest in protein when made with Greek yogurt and feta cheese, it can easily be made dairy-free and vegan, if desired. I initially developed this recipe when we still ate dairy but I make it dairy-free all of the time now and it is just as good!
Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole Ingredients and Substitutions
- Quinoa- Make sure you aren’t overcooking your quinoa or the texture will be mushy. Here is a post on how to get fluffy quinoa every time. I tend to cook it a day or two in advance as it helps everything come together faster that way. I haven’t tried substituting quinoa in this recipe but white rice might make a good alternative.
- Lentils- Using canned lentils is another way to save time, just make sure you are rinsing them and allowing them to fully drain any excess water. I wouldn’t suggest any other legumes in place of lentils as their small size works best for this recipe.
- Onion and Garlic- Sautéing the onion and garlic is key to incorporating savory flavor. If for some reason you can’t have garlic, feel free to leave it out.
- Spinach- I like to use fresh baby spinach as frozen holds a lot more moisture and can lead to an undesirable texture in the end. If you’re not into spinach, lacinato kale would make a good substitute.
- Cherry or Grape Tomatoes- The pop of juicy tomatoes really makes this dish so please don’t leave them out! I suggest halving them for best results.
- Eggs- Whole eggs help bind the casserole while also adding protein. To make the casserole lower in fat you could replace one of the eggs with equal grams of liquid egg white. Or, if you want to make the casserole vegan, I would suggest using Just Egg in place of the two eggs.
- Feta Cheese- I used Violife dairy-free feta cheese to make the casserole dairy-free but any kind will work so long as it’s crumbled.
- Plain Yogurt- Again, I like to use Kite Hill Unsweetened Plain Yogurt to make this dairy-free but any kind of plain yogurt will work.
- Dill- Fresh dill gives the best flavor but dried dill will work in pinch. I suggest 1-2 teaspoons, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
How to Make Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole
- Cook your quinoa (and lentils, unless using canned lentils).
- Sauté the onion, spinach and garlic.
- Combine the feta, eggs, and yogurt.
- Add the quinoa, lentils, onion, garlic, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and fresh dill. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to a 9×13″ baking dish and bake until golden brown and bubbly.
- Allow to cool. Serve warm and enjoy!
Looking for more quinoa recipes?
- Crunchy Quinoa Power Bowl with Almond Ginger Dressing
- Mushroom Quinoa Meatballs
- Blueberry Corn and Basil Quinoa Salad
- Best-Ever Quinoa Chili
- Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Mediterranean Quinoa Casserole
- 2½ cups cooked quinoa, about 1 cup uncooked (see notes)
- 1 15-ounce can green lentils, drained and rinsed, about ½ cup uncooked
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ cup plain unsweetened yogurt, I used dairy-free almond milk yogurt
- 6 ounces crumbled feta, I used Violife dairy-free feta cheese
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- ½-1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cook the quinoa and lentils as directed, if not using precooked. Set aside to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9x13" casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, for about 3-5 minutes. Next, add the spinach and garlic. Cover with a lid and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring intermittently, or until the spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt and feta cheese. To the bowl, add the cooked and cooled quinoa, lentils, onion/garlic/spinach mixture, cherry tomatoes, fresh dill, salt & pepper. Toss until evenly combined.
- Transfer to the greased casserole dish, spreading it out to the sides of the dish, until even on the surface. Bake 35-45 minutes, or until light golden brown on top. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
This sounds delicious! I’m always trying to find a new way to make quinoa! My husband would probably love this as well :)
Made this to have something to eat on all week. Loved it! The tomatoes I got were really under ripe, so I roasted them for a few minutes under the broiler with some olive oil and it really helped! This going to be a staple.
Sounds delicious with the broiled tomatoes! Thanks for the feedback, Zoe! :)
I made this tonight and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe. For those looking to know if adding/subtracting works with this recipe, here’s what I did: I added Kalamata olives and mint leaves, since I had them in my kitchen and it was delicious. I did not have cherry tomatoes, so I used ripe vine tomatoes, cut up into small pieces, and it worked fine. I did not feel like spending the time to cook lentils, so I just skipped them and nothing seemed lost in terms of consistency or texture. I added just a scoop of yogurt, and it added a nice cream without being overwhelming. I also added a dash of red wine vinegar to the mixture before baking — I worried after doing this that I would mess it all up, but it couldn’t really be tasted. I would say I wouldn’t add that again, but it did not mess up the dish! Lastly, I did not stick to exact amounts for each of the ingredients (for example, only used 6 oz of spinach and estimated the salt and pepper) and it was still great. Thanks again.
Hi Megan, I’m so glad it turned out well for you! I love the addition of fresh mint. Sounds wonderful! Thank you for the feedback!
I made this tonight and it was amazing. Excellent recipe. So light but filling at the same time.
Can this recipe be made in advance and frozen?
Hi Megan! I haven’t tried freezing it so I’m not sure. Please let us know if you end up trying it!
Is there something I could substitute for the yogurt as I’m lactose intolerant? I’ll be making it later this coming week. Thanks…it sounds delish!
Hi Lynne! You can try leaving it out or substituting with a dairy-free plain unsweetened yogurt. I hope you enjoy it!
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Made this for dinner, and had multiple requests to add it to “the regular rotation”. Thanks for the new family classic!
Yay! I love hearing that. Thank you for the review, Rebecca!
Made this tonight. It was really good! Even my husband liked it and he doesn’t do meatless meals much!