This broccoli-cheddar cheese tart from Susan Pridmore is a grownup version of the familiar gooey childhood favorite casserole, topped with Ritz crackers. In this healthier version, mayonnaise is swapped out for yogurt and mixed with curry and cayenne for a warming touch. Heavy cream is replaced by a mere ¼ cup of half-and-half, the crackers are nixed, and cooked quinoa is added for additional protein for the vegetarian.
½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 green onion or scallion
4 cups chopped broccoli (using both the stalk and florets), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large eggs
2 cups shredded cheddar (I used Cabot Vermont Cheddar)
1 cup plain, low fat Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
¼ cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 9-inch deep dish tart shell OR 1 10-inch regular tart shell (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Rinse the quinoa in a bowl of water, rubbing the seeds between the palms of your hands. Drain, and refill the bowl with fresh water. Repeat the rinse two more times.
Bring the water (or broth) to a simmer over medium-high heat in a medium pot. Slice the green onion into ½-inch pieces, and add to the simmering water, along with the quinoa. Return to a simmer, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until done, about 15 minutes. The liquid should be completely absorbed. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Steam the broccoli in a medium pot until tender, about 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Stir the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl until it looks like a smooth batter. Stir in the broccoli and one cup of the cooked quinoa, saving the rest for another use. Pour it all into the tart shell.
Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes, or until set in the middle.
If you’d prefer cooked brown rice in place of the quinoa, have at it. If you like a crunchy top, throw on some breadcrumbs sautéed in butter and lemon zest. It’s all good.
The type of yogurt used will affect the consistency of the dish. I used Chobani Plain Low-Fat Greek Yogurt and was able to cut the resulting pie into wedges, reminiscent of a quiche. If you prefer a gooey casserole (like my grandchildren), use regular yogurt instead, and serve in an 8-inch x 8-inch casserole dish with a big spoon.
For a low-carb approach to this dish, prepare it without the crust.
For the vegetarian/omnivore table: if you’re feeding both vegetarians and meat-eaters, cut one breast of roasted chicken into bite-sized chunks, about ⅔ cup. Spread the chunks over half the tart shell, and pour the broccoli mixture over the entire dish. Mark the side with chicken using toothpicks, placing two at the halfway mark, and a third at the end of the dish that has the chicken. Or if you prefer, two smaller tarts can be baked, one for vegetarians, and one with chicken. Just be sure to shorten the baking time by 5 minutes.