Cheesy Baked Quinoa and Cauliflower


This creamy, cheesy quinoa bake—a combination of golden roasted cauliflower, good-for-you quinoa, and toasted herby breadcrumbs—has everything we want.

Cheesy Baked Quinoa and Cauliflower
Photo: Alison Miksch
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

This creamy baked quinoa isn't just scrumptious—it's also an easy weeknight side dish that can be made ahead and reheated later. Serve with a big leafy salad and a bottle of Sancerre.


  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole milk

  • 4 ounces sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup), divided

  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, grated (1 cup), divided

  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 cup), divided

  • 2 cups panko

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

  2. Toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until golden and tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, until mixture starts to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring after each addition, until thickened. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add half the Cheddar, half the fontina, and half the Parmesan, stirring until melted. Transfer sauce to a 3-quart baking dish and fold in quinoa and cauliflower. Recipe can be made up to this point 1 day ahead.

  4. When ready to serve, heat oven to 425°F. Toss panko with thyme, remaining cheese, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl; scatter over quinoa mixture.

  5. Bake until edges are bubbling and top is golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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