Quinoa and Apple Breakfast Casserole with Cherry Drizzle

This warming quinoa and apple breakfast casserole makes a nice morning meal for about four people. Orange- and ginger-infused quinoa takes on an oatmeal-like consistency when layered between tender apple slices and baked in the oven until all the flavors meld together. Dates add bursts of natural sweetness, while creamy almond butter forms the base of a sweet cherry sauce to drizzle over each serving. Adding a sprinkling of sesame seeds is optional, but we love the subtle crunch it gives to the soft fruit. The best part? This cobbler-like dish can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to chow down!

Tip: Sesame butter is not the same as tahini. It’s thicker and grainier because it is ground from unhulled sesame seeds. Look for it in natural food stores or online.

For more vegan breakfast casseroles, check out these tasty ideas:

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup chopped pitted fresh or frozen sweet cherries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1½ cups chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 Gala or Fuji apples, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons almond or sesame butter (see tip in intro)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Set aside ¼ cup of the cherries and 2 tablespoons of the walnuts to garnish the finished casserole. Store them separately in the refrigerator.
  • In a medium bowl stir together ¼ cup of the remaining cherries, the remaining walnuts, the quinoa, ¾ cup of the dates, ½ cup of the orange juice, 1½ teaspoons of the orange zest, the ginger, and cinnamon.
  • In a 2-quart rectangular baking dish arrange half of the apple slices in an overlapping pattern so they cover bottom of dish. Spread quinoa mixture evenly over apples. Layer the remaining apples over top. Cover surface of apples with plastic wrap (to prevent browning); refrigerate up to 2 days.
  • For cherry sauce, in a blender combine the remaining ¾ cup dates, ¼ cup cherries, ½ cup orange juice, and 1½ teaspoons zest; the almond butter; and ½ cup water. Cover and blend until smooth. Chill until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake and serve, remove sauce from refrigerator and let warm to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove plastic wrap from dish and cover with foil. Bake, covered, 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through and apples on top start to soften. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle sauce over casserole and sprinkle with reserved cherries and walnuts and the sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Comments (16)

(5 from 7 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Shelly

Who came up with this and HOW?! I loved it so much! The flavor profile was just heavenly. Thank you for sharing this one - it instantly became one of my favs.

Casey

Used up apples and blackberries( instead of cherries) picked from the yard! This was delicious! The only thing I would do differently when using berries is not use as many dates. It is plenty sweet enough with the berries.

J Stacey

Thank you, but Calories? It would be most helpful to know that.

Megan Edwards

Hi J, We hear you! We are currently working on adding nutritional information to all our recipes and anticipate for this feature to be live on the website by the end of the year. Please stay tuned for updates!

KatV

It's a delicious breakfast dish. As I prepared step 2, I tasted the mixture, and it seemed a little orange-y, and did not want the orange flavor to overpower the apples. So, when making the cherry sauce, I substituted 1/2 cup of almond milk for the orange juice but kept in the zest. It turned out great! Additionally, I toasted the sesame seeds and substituted pecans for the walnuts in the recipe.

Mary

What can I use in place of cherries???

Courtney Davison

Hi Mary, While we haven't tested this ourselves, you could try subbing in cranberries (though you may need to add a little sweetener to counteract the tartness). Raspberries, strawberries, or another berry of your choosing might also make a good substitute. If you give it a try, please let us know how it goes. Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives

Marcene

Could peanut butter be used in place of almond butter?

Courtney Davison

Hi Marcene, Yes, peanut butter should work fine as a substitute for the almond butter. Please let us know how it goes if you try it! Thank you, Courtney Editor, Forks Over Knives

Marcene

Could peanut butter be used in place of almost butter?

Megan Edwards

Hi Marcene, Yes, your casserole may just have a stronger nut flavor since peanut butter is more full-bodied than almond or sesame butter. Let us know how it goes!

T

Sounds delicious

Kelley

Why can’t I find this in the search function when I pay for membership. So frustrating

Christine Mcmahan

You’re right it isn’t in there and I pay also. Very frustrating!

Deona S

Usually when viewing these additional recipes, there is a button to “Add to Recipe Box” but this recipe is missing this button. I review these additional recipes and add the ones I want to my recipe box. This takes bunches of time…. However, FOK folks, would you add these additional recipes to the common recipe box for all the paying subscribers? Thanks!

Megan Edwards

Hi Kelley, The green button just above the ingredient list that says "Add to Meal Planner" will let you store it in the Recipe Box of your Forks Meal Planner. Often when a recipe is posted on the website there is a delay of about a week for that button to be added, so you may just have to come back and check a few days later. All our free website recipes are available to add to FMP, it just may take a few extra days to show up across all platforms as we set things live. Let us know what you think if you make the recipe!

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit DarshanasKitchen.com and follow her on Instagram for more.
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