Sunday, April 05, 2009

Recipe for Greek-Inspired Leftover Brown Rice Casserole with Red Pepper, Onions, and Feta

brown rice casseroleIt's been a long time since I've posted a recipe with the word "casserole" in the title, but lately I've been in a casserole kind of mood. It's not just that I've been hearing casseroles are back or that some people have called them The Ultimate Recession Food. When I was growing up, casseroles were always a regular part of the menu. When I first started the blog I made a lot more casseroles than I have the last few years, even adapting some of my favorite casserole recipes to make them more South Beach Diet friendly. I know plenty of people who read the blog are cooking for families, and lately I'm thinking a few more casserole options might be a good thing. (If you have an opinion on casseroles, please weigh in with a comment.)

This casserole started with lots of onions and diced red bell peppers, sauteed in olive oil with a bit of Greek seasoning.

Then I added some brown rice that I'd cooked the day before in the rice cooker, and sauteed it just enough to warm the rice. (Note: I used my Zojirushi 3-Cup Rice Cooker to cook the rice. I love this rice cooker. It's definitely an investment, but it makes perfect brown rice every time.)

Then I turned off the heat and stirred in some crumbled feta cheese and just a tiny bit of chicken stock to keep it moist. Put this in the cassserole dish and bake at 375F/190C about 30 minutes.  Simple, and delicious as a main dish or side dish. (This could also be a vegetarian main dish if you substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.)


Greek-Inspired Leftover Brown Rice Casserole with Red Pepper, Onions, and Feta
(Makes about 4 main course or 6 side dish servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked leftover brown rice
1 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fairly small
1 large red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tsp. Greek Seasoning (I use Penzeys Greek seasoning, which is a mixture of salt, Turkish oregano, garlic, lemon peel, black pepper, and marjoram.)
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese (about 1 cup, don't buy pre-crumbled feta, buy a block and crumble it)
1/4 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade chicken stock

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Chop onion and red pepper. Heat 1 T olive oil in heavy frying pan, add onion and saute over medium-high heat about 2 minutes. Add red pepper and Greek seasoning and saute 2-3 minutes more. Add rice and saute about 1 minute, stirring with a turner so the veggies are evenly distributed in the rice. Turn off heat and gently stir in crumbled feta cheese and pour over chicken stock.

Spray a glass or ceramic casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray, then pour in rice mixture and spread around in an even layer. Cover casserole and bake about 25 minutes. Remove lid and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until cheese looks slightly melted. Serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Made with brown rice, olive oil, and a moderate amount of feta cheese, this is a great dish for phase two or three of the South Beach Diet or any other low-glycemic eating plan. Serve as a vegetarian main dish with something like Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips. This would also make a great side dish for something like Very Greek Grilled Chicken or Kalyn's Souvlaki.

More Ideas with Brown Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Brown Rice with Cashews and Herbs from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown and Wild Rice Salad with Snow Peas and Peppers from Kalyn's Kitchen
Santa Fe Brown Rice Bake from Karina's Kitchen
Oven-Baked Brown Rice from Kitchen Parade
Vegetable Fried Rice from The Perfect Pantry
Perfect Brown Rice from Apple Pie, Patis, and Pate
Gluten-Free Fried Brown Rice from Gluten Free Cooking School
(Want even more brown rice recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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39 comments:

  1. I love casseroles in winter and regret that there aren't more substantial casserole recipes for vegetarians - this sort of thing would surely hit the spot!

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  2. I love casseroles for so many reasons: easy usually, do ahead, great for leftovers. Good ones seem hard to come by. Very much like the looks of this one.

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  3. When we were dating, my husband announced that he hated casseroles. I consider myself a good cook, but leftovers all but BEG for a home in a hot casserole. Over the years, I found that if I call it something else, like "Asian chicken bake" or "It's not really lasagna," he'll eat it. If I call it a casserole, he'll give me a desperate look. Either way, he knows he's trapped, as I make almost all the meals.

    This one looks good and healthy. Thanks!

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  4. I love using my rice cooker, especially for brown rice which seems to be a bit trickier to cook on the stovetop. I've been thinking about casseroles more lately, too, as a great way to use leftover bits of things that inevitably find their way into the fridge. I'm bookmarking this one!

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  5. I am a casserole lover so I am totally with you on this one. I like that everything comes out in one dish,and that its easier to eyeball what a serving size is. This looks great, I really like feta cheese and mediterranean flavors!

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  6. Happy to hear there are other casserole lovers out there. Thanks for the feedback! I'm thinking about adding a recipe category for "casseroles and stir-frys" because I'm noticing they're hard to categorize by ingredient alone.

    Johanna, vegetarian casseroles, great suggestion.

    Tanna, those are all the reasons I like them too.

    Amber, very resourceful.

    Lydia, this is the rice I bought in Boston! Really like it, and I'm loving my rice cooker too, even though it was a bit of a splurge (pre-house renovations!)

    Joanne, the idea of one dish appeals to me too, plus great leftovers for lunches!

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  7. Looks great to me. I like to make casseroles just for the fact that they last for a few meals!

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  8. I love casseroles, and we have them often. Good hearty stuff that all tastes great together, put together in a hurry, and then it cooks itself while I go do something else? What's not to love? I have two photographed to blog over the next couple weeks myself. Love how this one looks - feta cheese has been an addiction lately.

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  9. that looks so colorful and yum!

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  10. I just read a fabulous recipe for stuffed peppers with brown rice and feta. This looks like a great alternative. I'm a huuge sucker for feta in anything!

    Sues

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  11. I've never stopped making casseroles as it's a great way to get rid of leftover rice - so thanks for this. I don't like to throw anything away nor do I like to overeat - so I end-up recycling a fair amount of my food and am always looking for new recipes.

    Today I made something that wasn't quite a casserole but served in a casserole dish with nuked leftover Jasmin rice, roasted Iberico sausages & garlic and lots of fresh leek & cilantro. I roasted some Italian peppers to have on the side. No additional oils were used.

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  12. Not a huge fan of the typical casserole because it's gloppy and gross. Especially the green bean casserole popular at Thanksgiving with the crunchy "onions" on top. Gag. Ick. Yuck.

    Your "casserole" doesn't really seem like a casserole to me, more like some rice with veggies and cheese. Totally yummy sounding. In fact, this casserole will be dinner soon.

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  13. I am not usually a fan of casseroles, but this one I can handle. It looks excellent!

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  14. This looks amazing Kayln! I love rice casseroles

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  15. Wowwww, yet another vibrant, healthy, yet comforting-looking dish from your kitchen! Kudos to you!

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  16. We'd be tempted to add more cheese and chicken to this to make it a true casserole of sorts!

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  17. I always make more rice than I need. This looks like a great way to use up some of the leftovers.

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  18. What a beautiful dish! I love all things Greek, esp with feta.

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  19. This sounds good. I like the use of the brown rice!

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  20. Sorry to get so behind on responding to comments. I went with my sister today to take my dad to see the assisted living center where we're moving him. Kind of an emotionally charged day, but I was relieved that the place was so nice.

    Glad you guys are into the casserole idea. This was really good, and pretty healthy with the brown rice too.

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  21. Nothing so cozy and inviting as a brown rice casserole- baking rice with veggies, etc is my favorite thing to do. Beautiful photo, too, Kalyn. I love the colors.

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  22. I don't think I ever made any casserole dish... But this one might just make me make the first one ever! Looks delicious!

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  23. Casseroles are great! And this one sounds fantastic! :)

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  24. I made this last nite for dinner as a side for Greek Meatballs and Tzsacki sauce (another KK favorite recipe) My husband, who is not a big fan of casseroles, LOVED IT!
    It was very good- easy to make and healthy. Thx Kaylyn for yet another delicious recipe. This one is a keeper

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  25. Mrs. D, perfect side dish for those Greek dishes, thanks for sharing that idea.

    Thanks to all for the casserole feedback too!

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  26. I'm not a huge rice lover but with a little extra feta cheese this sounds like a great side dish.

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  27. Hi Kalyn,
    I am new to your blog and to South Beach but I am loving both. I'm on day 3 of phase 1. I have a couple of simple questions that i don't see in the book. Perhaps you or your readers can help me?
    Here is a list of foods that I'd like clarification on. Can i eat them in Phase 1 or just 2 or not at all?
    -Lemon Juice
    -Olives (black, Spanish etc...)
    -Pickles
    -Avocado

    Thank you so much.
    xoxo,
    Susan

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  28. Susan, I'm looking in South Beach Diet Supercharged (the newest book) and lemon juice, avocado, and olive are all listed for phase one. (limited quantities for olive and avocados, 15 olives or 1/2 avocado.) I don't see pickles listed, but cucumbers are okay and I can't think of any reason pickles wouldn't be allowed.

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  29. Hi Kaylyn -
    I like the sound of your casserole, and we are going to have a vegetarian potluck at work next week. My question is, How can this be called vegetarian if there is chicken stock in it. I've noticed this in other recipes, on other sites. I just don't get it.
    Thanks
    John

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  30. John, you are right of course. I guess in my mind, I always just assume that someone who's a vegetarian would substitute vegetable stock, but I should have made that clear. Will edit.

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  31. Tried this last night with some red peppers and onions that I had left over from a stir fry, loved it! At the suggestion of my husband, I added a few tablespoons of soy sauce. What a great use for leftovers!

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  32. Abbey, glad you liked it, and I love the idea of adding a bit of soy sauce. That set my mind racing thinking of more casserole ideas!

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  33. This looks absolutely delicious and could easily be converted to be vegetarian (as well as naturally being gluten-free). YUM! Thanks for the inspiration!

    -Sea

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  34. I cook my brown rice in my toaster oven, using an 8x8 pyrex dish. Leftovers go in the fridge for upcoming meals. I use l/o for casseroles like this and use spinach, feta and whatever looks right. It ends up tasting like south beach spinach pie. Nice side-dish and any leftovers that happen are a nice lunch.

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  35. This sounds amazing! I can't wait to give it a try!

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  36. Thanks Elizabeth; hope you enjoy it!

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  37. This looks great! I think I may sub kalamatas for the red pepper. I'm just not a pepper fan! Or maybe sun dried tomatoes?!

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  38. I'm totally in favor of people substituting in ingredients that they like!

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