|Pam and I both gave this Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan two thumbs up!|
Yesterday my sister Pam and brother-in-law Kelly came over, and Kelly replaced my broken garbage disposal (thanks Kelly!) While he worked on that I showed Pam some of the new features on the blog, including the new Recipe Box option where you can save recipes with Ziplist. Then Pam and I raided the fridge where there were some leftovers of this Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan. A few hours later Pam called me. saying she had set up her Ziplist account and wanted to save the spinach and feta casserole, but couldn't find it on the blog. I had to tell her I was sorry that I hadn't posted the recipe yet, but I was very happy that she liked it so much!
This is one of those wonderfully versatile recipes that could be a vegetable-laden side dish or a perfect vegetarian dish and just in time for Meatless Monday, ahem. And I'm a more than a little proud that I've managed to have a meatless recipe for the blog again this Monday, since sticking to a schedule hasn't been one of my best skills the last few years. (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly feature spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipes I find around the web.)
I cooked the brown rice in my beloved rice cooker, but you can use any method you'd like to get 3 cups of cooked brown rice.
Thaw a one pound package of spinach in the fridge or microwave. Then drain the spinach and squeeze out all the water.
Measure out 1 cup of Feta cheese and make sure it's well-crumbled for this recipe. (I wouldn't buy pre-crumbled Feta because it goes bad very quickly.)
Then mix in the brown rice, combining it thoroughly so all the ingredients are well-distributed in the rice.
Press the mixture into a 2 1/2 or 3 quart casserole dish that you've sprayed with oil or non-stick spray. Bake covered for about 35 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through.
Then remove the lid and sprinkle on 1/4 cup more of coarsely grated Parmesan cheese. Put back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer.
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe inspired by one found in The Big Book of Casseroles, with quite a few healthy changes by Kalyn.)
3 cups cooked brown rice
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk (I never buy milk so I used buttermilk and it was great in this)
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese (6 oz.)
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan (If you only have finely grated parmesan, I'd use a little less)
Cook enough brown rice to make 3 cups cooked brown rice. (Follow package directions or use a rice cooker). Let rice cool slightly while you prepare other ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Put thawed spinach into a colander, then use your hands to squeeze out as much of the water as you can.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then mix in the buttermilk (or milk), sliced green onions, dried thyme, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. When ingredients are combined, mix in the drained spinach. Then mix in the crumbled Feta and 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan, followed by the brown rice. Use a fork to mix until the ingredients are well-distributed into the rice.
Put the mixture into a 2.5 or 3 quart casserole dish that you've sprayed with oil or non-stick spray. Cover the dish and bake about 35 minutes, or until the rice mixture is heated through and Feta is starting to melt. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, then bake 10-15 minutes more. Serve hot.
This freezes well, but you may not have any left to freeze!
South Beach Suggestions:
I made a lot of changes in the original recipe to make this suitable for South Beach, including using brown rice, leaving out the butter, using less cheese and switching some of it for lower-fat Feta cheese, and increasing the proportion of spinach to other ingredients. If you're making this for the South Beach Diet, it's important to use regular brown rice, and not the quick cooking kind. There are only 42 grams of fat in the 6 ounces of Feta cheese, and although Parmesan is higher in fat, it does not take too much coarsely grated Parmesan to add a lot of flavor, but if you only have finely grated Parmesan I would definitely use less. With my changes, this would be okay for phase 2 or 3 of the diet.
More Tasty Meatless Ideas with Spinach:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Soup Recipe with Spinach, Tomatoes, and Basil from Kalyn's Kitchen
Palak Daal (Spinach and Lentil Curry) from Not Eating Out in New York
Spinach Pesto Lasagna from Cooking on the Side
Spinach and Tofu Napoleons from A Life (time) of Cooking
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)