Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recipe for Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan

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.

Mix together the eggs, buttermilk (or milk), green onion, dried thyme, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

Then stir in the drained spinach.

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.)

Mix the crumbled Feta and 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan into the spinach and egg mixture.

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.

And here's how it looked when it was done baking and hot out of the oven.  Serve hot or warm.


Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan
(Makes 6-8 servings; recipe inspired by one found in The Big Book of Casseroles, with quite a few healthy changes by Kalyn.)

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked brown rice
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 
2 eggs
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)

Instructions:
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.) counter customizable free hit

47 comments:

  1. Kayln, This casserole sounds simply delicious! I can't wait to try it.

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  2. Thanks Nancy! Hope you enjoy it as much as Pam and I did.

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  3. Sounds delicious! I'll be tweaking it to make it vegetarian and trying it this week.

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  4. I have been CRAVING greens lately like a crazy person. Seriously, I think I've eaten spinach every day for the past two weeks! I think it's time to add some cheese and brown rice into the mix!

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  5. Would it be South Beach unfriendly to add some golden raisins? I love that combination of flavors and while I was reading the recipe thought right away of tossing some raisins in. I'd definitely serve this as a main dish.

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  6. Georgina, this is vegetarian but not vegan.

    Joanne, I think that's a good thing! (Much better than craving candy!)

    Lydia, yes I'm afraid raisins and dried fruit aren't South Beach friendly because of the sugar content. But it does sound good for people who aren't on South Beach.

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  7. I love the idea of having this as a meatless main dish. I seem to have a hard time finding meatless mains that appeal to me that aren't pasta based.

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  8. Deborah, I do know just what you mean! This is really so tasty and a great way to eat a lot of spinach!

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  9. I love the brown rice in there! I am sure the dish is very satisfying!

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  10. Kalyn
    This looks great and I can't wait to try it! I have some feta in the refrigerator and most of the remaining ingredients are staples in my house (another reason to like this recipe!). It's going on the menu for the week.

    Karen

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  11. This reminds me of spanakopita, except in dinner form minus the phyllo. YUM!

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  12. Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan aren't normally vegetarian but I'll be trying it with some alternatives.

    I've been looking for a good recipe with spinach and this fits the bill!

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  13. I'm a huge baked spinach fan! I'll admit I grew up on store bought spinach souffles... sounds strange but I still like today :)

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  14. Kalyn, I am truly so excited to make this. We go through a lot of brown rice in our house and are always looking for new ways to liven it up. This is the answer!

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  15. So glad people are liking this. I have some in the freezer and I'm thinking it's lunch today!

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  16. I'm a huge spinach fan and any kind of added cheese is a big pleaser, especially parmesan. Can't wait to try this casserole!!

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  17. You have just a wonderful blog packed with wonderful healthy recipes. I am a follower and thank you for helping keeping me inspired by healthy food.

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  18. This reminds me of the Greek Spinach Pies that are wrapped in filo (but this brown rice casserole is a lot healthier!). I like your new 'save recipe' option.

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  19. Glad people are liking this combination. It is kind of similar to the flavors in Tiropita (the Greek hand pies with spinach and Feta)! Didn't think of that at all until someone mentioned it.

    Jeanette, I am thrilled about the Save Recipe option, thanks!

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  20. Oh this looks so good! And I saw your last recipe on Tastespotting or FG? Can't remember. I was submitting my rosemary almonds and saw your cranberry sauce which I had seen the day before b/c I commented under you on White on Rice's site and popped over and saw the cranberry loveliness :)

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  21. Averie, the rosemary almonds looked amazing! So glad you like this one too.

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  22. This is MY kind of casserole. It looks fantastic! So many things I love, in one dish. I am defintiely making this!

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  23. Oh this looks delicious! I made something similar recently that I called a brown rice and kale gratin. It was based on a Beecher's cheese recipe, and it was amazing, This reminds me of that but is probably healthier ;)

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  24. Zesty, I do think kale would be great in this!

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  25. Lovely casserol ... can't wait to try it out. Thinking of using gouda instead of feta ..have you tried it?

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  26. Rehka, I haven't made any recipes other than the one here, but I think there are a lot of different cheese variations that would be good.

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  27. This looks fantastic and so healthy. I've been using brown rice for years and never ever use the white stuff anymore unless I'm taking a picture. Brown rice doesn't photograph well unfortunately. But it tastes soooo much better than white.
    Sam

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  28. Sam, I know what you mean. The brown rice looks like of fuzzy in photos, but I love it!

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  29. Kalyn, we really enjoyed this! I confess I used Uncle Ben's converted white rice but other than that didn't change a thing. I will also vouch that leftovers keep quite a few days in the fridge and reheat beautifully!

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  30. Spanakopita casserole! Sounds great!

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  31. I have spent probably a good hour on your blog, Pinning recipes here and there. Everything looks fabulous (such wonderful photos!), and all the recipes are going in my "Healthy Food Ideas" board, which makes me super happy!

    I was recently diagnosed with PCOS and my doctor recommended I stop eating most "white" foods and replace with whole wheat options, or as in the case of rice, brown rice. I noticed you said this about brown rice: " If you're making this for the South Beach Diet, it's important to use regular brown rice, and not the quick cooking kind."

    What is the difference of quick-cooking vs. regular when it comes to the SBD? Thank you again for the amazing recipes! God bless :)

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    1. I'm glad the blog will be helpful for you. South Beach is based on the glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly foods turn to sugar in your body. "Instant" just metabolizes much more quickly than regular whole rice.

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  32. This looks wonderful - thanks so much for sharing it!

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  33. Worchestershire isn't uaually vegetarian but you can find some that is. But what's wrong with parmesan? Does it have rennet?

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  34. One of my favorite recipes on your site! I usually work 3 12 hour night shifts in a row, and it's been great to make this casserole beforehand and have it to heat up in the middle of the night when the cafeteria is closed! My coworkers love it too, a few have even gotten the recipe to make it for their families. Thanks Kalyn!

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  35. Sarah Marie, so glad you are enjoying it!

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  36. I didn't have much rice left & cauliflower was cheap, so I just made the dish subbing grated cauliflower (aka cauliflower rice) for half of the brown rice. It is delicious!

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  37. Meredith, I love the sound of that!

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  38. Made this for Dinner tonight! My Husband & Children loved it!! Thanks so much for pinning it! :)

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  39. This was very good! I used a Vidalia onion instead of the green, and added 1/2 of a diced jalapeno and some cubes of avocado. Some in my family thought the jalapeno was a little too hot - I think green chiles would add the tang I was seeking without as much heat.

    Jo

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  40. Jo I like the idea of spicing it up a bit though!

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  41. Hi Kalyn! I have a ton of fresh spinach in my garden--I'm assuming I could use this instead of frozen? Would I need to steam it first?

    Thanks!

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  42. How lucky to have garden spinach. Yes, I would steam or just lightly saute in a large pan before you use it in the recipe.

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Thanks for joining the conversation! I love hearing from readers and even though I can't always reply to every comment, I will always answer specific questions on a recipe as soon as possible.

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