Monday, February 17, 2014

Cheesy Vegetarian Brown Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Cheesy Vegetarian Brown Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms
I devoured this Cheesy vegetarian casserole with brown rice, broccoli, and mushrooms.

It took me a couple of dump-in-the-trash attempts to get this Cheesy Vegetarian Brown Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms to come out the way I wanted it, but immediately after I finished taking that photo I sat down at the island in my kitchen and devoured the little plate of casserole, so I think experimenting with the recipe turned out to be worth it.  The version that worked out has a few steps that might seem labor intensive, like cooling the rice, reducing the broth, and cooking the mushrooms, onions, and broccoli separately before they get combined into the casserole. Nobody likes a simple recipe more than me, but I do think it's those little touches that helped me get the result I wanted, so I hope people will trust me on the extra steps.  And the recipe makes a generous 8 servings (or 10 side dish servings) so you'll have some to stockpile in the freezer for another day when you don't want to cook!

I haven't done too many casseroles for Meatless Monday, but confess I love a good casserole.  I think that's because I grew up eating them, although the ones I like most now are pretty different than what mom used to make.  If you're not into the whole Meatless Monday thing, this would make a lovely side dish for just about anything you wanted to put next to it on the plate.  (You can find more meatless recipe ideas using the label Meatless Monday or Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index.  For Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest or Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)

Cook 1 1/2 cups brown rice to get about 4 1/2 cups cooked brown rice.  (I used Uncle Ben's Brown Rice and used my beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker to cook the rice.

When the rice is done (very important!) spread it out on a baking sheet and let it cool.  (If you skip this step, the rice will keep cooking as it cools and will be too soft in the finished casserole.)  Put the rice in a large bowl when it's cooled.

While the rice cooks put one can vegetable broth into a small saucepan and let it simmer over medium-low heat.  If you have some mushroom base, add about a tablespoon to the stock before you simmer, but the mushroom base is not essential.  (You can also use mushroom cubes.)

Simmer the stock and mushroom base until it's reduced to one cup.  Let cool.  While the broth simmers chop the mushrooms, onion, and broccoli.

Saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil and add to the bowl with the rice.

Saute the onions in a little more olive oil until they start to brown; then add the Italian Herb Blend and cook about a minute more.  Add the seasoned onions to the bowl.

Cut up the broccoli stems into small slices and flowerets into small pieces until you have 4 cups chopped broccoli.  Microwave broccoli 1 1/2 minutes (or saute if you don't have a microwave), drain, and add to the bowl.

Gently mix together the rice, mushrooms, seasoned onions, and broccoli.

Whisk the sour cream into the reduced and cooled broth, then mix in 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese.  (I used the same measuring cup I microwaved the broccoli in to save washing another dish.)

Pour the sauce/cheese mixture over the rice mixture and gently combine, until all the ingredients are slightly moistened.

Spray a 9 inch by 13 inch casserole dish (or comparable size) with non-stick spray and put the rice mixture in the dish, spreading it out so it's even.  Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese.

Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until the casserole is bubbly and nicely browned on top.  Serve hot.


Cheesy Vegetarian Brown Rice Casserole with Broccoli and Mushrooms
(Makes 8 main dish servings, or at least 10 side-dish servings; recipe created by Kalyn with much experimenting.)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice (I use Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
1 can (14 oz.) vegetable broth, simmered to reduce to 1 cup
1 T mushroom base, added to broth to enrich the flavor (optional, but recommended)
12 oz. mushrooms, chopped into pieces about 1/2 inch (I used brown Crimini mushrooms)
1 large onion, diced small
4 cups chopped broccoli, stems and flowerets
2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. Italian Herb Blend
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups reduced fat sour cream
1 cup grated low-fat sharp cheddar (I used Kraft 2% Sharp Cheddar.)
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup grated reduced fat Four Cheese Mexican Blend
1/4 cup low-fat grated Mozzarella

Instructions:
Cook rice according to package directions to get about 4 1/2 cups cooked brown rice.  Spread hot rice out on a cookie sheet to cool while you prep other ingredients.  (I used my beloved Zojirushi Rice Cooker to cook the rice.)  As soon as rice is cool, transfer it to a large bowl (big enough to hold all the ingredients.)

While rice cooks, put the stock (and mushroom base if using) into a small saucepan and simmer to reduce the amount to 1 cup.  (This concentrates the flavor, don't skip this step.)  Let stock cool.  Chop mushrooms into pieces about 1/2 inch big, and chop onion into small pieces.  Cut up the broccoli, chopping stems and cutting flowerets into small bite-sized pieces so you have 4 cups chopped broccoli.

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until they're lightly browned and all liquid is evaporated, about 5-6 minutes.   Put mushrooms in the bowl with the cooled rice.  Heat the other 2 tsp. olive oil, add onions, and cook over medium-high heat until the onions are starting to brown, about 4-5 minutes.  Add Italian Herb Blend and cook 1 minute more.  Add the seasoned onions to the bowl with the rice.  Put the broccoli in the microwave and cook 1 1/2 minutes at high power.  (Or you can saute the broccoli for 2-3 minutes in the pan.)  Drain broccoli and add to the rice.  Gently combine the rice, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli in the bowl.

Whisk together the sour cream and cooled stock; then stir in 1 cup grated sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup Four Cheese Mexican Blend.  Gently stir the sauce and cheese mixture into the rice mixture and combine until all the ingredients are coated with sauce.  Spray a 9 inch by 13 inch glass or crockery casserole dish (or comparable size) with non-stick spray and spread the casserole mixture into the dish, patting it down with the turner so it's even.  Sprinkle with the other 1/2 cup Four Cheese Mexican Blend and the 1/4 cup grated Mozzarella.

Bake casserole uncovered until it's bubbling and the top is lightly browned, about 35-40 minutes.  Serve hot.

This freezes well.  Thaw in the refrigerator and heat in microwave or in a covered baking dish in the oven or toaster oven.

Click Here for Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
With brown rice, low-fat sour cream, low-fat cheese, and a generous amount of low-glycemic vegetables, this casserole would be suitable for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  I tried to use enough cheese to make it good, but not so much that it's not diet-friendly, but it might be best as a "once-in-a-while-treat" if you're actively trying to lose weight, and don't exceed portion size.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Vegetarian Casseroles to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Vegetarian Greek Lentil Casserole with Bell Peppers and Feta ~ Kalyn's Kitchen 
Mexican Lasagna ~ Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Vegetarian Green Chile and Pinto Bean Layered Mexican Casserole ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Butternut Squash Casserole ~ Eat Me, Delicious
Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan ~ Kalyn's Kitchen  
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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29 comments:

  1. Cheesy and full of veggies? Sounds good to me!

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  2. Thanks Joanne! Two of my favorite things.

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  3. This sounds delicious Kalyn, I always love your casserole recipes. I really need to get into the habit of making them on certain days of the week to make dinner time easier (prepping them during the day!)

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  4. Thanks Aggie! What I love about casseroles is the leftovers!

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  5. I would definitely serve this as a main course, with a side salad. I'm going to try it the next time our vegetarian kids and grandkids are visiting; I think they'll love it.

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  6. Love the sound of this one dish meatless dinner Kalyn!

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  7. Love this dish with your step by step clicks. First time here. Nice space. Do visit mine if you find time.

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  8. Thanks Jeanette! I was happy I finally got it right.

    Nandoos Kitchen, welcome!

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  9. wow! it's so delicious. healthy and good for weight loss also!

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  10. Beautiful looking dish, great tips. Thanks!

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  11. All my favorite recipes seem to start with sauteed onions and garlic, and I think I'll throw in some sauteed carrots too.....just to pack the veggies. Do you see any downside to these additions?

    Cheese inside, cheese on top....mmmm, cheese.

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  12. If you're concerned about low-glycemic or low-carb eating I probably wouldn't add carrots because they're high in carbs and this dish already has rice. Otherwise, sounds fine.

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  13. As a kid my dear departed mother served up endless rice casseroles for lunch. At the time I became heartily sick of them. Now however I view them with some nostalgia and affection. I will be giving this one a try as I enjoy the occasional meatless meal.

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  14. Hi Kalyn. A note on how much I enjoyed the 'cheesy veg,brown rice casserole' I loved it. I did make a few changes. My store didn't have the mushroom base,so I mixed mushroom broth with the veggie broth,& it worked great. I also added a few squirts of Sriracha hot chili sauce into the mix before baking.Just fabulous. I use dry brown rice normally in my rice cooker which I had made the night before.That cuts some prep time in the kitchen. Thanks for this'keeper'. New vegetarian recipes are always welcome. p.s. leftovers were great too.

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  15. So glad you liked it. Love the idea of adding Sriracha!

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  16. I think I'll add some chopped up Kale. How does that sound?

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  17. I think kale sounds like a great addition to this!

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  18. I made this tonight for dinner, and it was delicious! I added a shredded carrot, and some sauteed kale. One person suggested adding some sriracha, but I added a bit too much. It also didn't get 'bubbly', so I'd suggest adding more vegetable broth.

    A great recipe, all around!

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  19. Glad you enjoyed it. I love how people are varying the recipe!

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  20. It's a tremendously versatile recipe! We had the leftovers tonite, and the Sriracha had calmed down a bit. Even better the second time around. Thanks Kalyn!

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  21. I adore rice casseroles. I can smell this off the page!

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  22. It's the first time we've had brown rice, your recipe has given me the idea of having different combinations. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed your recipe as a main course and we're planning to use it as a side on Wednesday with Spice Rubbed Pork Chops. We would also like to mention how unique we thought your combination of sour cream and vegetable broth made such a impressive and creamy sauce. We have some ideas of our own but we'd like to try them first to see how they'd go together if at all. Keep up the great recipes Kalyn!

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  23. Thanks April; so glad you enjoyed it so much.

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  24. Oh dear. I took so many shortcuts and modifications...but it still all worked.

    Cooked the rice with the vegetarian stock. Put the broccoli in a pot of boiling water, turned it off right away, then drained. Blanched to perfection. Sauteed the onions with the mushrooms.
    In a large bowl, mixed the sour cream with the cheese and the herbs that I thought would go into the 'Italian herb mix'....oregano, basil, thyme, and sage...don't know if those were the right herbs, But it would help if you could give details about what goes into the mix.

    Anyway, I cooled the rice and added ti to the large bowl, added the par-boiled broccoli fleurettes, and the sauteed mushrooms and onions. Gently mixed it all together, and added a little stock for moisture. Baking in the oven now.

    I've made this before, and it was delicious....my son requested it for tonite!

    But I think it would be helpful to modify the recipe with some suggestions, just to streamline. The herbs in the Italian mix would be helpful. I'm not sure that all the separate steps are necessary!

    I couldn't find 'mushroom base', but I'm sure it would have been good.

    Love your recipes! With some modifications, they would be easier for the common cook, like me.

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  25. I am always using the methods that I think will provide best results and maximize flavors in the recipes. Of course you're welcome to modify any way you want.

    There is a link in the recipe for Italian Herb Blend so if you had clicked that you could have seen what spices are in it.

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