Green Greens Rice Casserole
Cheesy-green rice casserole makes a humble but delicious meal -- and a great way to showcase those enormous bunches of spinach, kale, or chard you may find at the farmer's market. Even if you usually use white rice, try short-grain brown rice here: whole grains are nutty and delicious, and they're a great, inexpensive way to add nutrients to your diet.
Hands-On Time: 35 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings
6 cups cooked brown rice (made from 3 cups raw)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large bunch of greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.), washed, thick ribs removed, and finely chopped
4-ounce packet of cream cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 packed cup grated cheese (Monterey Jack or cheddar is perfect for this)
juice from 1/2 a lemon, to taste
1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, such as mint, basil, or cilantro (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350ºF and cook the rice. While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a wide pan over medium-low heat and sauté the onion with the salt until it's soft, translucent, and starting to brown (around 10 minutes).
- Add the garlic and sauté for another minute until it's fragrant, then add the greens and cook, stirring, until the greens are wilted and tender, anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes, depending on the greens (if the mixture threatens to dry out, add a couple tablespoons of water and let it steam, covered, for a few minutes).
- Turn the heat off, and stir in the cream cheese, cut into chunks, until it is mostly melted.
- Now stir in the rice (if your pan isn't huge, you may need to move the whole thing to a large mixing bowl), and then the eggs, which you've beaten with the cottage cheese, and, finally, the grated cheese.
- Add a few squeezes of lemon juice, and the herbs, if you're using them. Now put a spoonful of the mixture on a plate and microwave for a few seconds, then taste: add more salt, lemon, or herbs if it doesn't seem fully flavored.
- Bake the rice mixture in a greased casserole dish, covered with a lid or foil, for 25 minutes, and then uncovered for another 10. Serve hot, with a green salad or sliced tomatoes.