Brown rice casserole

I’ve had the Greens cookbook for a while, but hadn’t made anything out of it until I picked out this very unassuming recipe for a brown rice casserole. I was looking for something that would be both hearty and healthy. And I appreciated that it was also meatless.

Some of the recipes in the book are pretty labor intensive (ie make one recipe from this page, add another recipe from this page, etc.), but this one was quite simple. It’s also very adaptable to whatever veggies you have in your fridge. I opted to use zucchini and sweet potatoes, along with a few cherry tomatoes and herbs from our mini garden. I nixed the mushrooms because I don’t like them.

I also used homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, mostly because I hate to see it sitting unused in the freezer. And I was excited to finally add nutritional yeast to a recipe. It’s only a little in this one, but I had never used it before.

I was a little worried that the ingredient list was so simple (including plain tofu cubes), that it would turn out bland. But this casserole is really something special. Both Mike and I loved it, and I plan to make it again, possibly with butternut squash or something more fall-like.

Brown rice casserole
adapted from the Greens cookbook

3 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup uncooked)
half block of firm tofu, cubed
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (use organic if possible)
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup veggie or chicken stock
6 ounces grated cheddar cheese
A sprinkling of fresh herbs (I used basil and thyme)
More salt and pepper to taste

Get a few things going at once: preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start boiling water for your rice, and cook it according to package directions. Drain the tofu and squeeze out the water before you cut it into cubes.

Heat the olive oil and butter over medium and saute the onions for about five minutes. Add the garlic, nutritional yeast, cumin, and salt. This part smells amazing.

Add the rest of the veggies and 1/2 cup of the stock, cover the pan, and cook the veggies about 10 minutes or until they start to soften. If you want, you can hold off on the tomatoes until the last few minutes. This part really helps the veggies soak up more flavor.

When the veggies are cooked, add the rice and cheese, and then season with salt and pepper. Mix in the tofu cubes.

Spray or butter a 9×13 baking dish and spoon in the casserole. Even though it seems a little strange, add in the rest of the stock. It will soak into the casserole as it bakes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle on the fresh herbs.

It might not be the most beautiful of dishes, but it will surprise you.