Greek Vegetable Casserole Recipe

4.62 from 18 votes
2 hours 40 minutes
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This Greek Vegetable Casserole recipe is vegetarian comfort food that’s hearty enough to satisfy a carnivore. Zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, herbs and brown rice in a creamy ricotta and feta cheese blend is then topped with fresh tomatoes and baked for a delicious make-ahead meal!

Serve the vegetarian casserole with soup, salad or Mediterranean Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes for a meatless meal everyone will rave about! Greek food lovers will also love Briam (Greek Roasted Vegetables)!

Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole in white baking dish garnished with fresh parsley.

Why This Recipe Is a Keeper:

I have made and loved this vegetable casserole recipe with brown rice for many years.  It’s inspired by one that first appeared in the classic Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen published in 1977 and reissued in 1992 with lighter versions of all the dishes from the original.

Her version was called “Bulgarian Pepper Casserole” and because of the name, it wasn’t a big seller with my personal chef clients.  Bell peppers, especially green bell peppers, can be difficult for some people to handle. Once I changed the name to be more descriptive and swapped out the green bell pepper for zucchini, yellow squash and sweet peppers it became a hit!

Greek Vegetable Casserole can be made ahead, freezes great and meat-eaters won’t miss the meat!

Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole in white baking dish with serving spoon on blue napkin.

How to Make a Greek Vegetable Casserole Recipe:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this vegetable casserole recipe along with how to prep. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Onions: Use purchased frozen chopped onions to save time. Whenever I chop too many onions, I save and place them in a quart-size zipper-top bag and place them in the freezer for my own frozen, ready-to-use chopped onions anytime.
  • Bell Peppers: You can use any color or combination of peppers, including green.
  • Zucchini and Yellow Squash: I used a combination, but you can use all zucchini or all yellow squash if that’s what you have.
  • Dill: If you can find a sufficient amount of fresh dill, by all means, use it. Fresh dill in quantity is hard to find in my area, so I often have to use dried dill.
  • Oregano: I prefer fresh because we have oregano year-round in the South, but dried is just fine.
  • Lemon Juice: Fresh is always best!
  • Cooked Brown Rice: This recipe is great for using up leftover brown rice. You’ll need four cups. Add at least 30 minutes to the cook/prep time if you need to cook brown rice. You can often find cooked brown rice in the freezer section of your grocery store near the vegetables. Quinoa can be substituted for brown rice.
  • Kalamata Olives: Pitting Kalamata olives can be labor-intensive. However, they are available pitted.  When purchasing “pitted” Kalamata olives, I treat them like they still have the pit.  I never take for granted that the mechanical pitting process got all the pits—I look each one over.
  • Tomatoes: Use round or plum tomatoes.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly oil a baking dish.
  • Heat the oil and add the onion. Cook until softened.
Cooked onions in skillet.
  • Add the bell pepper and cook until that starts to soften up then add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until softened.
  • Stir in the garlic, herbs and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Combine the vegetables, brown rice, cheeses and egg in a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Transfer to the prepared baking dish, smooth the top then add the tomatoes and black olives.
  • MAKE AHEAD:  Can be assembled to this point 1-2 days in advance without the tomatoes. Top with tomatoes and olives right before baking.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off.  You may need to add additional baking time.
  • Bake the vegetable casserole until heated through to 165 degrees in the center and the edges are lightly crispy.
  • Garnish this lovely Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole with chopped fresh parsley if desired and serve!
Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole garnished with fresh parsley with serving spoon on blue napkin.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • Tip for cooking brown rice:
    • My favorite way to cook brown rice is to cook it like pasta. Get a large saucepan of water boiling, add some salt then the rice and simply boil it until it’s tender—I don’t even measure.
    • Drain thoroughly in a sieve and the result will be the most beautiful, fluffy brown rice!
    • When I cook brown rice at home, I always cook extra so that I can freeze it and have it available when needed.
    • You can also do it in an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker but it takes about the same time as simply boiling it. Here are instructions for the Instant Pot from Culinary Scientist Jessica Gavin.
  • To refresh dried herbs, rub them between your index finger and thumb as you’re adding them to your dish.
  • If you have to pit the Kalamata olives, place the olive on a flat surface such as a cutting board. Press down on the olive on the end closest to you with your thumb; the pit should pop right out.
Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole being scooped up from baking dish with spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I rinse brown rice before cooking it?

Rinsing any grain to remove dust particles is always a good idea. Simply place it in a sieve and run it under cool running tap water.

Can I substitute quinoa for brown rice?

Absolutely! Use the same amount of cooked quinoa as rice–4 cups.

I’m not a feta fan. What other cheeses can I use?

Although the casserole will not have the same Greek flair as with feta, you can use a mild cheese such as Mozzarella or Monterey jack.

I’m not a ricotta fan. What can I use instead?

Puree cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and use in place of the ricotta. For added protein, substitute silken tofu.

Also great with:

More vegetable/vegetarian casseroles you’re sure to love:

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Greek Brown Rice and Vegetable Casserole in white baking dish garnished with fresh parsley.

Greek Vegetable Casserole Recipe

4.62 from 18 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Greek Vegetable Casserole is perfect vegetarian comfort food!  Zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, herbs and brown rice in a creamy ricotta and feta cheese blend is then topped with fresh tomatoes and baked for a delicious make-ahead meal!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Time to Cook Brown Rice 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Course Vegetarian / Vegan Entrees
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Servings 8
Calories 328 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil - plus more for oiling the baking dish
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers - chopped
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper - chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini - halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 medium yellow squash - halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
  • 4 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley - divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - optional
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese - light is fine
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese - reduced fat or fat-free is fine
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
  • 2 medium tomatoes - or 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  • Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 4-5 minutes or until beginning to soften.
  • Add the chopped bell pepper and continue cooking 5-6 minutes or until bell pepper begins to soften.
  • Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook 3-4 minutes more or until zucchini begins to soften.
  • Stir in garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, oregano, dill and crushed red pepper flakes if using. Set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine vegetables, brown rice, ricotta and feta cheeses, egg, lemon juice and salt and black pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.
  • Place tomato slices over the top then sprinkle with halved Kalamata olives.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until hot throughout.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley.

Notes

Prep time does not include cooking the brown rice. I like to make a big batch and freeze it so I always have it on hand.
SUBSTITUTIONS:
  • Pureed cottage cheese or silken tofu can be substituted for the ricotta.
  • Although the casserole won’t have the same Greek flair, a mild cheese such as Mozzarella or Monterey jack will work.
  • Use quinoa in place of the brown rice.
 
MAKE AHEAD:  Can be assembled 1-2 days in advance without the tomatoes. Top with tomatoes and olives right before baking.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off.  You may need to add additional baking time.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Assemble and let cool.  You can add the tomatoes and olives or leave them off until you plan to bake the casserole.  Thaw in the refrigerator 24-48 hours and bake as directed.  You may need to add additional baking time with it being cold or still partially frozen in the center.
REHEATING LEFTOVERS:  Drizzle with a tablespoon or two of water.  Place in an oven-safe container, cover and reheat at 350 degrees until hot in the center.  You can also reheat in the microwave until hot.

Nutrition

Serving: 8 | Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1841IU | Vitamin C: 88mg | Calcium: 212mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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