Bring a touch of elegance to your fall and winter holiday table with this luxurious side dish or vegetarian main! Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole can be made ahead of time and may even win over a Brussels sprout skeptic!
For more great Brussels sprouts recipes, be sure to check out 25 Brussels Sprouts Recipes that Rock!
Why This Recipe Is a Keeper!
Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole has all the people-pleasing ingredients that will bring a smile to everyone at your holiday table! What's not to love about crisp Brussels sprouts, an earthy wild rice blend and luxurious cheese sauce all combined into one luxurious side dish or vegetarian main?
Like my Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, this easy, elegant make-ahead recipe is perfect for your fall and winter holiday table and it pairs beautifully with so many things.
It's also versatile! If you just can't do Brussels sprouts, use broccoli or green beans instead. The rice could be done with all white rice, brown rice or all wild rice, too.
Add it to your traditional holiday menu or if entertaining, serve Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole alongside simply roasted chicken, beef or my Cabernet Braised Beef Short Ribs with Cauliflower Leek Puree or Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil for a meal your guests will rave about.
Let's make it!
How to Make Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe along with how to prep. See the brussels sprouts casserole recipe card below for the exact quantities.
- Brussels Sprouts: Use small to medium Brussels sprouts. Trim and quarter.
- Scallions: You could also use a shallot or two.
- Dry White Wine: When using wine in cooking, you always want to use a wine that you would enjoy drinking. Anything with an off-taste can ruin your entire dish. Besides adding flavor, the tartaric acid in wine will help the cheese melt smoothly when you add it. That acid helps to break down the proteins in cheese for a smoother melt. If you need a non-alcoholic substitute, add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar to ⅓-cup chicken or vegetable broth. White wine vinegar has none to only a trace of alcohol.
- White Cheddar Cheese: I tested this recipe twice--once with a sharp white Cheddar and a second time with a mild white Cheddar. We liked the sharp white cheddar version better but I would avoid an "extra sharp" cheddar.
- Almonds: Use sliced or slivered almonds. The almonds add a nice crunchy element but for someone with a nut allergy, leave them off.
- Wild Rice Blend: I used Rice Select Royal Blend (affiliate link) which is available on Amazon and at most grocery stores. Follow the package directions but be careful to not overcook the rice. Also, the directions say the yield will be 2 ½ cups but you will only get 2 cups of cooked rice from their measurements which is fine for this recipe. (As I mentioned above, I tested the recipe twice.)
- Gather and prep all the ingredients.
- Cook and cool the rice.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees if baking right away. Prepare a baking dish.
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop the Brussels sprouts into the boiling water. Cook briefly, only 20-30 seconds or until they turn bright green. Scoop them out and drop into the ice bath. Let cool then drain and pat dry. Discard the cooking water.
- Heat the butter in the saucepan and add the scallion. Cook until it begins to soften, 2-3 minutes then add the garlic and cook briefly.
- Add the flour and cook 1 minute then add the white wine. Cook 1 more minute.
- Slowly add the half-and-half and bring up to a simmer. Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened and smooth. (The sauce will not be terribly thick because the cheese will thicken it up more.)
- Stir the rice and Brussels sprouts into the cheese sauce then pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the sliced or slivered almonds.
- MAKE AHEAD: Can be prepared up to this point 1-2 days ahead of time. Cool, cover and refrigerate. (Be sure the rice is not overcooked as it will absorb some of the cheese sauce and soften up some more.) Let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. You may need to add additional baking time if very cold.
- Bake uncovered until heated through and bubbling! Mwaaaahhh! Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole!
- Garnish with thyme sprigs or chopped parsley if desired.
Chef Tips and Tricks:
- When prepping Brussels sprouts, I always wear a disposable glove on my right hand because I tend to nick my thumb and it gets tender. (I'm right-handed.) You could also wear a fingertip cot or wrap your thumb in a bandage while trimming and quartering the sprouts.
- To cool rice quickly so that it doesn't keep cooking, place a sheet pan in the freezer while the rice is cooking. When the rice is done, take the sheet pan out of the freezer and spread the rice over the chilled sheet pan. I also use this method when cooking risotto for personal chef clients to cool it quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
You can blanch the Brussels sprouts and cook the rice up to 2 days ahead. Cool and refrigerate (can be combined). You can also fully assemble the casserole and refrigerate it up to 2 days ahead of time. Be sure to not overcook the rice as it will absorb some of the cheese sauce as it sits and will soften up some more.
Yes, you can use white, brown or all wild rice.
Rather than white cheddar cheese, you can use Gruyere, Swiss or Monterey Jack.
For the best result, freeze before baking for 1-2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. Bake until heated through and bubbling. This casserole can also be frozen after baking but the Brussels sprouts will be very soft. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat through in a 350-degree oven.
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Cheesy Brussels Sprouts and Wild Rice Casserole
- Cooking spray - for baking dish
- 1 pound trimmed Brussels sprouts - small to medium size, quartered (4-5 cups after quartering)
- 3 tablespoons butter - preferably unsalted
- 1 bunch scallions - white and light green part only, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2 ¼ cups shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese - or mild, divided
- 2 cups cooked wild rice blend - such as Rice Select
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- 2 tablespoons slivered or sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large oval gratin dish (1 ¾ to 2-quart) with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare an ice bath. Bring a saucepan of generously salted water (with approximately 1 tablespoon salt) to a boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 20-30 seconds or so or until they turn bright green. Scoop them out and drop them into the prepared ice bath to cool. Drain and pat dry.
- Discard the cooking water, rinse and return the saucepan to the stove.
- Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallion and cook 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook 10-15 seconds or until fragrant.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the wine and cook for 1 minute.
- Gradually add the half-and-half and continue whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 1-2 minutes or until thickened and smooth.
- Remove from the heat. Add 2 cups of the cheese in increments, whisking as you add the cheese until it's smooth and blended in. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice and Brussels sprouts. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining ¼ cup cheese. Sprinkle with the almonds.
- Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until hot, bubbling and heated through. Serve immediately.
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.
What can I use to replace half and half? A non-dairy option?
Hi, Luciana, Thanks so much for your question. You could use a plant-based non-dairy coffee creamer that has a neutral flavor. I'd avoid coconut--something more like almond or oat milk. Thanks again and hope you enjoy!