Cheesy Brown Rice and Greens Casserole is a delicious, hearty, vegetarian casserole that’s also super flexible! Use any kind of grain such as quinoa, barley or lentils and any type of leafy green.
Thanksgiving Day was absolutely gorgeous here–gorgeous enough to have the windows open. I cooked at my own leisurely pace while watching the Fixer Upper marathon on HGTV. Every so often I’d hear the leaves rustling outside and would pay attention to their magical sound. I totally got my cooking zen on!
Having gone a little food crazy in my zen state, we have plenty of leftovers. However, at least once during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I want something easy and different–like this Cheesy Brown Rice and Greens Casserole.
Cheesy Brown Rice and Greens Casserole is super-flexible. I used brown rice here, but you can use any grain you’d like such as barley, lentils or quinoa and any greens that you’d like. I used kale, bok choy and baby spinach here. Love me some greens no matter what they are!
You could also add leftover turkey or chicken, too!
Tips for cooking brown rice:
Here’s the easiest way I have found to cook brown rice (and I’ve cooked a ton of brown rice in my time):
- Get a saucepan of water boiling
- Add some salt then add the brown rice.
- Let it boil away uncovered!
- Check it after about 20 minutes and if it’s done the way you like it, then drain in a sieve. If not, let it keep boiling. Some brands can take longer to cook than others.
- Add water as necessary to keep it cooking in plenty of water.
Yes, that’s right–no measuring, no timing, no possible burning the rice on the bottom–just boil it like pasta and keep it moving.
As with pasta, if brown rice is cooked in a small amount of water it gets gummy and sticky. Basically, it has cooked in its own starch. With this method, you will have beautiful, fluffy brown rice each and every time!
Because the “pasta method” for brown rice is so easy and fool-proof, I always cook extra brown rice so I have it on hand for a casserole or a side dish–it freezes beautifully.
The texture of Cheesy Brown Rice and Greens Casserole is slightly different from most casseroles you may be used to. There’s no creamy “binder,” which in the South often involves a can of cream of mushroom soup, sour cream or mayonnaise. It’s just eggs and cheese for a delightfully chewy, crunchy texture.
A slightly spicy homemade tomato soup is perfect on the side!
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Helpful Tools and Equipment to make Cheesy Brown Rice and Greens Casserole (Affiliate Links):
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for pan
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8 heads baby bok choy, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- 1 bag (10-ounce) baby spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (or barley, lentils or quinoa or a combination)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add onion and cook until softened, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the bok choy and kale in batches; cook each batch until wilted. Stir in garlic. Transfer to a large bowl. Add spinach to wilt slightly.
- Stir in cooked brown rice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Stir in eggs and cheese.
- Transfer to prepared baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until cheese and top is lightly browned.
Prep time does not include cooking the rice.
MAKE AHEAD: Assemble, cool and refrigerator up to 2 days ahead.
TO REHEAT LEFTOVERS: Cut into squares, wrap loosely in aluminum foil. Heat at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories 368 Total Fat 18g Saturated Fat 8g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 126mg Sodium 215mg Carbohydrates 33g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 5g Sugar 3g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 20g