Healthy comfort food
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This past week called for something in this category. I waited for inspiration to come over me, nothing did
When in doubt, consult the cookbook your mom used the most when you were a kid. Within a few minutes thumbing through the casserole category, I'd found the perfect thing.
Not entirely healthy as it was, but I could fix that
The original, of course, called for a cream of mushroom soup/sour cream combination to hold it together and give it a creamy texture. Also included were handfuls of cheese, piled on top, and baked until it oozed onto the oven floor.
Alas, when you know better, you do better. So I played with it a bit.
I used a combination of cottage cheese and Greek yogurt as a binder, with more grown-up tastes for flavor. Mushrooms, onions, and garlic were sautéed with spinach and mixed through the rice.
Gruyère and/or Parmesan sprinkled throughout, not for the effect of melted cheese, but instead for the tasty finish it would bring.
The spice was kept simple: tyme, and a bit of salt and pepper. Rustic herbed bread crumbs sprinkled on top.
This is a recipe that could go so many ways, depending on the mood of the day or things in your cupboard
I could easily imagine veggies added, or your favorite meat for protein, any cheese to dot the top, your favorite blend of spices. Maybe you like a creamier blend to hold it together? Double the cottage cheese/Greek yogurt potion? How about a different grain combination?
It's hard to go wrong.
(Note from Ali: This recipe originally appeared in April 2013, back when The Veggies was just getting started. It's one of our favorites, and I couldn't resist making a batch this past weekend. I originally set out to freshen up the photos but decided an updated post was in order for those who maybe haven't ventured through the archives. Enjoy!)
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~ Adapted from Sugar ‘N Spice (United Methodist Church Estherville, Iowa)
Mushroom, Rice and Spinach Casserole
- ¾ lb (~ 8 ounces) mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 medium onion, well chopped
- roasted garlic
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 eggs (large or XL)
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup Greek Yogurt
- fine grain sea salt + freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan/Gruyère cheese combination
- 16 oz spinach, long stems removed and rough-chopped
- Rustic Bread Crumbs
- 3 - 4 slices bread, torn into small pieces (gluten-free if you're avoiding gluten)
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ cup butter, melted but not hot
Rustic Herbed Bread Crumbs
- Combine bread, parsley, and thyme in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Transfer to a bowl, toss with melted butter. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of olive oil or butter and set aside. (The pan I use is slightly smaller than a classic 9x13 baking dish - just grab for something in this ballpark)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat saute the mushrooms in a glug of olive oil sprinkled with a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt.
- Stir every minute or so, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and browned a bit.
- Add the onions and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes or until they are translucent.
- Stir in the garlic and chopped spinach, cook for another minute or two until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat.
- Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, salt, and the Parmesan cheese.
- To the skillet, add the cottage cheese mix and stir until well combined. Turn out into your prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes more, or until hot throughout, and golden along the edges.
- Preheat broiler to high. Sprinkle top of the casserole with herbed bread. Broil on rack 8 inches from heat until the top is browned (~ 2 to 3 minutes)