We’ve had a new addition to the family – last week I was able to visit my lil sis, her son and his wife, and a brand new baby grand-nephew. It was truly a week of excesses, traveling, graduations, Memorial Day.
I made my Mixed Berry Shortcakes, and indulgence for sure. My nephew (a talented musician) is a vegetarian, and when I got home, I dusted off my old recipe box and pulled out a favorite from the 70’s: This brown rice and vegetable casserole. It is truly a tasty vegetarian meal with wide appeal.
Of course, way back in the ’70’s, I was pretty young, and didn’t really know how to cook very well – and somehow it seemed more acceptable for vegetarians to sacrifice taste for health. Brown food seemed to be the norm, and so many dishes were mushy and dull, dull, dull. I would throw all the ingredients together for this, and although it tasted wonderful, it came out somewhat iffy, perhaps a bit lackluster. I did some tweaking…
Here is a gorgeous, bountiful dish that vegetarians and carnivores alike will eat with relish. An extra step or two and a little care was all this recipe makeover needed to ensure each and every component of this dish shines. This, as a matter of fact, is my “go to” method of cooking brown rice, in the oven, in a tightly covered casserole. No stirring, no scorching, no mush. This recipe may be halved, but the cooking time really remains pretty much the same.
Vibrant Vegetarian Casserole
- 3 cups vegetable broth (may use chicken or beef)
- 1 ½ cups brown rice
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 4 cups cauliflower, broken into florets
- 4 cups broccoli, broken into florets
- 2 bell peppers, 1″ chunks
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup cashews or peanuts
- 1 cup grated cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onion in butter or oil in a large skillet. (If your onion becomes a little dry, add a tablespoon or so of water.) Remove half the onion and set aside – you’ll use it for the vegetable topping.
Add brown rice and stir until the color just begins to change – you’re not looking to brown it, just coat all the grains with the butter.
Add the three cups of broth, soy and thyme, stir together and place in a large casserole. Cover tightly and put in oven. Set your timer for 60 minutes and check the rice – it may take more time, up to about 70 minutes depending on the brand of rice, the shape of your casserole and your oven. You will want it to be still firm but tender.
When your rice has been in the oven for about 40 minutes, prepare your vegetables. Add the olive oil to your skillet, break and cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and add them to the skillet (they take the longest time to become tender) stirring now and then. Once they have just a little browning, do the same with the broccoli and saute for a minute or two longer. Cut the peppers into a bite sized dice and add them, along with the onion.
Add the 1/2 cup water and put a lid on the skillet, and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid – the vegetables should still be slightly crisp, but almost tender, and the water almost gone. (They are going to cook for a few minutes longer, so err on the crisp side.) Add in the garlic and salt and cook for about 2 minutes more. Taste and reseason if you’d like.
When the rice is done, spoon the vegetables and any remaining liquid over the top. Sprinkle with cashews and cheese and return to the oven just until the cheese is melted, about three to five minutes. Watch it carefully at this point – you want it in the oven for the minimum time it takes to just melt the cheese, and you don’t want to dry out your vegetables.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Cal 254, Cal fr fat 39%, 98; tot fat 11g; sat fat 5g; chol 19.56g; sod 874mg; tot carb 30g; fib 4.23g; sug 4g; prot 11g
Put your Own Spin on It:
- You can certainly use almost any vegetable you’d like in this dish.
- Teriyaki is a good substitute for soy for a different flavor.
- You can use oregano instead of thyme.
- Peanuts or Macadamia nuts can be used instead of cashews
- Almost any kind of cheese will work – If you want a gooey, melty cheesy casserole, you can double the amount of cheese – I like to use just enough to entice my teenager into eating the vegetables while still maintaining some healthful aspects to the dish!
My pay off:
A large casserole with leftovers (yeah!) that’s still pretty healthy.