Most popular: Delicious broccoli-brown rice bake.

Thanks to the easy administrative tools that WordPress makes available to those of us who use its platform to create blogs and websites, I can see where visitors to my recipe website come from. (Don’t worry: I’m not going all NSA on you here.)

And I can see which of my recipes is most popular. You might think it’d be my favorite recipe for chocolate chip bar cookies. Or my recipe for easy one-bowl chocolate cake. Or something else that’s sweet and chocolatey. Not so.

The post that attracts the most eyeballs here on writes4food is this: a healthy, low-fat recipe for a hearty, comforting casserole made with whole grain brown rice, broccoli and low-fat cheeses. While many newcomers to this site discover the recipe from a link on SparkPeople.com, it may be harder for the rest of you to find. This broccoli-brown rice bake fits the mode of cooking I think most of us are in these days, so I thought I’d repost it today.

broccoli-rice bake

(serves 4)

2 cups total of any of the following: cooked wild, white or brown rice; farro or barley; orzo pasta
1 head of broccoli, tender stems and florets chopped into roughly 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 cup part-skim or low-fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2/3 cup shredded lower-fat cheese of your choice
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray a 1.5-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large lidded sauté pan, warm a generous Tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add onion and stir to coat with oil; reduce heat to medium and sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chopped broccoli stems and florets (if the pan seems to need a bit more oil, go ahead and add some), raise the heat to medium-high and stir-fry the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes, until it just begins to brown slightly. Add 2 Tbsp. of water to the pan and quickly cover; steam the broccoli until it's just tender, about 2 minutes. Taste the vegetables and add seasoned salt (I like Jane's) and pepper to taste.

In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, yogurt and egg until well combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked rice or orzo, cooked vegetables and basil.  Add ricotta mixture and and 1/2 of the cheese, and stir gently to combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish; top with remaining cheese, then cover the pan with a piece of foil that you've spritzed with a little baking spray. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake 20 more minutes, until the cheese begins to brown in spots.

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