Delicious broccoli-rice bake.

My recent experimentation with whole grains meant that I had some cooked grains leftover after making several recipes—specifically, my chicken, wild rice and orzo salad and my farro salad with butternut squash.

See, here’s one of the great things about these grains: You can cook up a big batch any time (cooking times vary between 15 and 45 minutes, give or take), and stash any unused portion in the freezer, easy-peasy.

Finding myself with odd quantities of orzo, wild rice and farro, I wanted to come up with a way to use all of them together, preferably in a dish that was as hearty and delicious as the other grain recipes I’ve been playing with. I turned to Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day for inspiration and found her recipe for a savory casserole with mushrooms and brown rice. I swapped the mushrooms for fresh broccoli and made several other substitutions, generally following Heidi’s proportions of liquid ingredients.

The result? Healthy comfort food: cheesy, savory, delicious.

{Edit: One of my readers graciously researched and shared nutrition info for this broccoli-rice bake. It is, indeed, healthy: 225 calories per serving (when made with non-fat Greek yogurt and 2% cottage cheese), with 5.9g total fat and 14.3g protein. It’s also packed with nutrients, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, the Vitamin Bs, folate and manganese.}

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 ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
2/3 cup shredded 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.

26 thoughts on “Delicious broccoli-rice bake.

  1. This looks delicious. Could you tell me how many calories are in each serving?

    • Hi, Jennifer — you could substitute cottage cheese very easily in this broccoli rice casserole recipe. Or just use 3/4 cup of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

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    • Instead of preparing this recipe as a casserole, you could cook the rice and the vegetables as directed above, and combine them as a rice-and-veggie side dish. Skip the dairy and egg and the final step of baking.

  3. I thought I was the only one who preferred the vegetable recipes and meatless meal recipes to the recipes for sweets so it’s nice to see that I have lots of company! I’m looking forward to trying this one. We are omnivores but I try to have at least two meatless meals a week so I’m always searching for good meatless meal recipes.

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  6. Will leaving the garlic out affect the overall quality of this dish in any way?

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    • Hi, Danielle — thanks for the question about the broccoli rice bake recipe. The rice and broccoli are both cooked prior to combining with the other ingredients, if that’s what you’re asking. And then you finish the casserole in the oven.

  8. I made this delicious casserole using fage 0% greek yogurt and 2% cottage cheese .and 2/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, I also put the ingredients into spark to get nutritional information which I have posted below :
    Nutrition Facts

    4 Servings

    Amount Per Serving

    Calories 226.5

    Total Fat 5.9 g

    Saturated Fat 2.8 g

    Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g

    Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 g

    Cholesterol 69.6 mg

    Sodium 591.9 mg

    Potassium 277.2 mg

    Total Carbohydrate 29.6 g

    Dietary Fiber 4.2 g

    Sugars 2.6 g

    Protein 14.3 g

    Vitamin A 29.3 %

    Vitamin B-12 3.4 %

    Vitamin B-6 15.2 %

    Vitamin C 75.9 %

    Vitamin D 0.0 %

    Vitamin E 7.0 %

    Calcium 8.3 %

    Copper 7.6 %

    Folate 20.8 %

    Iron 7.5 %

    Magnesium 14.7 %

    Manganese 52.5 %

    Niacin 9.6 %

    Pantothenic Acid 7.8 %

    Phosphorus 17.2 %

    Riboflavin 9.7 %

    Selenium 19.3 %

    Thiamin 9.8 %

    Zinc 7.0 %

    *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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  12. Just cooked this wonderful recipe – everyone loved it, including my 5 year old who initially said “I’m never going to eat that!” and then after tasting it asked for a 2nd and a 3rd helping. I used shredded mozzarella with some grated pecorino. Also used cottage cheese instead of the ricotta.