Casserole recipes have my heart. Why you ask? They are perfect for any occasion (weeknight, brunch, weekends, holidays, you name it!), easy to assemble and make, and hassle free to serve! And, you can choose to make it as a side dish or a main course!
This casserole recipe is the first one I baked in my brand new Le Creuset casserole dish I bought from Rambles. (It has a beautiful blue color, and sits pretty on the table when served.) The recipe in itself is wholesome as it has the goodness of greens like kale, spinach, broccoli stems, creaminess of white sauce (made from scratch with no trans fat cheese and gluten free flour), and good carbs, fibers and proteins from Nuworld's rice melange. The rice blend used here is a mix of Basmati brown rice, red rice and black sweet rice, yielding that much needed risotto like stickiness for the recipe.
You can choose to customize the recipe based on your choice of greens. You can also use wild rice instead of rice melange.
Black rice was named 'forbidden rice' in ancient China where it was grown in limited quantities and only the royalty were allowed to consume it. It was not too long in the past that this rice got introduced in other countries and gained popularity in super markets. It is also being locally grown in many countries owing to its gluten free and healthy antioxidants qualities.
2 cups of cooked rice melange
1 bunch of kale, leaves torn
1 bunch of baby spinach
1/2 cup of broccoli stems diced (I save them when I cut off broccoli florets)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp flour
2/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Parmesan cheese (or any cheese of your choice)
2 large red onions, Julienne sliced
Salt to taste
Grease the casserole dish and set aside.
Heat a pan or skillet over medium heat and add the torn kale leaves, spinach and broccoli stems. Add about 1/2 cup of water and some salt. Cover and cook until the kale is wilted and broccoli stems are tender.
Once the greens are cooked, take them off the skillet and set them aside.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the sliced onions and let them sizzle and caramelize.
Toss the onions, season with salt and pepper and then continue cooking for 5 minutes without stirring. Then, keep aside half the onions.
Add the butter and let it brown.
Reduce the heat and add garlic, thyme, chili flakes and nutmeg. Mix well and then add the kale, spinach and broccoli stems.
Sprinkle the flour over the mix in the skillet and let it cook for about a minute. Next add the milk and bring it to a boil.
Add the yogurt and stir to combine and form a thick sauce.
Remove the heat and mix in the cooked rice.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour everything from the skillet to the prepared casserole dish, and then add a layer of onions using the ones you kept aside. Then, add grate the cheese and add on top.
Bake the casserole for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese melts!
You can also choose to eat this as a meal in itself or pair it with a piece of your favorite lean meat or tofu and enjoy!