Keeping things healthy and cozy today with this one pan Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole. Roasted broccoli, fresh herbs, hearty wild rice, and plenty of melty cheese, all together in one casserole. This is equally great as a healthy vegetarian main course or as a side dish for your next holiday roast. Either way you serve it up, cheesy broccoli with rice is always a good combo!
With the holidays here, it can be hard to sneak in vegetables between all the cheese filled appetizers, pasta dishes, and of course, all the holiday cookies. Trust me, I’m the first to admit that once November and December roll around, I go all out with recipes. I firmly believe we should allow ourselves to indulge in all the holiday food…and then go for a hike!
That said, it’s also nice to have balance. In between all the pasta and cookies, some veggies and whole grains are needed too! I know to some this sounds boring, but I promise veggies can be just as delicious. This casserole is proof.
I always cook so much wild rice during the months of November and December. It just feels so cozy to me. It reminds me of being a kid, and mom making her Sunday night rice pilaf that I loved so much. It’s one of those healthy foods that feels extra comforting, and I’m loving incorporating it into more dishes this year.
One of the main requests I get, is for more vegetarian friendly recipes. I know so many of you are looking to cook more veggie heavy dinners. So I thought I’d share this casserole that my family loves so much.
Growing up my dad used to make these rice bakes that consisted solely of rice, broccoli, cheese, and hard boiled eggs. It probably sounds really odd, but those cheesy rice bakes were delicious. They’re also the inspiration behind today’s recipe. I took his base idea and upgraded it a bit. The end result was this casserole.
It’s quick, simple, a little bit retro (because I think all casseroles are kind of retro), healthy but cozy, and delicious. It’s hearty enough to be a full meal, but could also double as a simple veggie filled holiday side dish. Love a two in one kind of recipe!
First things first, I always get a lot of questions about what wild rice brand I use. Personally, I like to use a wild rice blend to get a good mix of texture and flavor. This is my favorite wild rice blend. I’ve been ordering via Amazon…where I do 90% of my shopping…anyone else? But Thrive Market and a few other stores carry it as well.
If wild rice is not easily available to you, I recommend using brown rice, but the cooking time might be a few minutes less as wild rice tends to take a touch longer to cook, so just be aware of that!
Ok. That’s the rice.
Now, cook up the shallots along with some thinly sliced cremini mushrooms, some thyme, and a little dill. Add a few pats of butter, and let the wild rice toast up in the skillet. This step is KEY. Toasting the rice in the butter adds a nice nutty flavor to the rice that’s DELICIOUS. It’s a simple step that takes no time, but makes a big impact in the recipe. Don’t skip.
Pour in some water, cover, and let the rice steam until fluffy. This takes a little bit of time. So…pour or mix-up a holiday cocktail, turn on the Christmas music, and relax a bit while this simmers away.
When the rice is fluffy, stir in the broccoli and a couple handfuls of baby spinach (going heavy on the veggies today!). Then add lots of cheese, and transfer the dish to the oven to finish cooking.
When the casserole comes out, the cheese will be bubbling, the edges will be crisp, and the smells coming from your kitchen will be beyond good. Finish off with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and you’ll have the perfect vegetarian dinner that’s both healthy and comforting. Trust me, I know this might not seem that special, but don’t knock it till you try it.
Every bite is filled with nutty wild rice, crisp broccoli, and delicious Gruyère, because two is always better than one.
Also, if you love broccoli cheddar soup, think of this as the carb heavy, baked version. Just with rice and cheese on top. You might not believe me, but this version may just even be better…
If you make this wild rice casserole be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole
Calories Per Serving: 762 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 cups wild rice blend
- 3 heads broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
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- 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. 2. Heat the olive oil In a large, oven safe skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallots and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme, dill, crushed red pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes or until golden. Add the butter and wild rice, cook 2-3 minutes, until the rice is golden and toasted. Pour in 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, covered for 40-45 minutes.3. Once the rice is cooked, stir in the broccoli, spinach, and 1/2 cup of each cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter the remaining cheese over top the casserole. 4. Transfer to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown. Serve warm with additional thyme.