Although it may seem like all I eat is king cake, citrus pie, and bourbon-pecan bread pudding, I definitely take care to eat lots of foods that are good for me too—often much to Doug’s chagrin. (While he’ll eat vegetables, he’s very much a meat and potatoes man.)
I recently picked up Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, and it’s chock full of fabulous vegetarian and whole-grain recipes that are simple enough for everyday. In the past few days alone I’ve made several of her healthful recipes, including her whole-wheat yogurt biscuits (spiced up with cheddar cheese and jalapeno, and doused with goetta gravy for Sunday brunch), Weeknight Curry (a Thai red coconut curry loaded with vegetables and tofu, perfect for my vegetarian personal chef client), and this beautiful Wild Rice Casserole.
With everyone in my immediate family focused on losing weight (my sister’s wedding is in September), eating filling and nutritious foods is No. 1 priority. This simple and hearty Wild Rice Casserole was a perfect side dish for our girlie Oscar party, but it would also be great served as a main course at a vegetarian feast. As often happens in vegetarian cuisine, mushrooms stand in for the protein, and here they provide a wonderfully savory umami flavor. Cottage cheese, eggs, and sour cream are combined to create a luscious base for this rice casserole, and fresh herbs give it beautiful color and a pop of bright flavor.
While the pictures below don’t show the fresh herbs being added into the casserole before it cooks, I highly suggest you throw in a few tablespoons of your favorite herb to give the casserole even more depth of flavor. I’ve included this suggestion in the adapted recipe below. Happy Super Natural Cooking!
Wild Rice Casserole
This recipe is adapted slightly from the one that appears in Heidi Swanson’s fabulous cookbook, Super Natural Everyday. I loved the original recipe, but after tasting it I thought it needed some additional fresh herbs to really make the flavors pop. I used half wild rice and half brown rice, as Heidi suggested, to achieve the best flavor and texture. The brown rice provides creaminess, while the wild rice brings flavor and texture to the dish. Click here to download a printable PDF copy of this recipe.
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) cottage cheese
½ cup (4 ounces) sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon-style or whole grain mustard
Fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
8 ounces (1 box) cremini mushrooms, chopped
1½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp. dry thyme)
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups cooked wild rice (or 1½ c. wild rice & 1½ c. brown rice) at room temperature
1/3 cup (0.5 oz) freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of butter or olive oil. (I used a 9 x 13-inch dish.)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard, parsley and ½ teaspoon salt.
3. In a large skillet over high heat, combine the olive oil with a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the mushrooms. After the initial stirring, leave the mushrooms alone until they release their water and the water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh thyme, and continue to cook and stir every couple of minutes until the mushrooms are browned.
4. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, another 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute, and remove from the heat. Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
7. The finished casserole should be hot throughout and golden along the edges. Serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon or thyme and the remaining grated cheese.