Is there anyone in this country that doesn’t like a good homemade casserole? If anyone says they don’t, they are lying. Just like if people say they don’t like bacon (blasphemy!).
I present to you: Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole. Um, yum.
This is one of my favorite casseroles- it’s vegetarian, easy to make, and hearty enough to satisfy meat lovers (mushrooms tend to do that, for some reason. And eggplant. Oh no, now I am thinking about eggplant Parmesan… at 8am… yup. Typical Elizabeth. Well, I know what I am making next week!) This casserole has tons of mushrooms and nutty, slightly crunchy wild rice with sour cream and cottage cheese used as a creamy base. It’s excellent comfort food, and 100% real and unprocessed.
Did you know wild rice is not actually rice? It’s a seed from a type of grass! While it takes a while to cook, it can be made far in advance in bulk and refrigerated for about a week or frozen for months in individual portions to use in this casserole or other recipes, like soups or veggie burgers. To freeze, just put the portion in a ziplock bag and squeeze all the air out and seal (Or suck the air out with a straw! It works and is so cool! Unless you accidentally inhale a grain of rice, in which case it is uncomfortable. But tasty.).
Casseroles are such an American staple, but are often made with yucky canned soups. No canned soups here! I’ve also tried casseroles that used “homemade” canned soups- for instance, you can make a relatively easy cream of chicken soup by combining chicken broth, milk, flour, and spices and thickening over the stove (to come in a later post). While this is not that difficult, it is an extra step in the cooking process that requires time and energy. I love this casserole because as long as you have rice already cooked, the only thing you have to do is saute mushrooms and toss with the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, spread in a casserole dish, and add shredded cheese on top.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
I should note that this recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, which is probably my favorite cookbook right now. You may be wary of it from its seemingly health-crazed title (as I would have been had I not been at the bookstore and able to see it in all its glory before purchasing) but please don’t judge this book based on it’s cover. It’s just great basic, vegetarian, all-natural recipes that are simple, delicious, and best of all, hearty. I highly recommend it.
Just be careful… you are going to want to make each and every one of these beautifully photographed dishes!
Weekend prep / freezer directions: Cook the rice and refrigerate or freeze until ready to assemble the casserole. Or, assemble the entire casserole and refrigerate (for a week) or freeze (for up to 6 months) in an airtight container until you are ready to bake.
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 16 oz. mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded gruyere or cheddar
- chopped green onions or chives, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add mushrooms. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir once, and allow to sit until they release the water and it evaporates (about 5 minutes). Stir again and saute until browned (about another 5 minutes).
- Add onion to mushrooms; saute until transparent (about 3 minutes).
- Add garlic to mushrooms; saute for one more minute.
- Turn off heat, add rice to mushrooms and stir.
- Meanwhile, mix together eggs, cottage cheese, and sour cream in a large bowl.
- Add mushroom mixture to cottage cheese mixture, and stir to incorporate.
- Transfer to buttered casserole dish, or if using a cast iron skillet, melt some butter in it and transfer the mixture back to the skillet.
- Cover with foil; cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil, cook until browned on top (about 10 more minutes).
- Pre-cook the rice before assembling this casserole to save time on a weeknight. Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or freeze in portions in ziplock bags (squeeze the air out first) if you want to cook ahead in bulk. Use the portions for this casserole or other recipes, like soup.
- Freezer directions: Assemble the entire casserole and refrigerate (for a week) or freeze (for up to 6 months) in an airtight container until you are ready to bake.