I like to keep things pretty simple when it comes to cooking. A small handful of basic ingredients that I already have on hand. Minimal time in the kitchen. Not too many steps. Quick and easy are my selling points when it comes to meal prep.
This might stem from the fact that I’m usually only cooking for myself and it’s hard to find the motivation to whip up anything fancy when I know that I’ll be the only one eating it. Or it might simply be that I have pretty simple tastes. I mean, you’re looking at a girl who’s idea of a perfect bowl of spaghetti involves nothing more than plain buttered noodles buried under heaps of parmesan cheese. No meatballs, no sauce — just give me noodles and cheese. Clearly I’m not that difficult to please.
That being said, I can still appreciate a more complex meal, and I don’t even mind whipping one up for special occasions… especially since I know not everyone shares my affinity for simple foods. I mean, as much as I’d love to show up to a party or potluck with a big bowl of noodles and a jar of freshly grated parmesan cheese (only the best!) in tow, I’m not foolish enough to think that my efforts (or lack thereof) would be appreciated by the majority of people and their more sophisticated tastebuds.
So I stress and I fret and I dream up fantastical concoctions and flavour combinations. Like the ones in this wild rice casserole.
Let me just start by saying that wild rice is a pretty darn interesting mouthful all on its own. It has a really chewy and hearty texture, with a taste that falls somewhere in between a starch and a vegetable. That’s because wild rice isn’t actually a true rice at all — it’s a type of grass seed which is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than traditional rice. It also boasts more vitamin A, folic acid, and omega-3s. Not too shabby, eh?
Now pair that with spinach, shitake mushrooms, dried cranberries, caramelized onions, and gruyere cheese, and you’ve got yourself one heck of an impressive dish that will get you invited to all the parties.
I will say that this casserole dish takes a little more prep work than I’m used to, but I have a feeling it’s pretty standard as far as most people would be concerned. Remember how I said I like to keep things pretty simple? My idea of simple is tossing whatever I can find into a bowl in under 10 minutes and calling it dinner… even if that means I sometimes end up eating instant oatmeal or a bowl of cereal. Just being honest!
But this dish… this dish is more than worth the extra effort, especially since it makes enough for leftovers! And the whole process isn’t complicated at all, leaving you with nothing more than a single skillet that needs to be cleaned up. So whether you need an impressive party dish or a delicious and comforting meal for your family, I definitely recommend giving this casserole a go!
Spinach and Mushroom Wild Rice Casserole
- ½ lb. fresh spinach
- 1 large bunch of kale
- 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
- ½ lb. shitake mushrooms,sliced
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cup veggie broth
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
- 4 cups cooked wild rice
- 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
- 2 sweet onions, sliced into rings
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1½ cup gruyere cheese, shredded
- Cook wild rice according to package instructions.
- Grease a 2.5 quart casserole dish with cooking oil and set aside.
- Place spinach and kale in a steamer set over boiling water, cover, and steam until just wilted, about 2 minutes.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. When the oil becomes hot, add mushrooms in a single layer and allow them to cook, untouched, until the bottoms have become caramelized, about 3 minutes. Stir them once and allow them to cook for an additional 5 minutes before adding butter, garlic, and spices. Finally, add the spinach and kale, stirring to ensure that everything is well combined.
- In a small saucepan, combine veggie broth and coconut milk. Scoop out approximately 1 cup of the liquid mixture into a small cup before placing the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat and bringing to a boil. Add flour to the reserved cup of liquid, stirring vigorously until smooth. Pour the flour mixture into the saucepan, stirring until thick and creamy.
- Pour the sauce over the spinach, kale, and mushroom mixture, and stir to combine. Add the cooked wild rice and dried cranberries, stir, and transfer to prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Add olive oil to your skillet and set it over medium heat. When the oil becomes hot, add sliced onions and salt and pepper, stirring constantly until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- Add onions to the casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve warm.
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