Sunday, January 22, 2012

Spinach Rice Gratin #Recipe - Gutsy Cooks Club

What did I whip up this week for the Gutsy Cooks Club?

Well, something sure to be a new hit in our house. I chose the Spinach Rice Gratin recipe from 101 Cookbooks. It fit all my criteria: simple, great ingredients (that I had on hand was a bonus!) and relatively healthy.

I love spinach. Even as a kid I would watch Popeye and ask for that dreadful  can of tinned and vinegared spinach. Blech! Now my more mature taste buds look back in horror.

It wasn't till college and cooking for myself that I realized fresh spinach was delightful. I tossed it into stir fry or grabbed a handful for a salad. Currently I love throwing a few cups into my fruit juice smoothie to make my children's favorite, Green Monster.

This rice bake had everything! Cheesy goodness cut by the sharp red onions as the creamy rice and spinach is kicked up with the crunch of toasted nuts. A real treat alongside a baked pork chop, or served alone we ate up every last bite.

The biggest surprise was the tofu. It added to the creamy texture and brought the protein content up. I did change up a few things in my version which is based on the 101 Cookbooks Spinach Rice Gratin recipe.

You Will Need:
1 1/2 c. Brown Rice, cooked
1 c. Wild Rice (I used Trader Joe's Wild Rice Blend), cooked
2 c. finely chopped Baby Spinach leaves
6 oz. firm Tofu, crumbled
1/4 c. chopped Black Olives
1/2 a Red Onion, chopped finely
1/2 c. toasted Almonds, chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 c. Romano Cheese, shredded with a microplane
3 large Eggs
Salt & Pepper to taste

The biggest change I made to the recipe was the addition of a wild rice blend. I love the nutty flavor and added depth of texture from the harder rice and seeds.

This recipe would work well with left over rice, but I made all mine earlier in the day. Just allow time for it to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray your casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Chop and dice all the ingredients. Reserve a handful of nuts, onion, cheese and olives for garnishing the top before serving. Everything else can go into the mixing bowl to combine. Season as you like.

Put into your dish and back for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with remaining toppings before serving.

I loved how pretty this dish was! The green spinach, black olives and red onions really caught my eye. It was a great rice back without being the usual greasy cheese dish.

I will be making this dish again and next time I may even serve it in individual ramekins or share at a potluck party. I may be able to find some spinach converts if I am lucky.

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