Monday, October 18, 2010

Broccoli Rice Gratin

Sometimes I plan what I’m going make for dinner days in advance. Sometimes I throw together whatever odds and ends I can find in the fridge and call it a meal. Today’s recipe was one of those spur of the moment creations. Not too long ago, I needed a side dish to go with our dinner, and I wanted to try something new. A quick search through the fridge and freezer gave me some cooked brown rice, one head of broccoli, a carton of eggs, and lots of cheese. There was some other stuff too, but I decided to leave out the apple juice, tofu, limes, and other assorted odds and ends. I think that was a smart choice, don’t you?

After a little thinking, I came up with this broccoli rice gratin. The dish is warm and cozy, full of healthy veggies and brown rice. Eggs bind the ingredients together, so you end up with a something kind of like a casserole that can be scooped out with a spoon. The best part, however, is the sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the top, which gives it an irresistible, crackly, cheesey crust.

All in all, this gratin is a winner. As I was eating it, I couldn’t help thinking that it tasted like a healthier version of the cheesey broccoli and rice casseroles I’ve had in the past. Good, healthy food that tastes like it’s bad for you? I’m all about it. Add that to the fact that the leftovers are wonderful, too, and I can pretty much guarantee you that I’ll be making this again and again.

Broccoli Rice Gratin


1 T. olive oil
2 cups broccoli florets, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked rice, white or brown (I used brown rice)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 2 T. Parmesan cheese, divided (I used Parmigiano Reggiano)
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt (or 1/4 tsp. table salt)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 1.5 quart baking dish and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the broccoli, onion, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are softened. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, stir together the rice, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the broccoli mixture, and stir to combine.

Pour the rice mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the gratin is bubbling and the top is light golden brown.

Serves 4.

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