Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rice, Bean and Many Veggie Gratin--Cathy

This is a great meal for Meatless Monday (or any other time) that even my veggie-challenged husband, Kevin likes.  He even took leftovers to work for lunch the next day of his own free will. Whoa! 

This is a delicious combination of brown rice, wild rice (I tend to make a big batch of these and throw any extra into ziploc bags in the freezer to use when I'm in a hurry. Which seems to be always, I don't know why),  and lots and lots of veggies.

Feel free to use whatever veggies or beans that strike your fancy and that you happen to have around.  This is much easier of course in the summer, when our garden is bursting with gorgeous things that Farmer Kevin is growing organically (and fertilizing with alpaca poop that he gets from his friend, Jim--but that's another story), but also pretty easy even in the winter.

I used vegan cheese in this--which takes a little getting used to, but is not bad once you do--because someone in my family (ahem, Caity) has guilted me into going totally vegan on Meatless Mondays, but you can certainly use regular grated cheese if you like.

what you will need:

  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen, thawed green chickpeas (got these from Whole Foods--pretty and delicious!)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • a few Tbsp. olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped onion
  • Corn, about 1/2 cup or so, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 1-2 cups zucchini, green or yellow, chopped
  • 2 cups or so kale, ribs removed and discarded, chopped
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup or more cheese: to mix in to casserole and also to put on top--add to taste (I use Daiya brand vegan cheese for this; a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella style shreds.  Yes, I know it sounds scary, but it's good when melted, it helps to hold mixture together and it's especially nice on top)
  • Hot sauce for serving, if desired

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees or so.  Hotter if you are in a hurry.  Which, as previously stated, I usually am.  So maybe 375 or even 400 if desperately late.  Lightly grease a ovenproof dish that looks like it might fit all of your ingredients.  If you have some left that won't fit into your dish, make another dish!  This freezes beautifully unbaked to throw in the oven on another day.

In a large bowl, combine the brown rice, wild rice, green chickpeas,  and the black beans (or whatever combination of beans you are using).

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, pour in a few tablespoons of oil.  When oil is good and hot, throw in the chopped onions, and then after a minute or two the peppers and corn and let them all get good and browned--a little scorched in places even--giving it just an occasional stir. 

Add in the zucchini and let it brown and soften up just a bit.  Toss in the chopped kale and let cook, stirring around a little just until it starts to wilt.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the whole thing to the bowl of rice and beans.  Mix it all up gently and taste to adjust seasoning.  Any fresh herbs you'd like to add would be nice, too.

Mix in about 1 cup or so of grated cheese, then turn out into your prepared baking dish(es).  Sprinkle the top with as much cheese as you like, cover lightly with foil, then bake for at least 30-45 minutes (depending on oven temperature and desperation factor), uncovering for last 15 minutes or so until lightly browned at edges and on top.

Wonderful with a dash of your current favorite hot sauce (Secret Aardvark Habanero Hot Sauce from Portland? Or our old standby, Tapatio).  I think this would be great made with all kinds of veggies--butternut squash, mushrooms, spinach, green beans; and all kinds of beans--green edamame, regular soybeans, kidney beans; you get the idea.  All delicious!

One year ago: Panzanella, Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad

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