Wild Rice Casserole (Broccoli Cheese!)

Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole! It’s broccoli cheese flavor, easy to make, and a healthy spin that’s heavy on whole foods.

Wild rice casserole

Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole that’s cozy and all about whole foods! Why relegate this healthy whole grain only to wild rice soup? There are plenty more ways to serve it, and this one is truly spectacular. It’s broccoli cheese flavor, flecked with savory bits of broccoli, gooey white cheddar, and a creamy easy-to-make filling. While it’s got a vaguely 1970’s vibe, this one is all whole foods and heavy on the plants. (Nope, there’s no cream of mushroom soup!) Ready to get cooking?

Wild rice recipe

What’s in this wild rice casserole?

This broccoli cheese wild rice casserole is all about comfort food! At the same time, Alex and I have tried to keep a healthy spin: it’s got all whole foods, just enough cheese, and no rich roux sauce. Here’s what we’ve got in this vegetarian and gluten-free casserole:

  • Perfect Wild Rice: Here we’ve used our favorite method of cooking this grain, simmered with vegetable broth, onion and celery. It comes out perfectly moist and tender!
  • Broccoli: It’s chopped into small florets and sauteed simply on the stovetop with a few spices. It’s our favorite way to eat it as a side dish: which we stole here for this casserole!
  • Sour Cream: Who wants to dirty another pan to make a cheese sauce? You’ll stir sour cream right into the rice to make it creamy. If you have it on hand, you could also use Creme Fraiche.
  • White Cheddar Cheese: A sharp white cheddar cheese is perfect here. You can use aged cheese to get even more flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Adding shredded Parmesan brings just right right complexity!

Did you know wild rice isn’t really…rice?

Did you know that wild rice is not actually rice? (Mind blown, right?) It’s actually the seed from a native grass that grows in lakes and streams in the Northern US and Canada. But since it looks a lot like rice, wild rice is treated as rice in most cuisines! Wild rice was an important staple to Native Americans in the upper Great Lakes area of the US. I’m from Minnesota originally, so wild rice was part of the heritage and history of where I lived growing up!

Wild rice casserole

Wild rice vs brown rice

Though they’re not truly related, wild rice is often compared to brown rice. They are often served in similar ways, and wild rice is a great substitute for rice (like in a wild rice casserole!). Is wild rice healthier than brown rice? Here’s how they stack up:

  • Wild rice has less calories than brown rice, about 66% less! 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories and 1 cup brown rice has 248 calories. (Source)
  • Wild rice has slightly more protein than brown rice1 cup cooked wild rice has 6.5 grams protein vs 5.5 grams in brown rice. (Source)
  • Both wild and brown rice have the same amount of fiber, about 3 grams per 1 cup cooked.
Wild rice casserole

Make ahead tips!

Wild rice takes about 45 to 55 minutes to cook…which is why Alex and I used to avoid it in our recipes! But we’ve learned it’s absolutely worth the time. To make this wild rice casserole seriously simple to prep, here’s what you can do:

  • Make the wild rice in advance. Make the rice in advance and refrigerate until serving! The day of serving, mix it with the hot broccoli in a bowl, which should reheat it.
  • The day of, make the broccoli while the oven preheats. Saute the broccoli while the oven is preheating, then mix it with the wild rice to reheat it.

How to serve wild rice casserole

This wild rice casserole can be served as a side dish or a vegetarian and gluten-free dinner main dish! What could you serve with it to make it into a meal? Here are some ideas:

Wild Rice casserole

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Wild rice casserole

Wild Rice Casserole (Broccoli Cheese!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.23 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings 1x

Description

Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole! It’s broccoli cheese flavor, easy to make, and a healthy spin that’s heavy on whole foods.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Perfect Wild Rice (with onions and celery)
  • 1 1/2 pounds (2 large heads) broccoli (about 4 cups small florets)
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cup (4 ounces) shredded white cheddar cheese (aged, if you’d like)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the rice: Make the Perfect Wild Rice, making sure it’s very tender and most grains are burst. (Meal prep tip: Make this in advance and refrigerate until serving. The day of serving, reheat it to warm, or mix with the still-warm broccoli in step 2 to reheat it.)
  2. Cook the broccoli: Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into small florets. Thinly slice the green onions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the broccoli florets and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (the broccoli will lightly brown in parts). Stir in the green onion, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until crisp tender but still bright green. Taste and add a few pinches of salt if needed (make the flavor pop!) and fresh ground pepper. Remove to a large bowl. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Mix the casserole filling: When the wild rice is done, drain it and add the additional salt to taste as part of that recipe. Then place it in the bowl with the broccoli. Mix in the sour cream and 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese. Taste and add additional salt if you’d like (we added 1/4 teaspoon more). 
  5. Bake: Pour the filling into a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Wild Rice Casserole

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristin
    January 29, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    How fortuitous that I picked up a package of wild rice this past weekend!

  • Reply
    Lynda
    February 6, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I had some wild rice left over from the Wild Rice Mushroom Soup recipe and decided to give this a try. It was absolutely delicious! I didn’t change a thing except to halve the recipe for the two of us. We loved it.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      February 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      So glad you enjoyed!

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