Kale and Brown Rice Gratin
Kale and Brown Rice Gratin. My family has loved this one for years. It's a delicious way to add another vegetable to their plate and to convert all of the kale skeptics in your life (we all have a few)! This makes a great holiday side and satisfying main dish for the vegetarians at your table and can easily convert to vegan. This freezes beautifully and reheated leftovers are wonderful anytime of day. I also love using the leftovers (when there is some leftover) to stuff roasted squash, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes. It's always been important to me to feed my family a variety whole foods while keeping things crave worthy. This one can easily be “lightened” up. I regularly uses goat cheddar, but substitute your favorite! This dish does not disappoint!
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Brown Rice and Kale Gratin
Makes one 9”x9” baking pan
2 cups short grain brown rice
Lowfat milk (almond milk subs beautifully)- about 5 cups (plus 1/3 c later)
(I use a rice cooker and add 2 cups rice and milk to the mark as though cooking 3 cups. Be careful not to overfill your rice cooker)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp nutmeg (can be 1/4)
1 Tbs veg stock powder concentrate
1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 lb good quality sharp (or extra sharp) cheddar- shredded/grated (reserve
1/4+ c for topping- you may substitute a vegan option)
1-2 bunches lacinato kale, cleaned, veins removed and chopped
Good olive oil (glug= ~2Tbs)
Squeeze of lemon
1/3 c good bread crumbs (not pre-seasoned)(feel free to substitute a gf option)
Salt and pepper to taste
1- Cook rice with milk, cayenne, nutmeg and mustard.
2- Preheat oven to 350F and brush baking dish with some of the olive oil.
3- When rice is finished (it should be very moist), and still very hot (work quickly), toss in a large bowl, season with s&p and combine with chopped kale (which will wilt), mix in grated cheese (which will melt), a “glug” of olive oil, squeeze of lemon and salt & pepper. If mixture is on the dry side, add an additional 1/4-1/2 cup of the milk you are using.
4- Spread into casserole and distribute (do not press) so as to not let it get too dense. If mixture still seems a little stiff and dry, add a few additional Tbs of milk- pouring it around the edges.
5- Sprinkle remaining cheese in top, followed by bread crumbs.
6- Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes. Or, until top is golden brown and crispy.
Serve as a main dish, or hearty side. Leftovers can easily be reheated or frozen in portions.