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Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole

This Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole is perfect for a side dish or an easy, delicious vegetarian dinner. This dish is incredibly versatile and appropriate to serve all year round. It’s a perfect side for a protein like ham, steak, lamb, or venison.

Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice in copper pot with stainless spoon

Nutty Wild Rice, Gooey Cheese, Broccoli, and Flavorful Herbs! What’s not to love?

 

Every holiday, this dish makes its way to the table. What can be better than healthy wild rice, fresh herbs, and stretchy cheese?

I love the fact this dish is packed with nutrition as well as tasting heavenly.

It’s not your traditional Southern casserole; it’s been modernized with the use of fresh herbs and melty cheese. No cream of mushroom soup here.

Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice in copper pot with stainless spoon

This cheesy wild rice dish starts on the stovetop.

Let’s talk ingredients.

Nature's Blend Wild Rice package with rice on a checked napkin

Ralston Family Farm’s Nature’s Blend Aromatic Purple, Red and Brown Rice is the only wild rice I’d use for this dish.

The Rice of Choice

There are many wild rice brands on the market, but for me, Ralston’s Nature’s Blend is the best.

The nutty flavor can’t be beat, and the fact that it is sustainably grown in the US and is non-GMO makes it that much better.

You can find it at Kroger, Publix, Fresh Thyme, Harris Teeter, The Fresh Market, and Sprouts.

To bring out even more of the nutty flavor, cook the rice a few minutes before adding the water. I promise this is not a waste of time. Your wild rice casserole will be exponentially better.

For a few other side dishes, check out my Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Pine Nuts, Wild Rice with Pecans, Cranberries, and Scallions, and my Cheesy Squash Casserole

overhead shot of rice, broccoli and cheese casserole with pretty blue floral plate and checked napkin

This casserole is going to be a staple when I entertain, especially for holidays.

The Aromatics

Now for the aromatics. I find that the sweetness of Vidalia onions and carrots pairs beautifully with the thyme. Any sweet onion will work, but I’m partial to Vidalia onions.

You may be tempted to leave out the celery, which is your prerogative, but I suggest that you don’t do that.

The celery adds the flavor of umami — the perfect amount of bitterness and acid to round out the sweetness of the vegetables and nuttiness of the rice.

Cheesy wild rice casserole with broccoli and thyme casserole branches on top

Gruyere is a great cheese of choice, but I loved the Smoked Gouda in this recipe!

The Cheesy Layer of Your Wild Rice Casserole

The cheese makes this dish!

I use white cheddar cheese and Gouda, but I suggest you play around and use what you love. The cheddar gives that pungent, sharp flavor I just can’t get enough of.

Along with the cheddar, I intended to use Gruyere or Swiss but had neither on hand, so I used Gouda.

Talk about serendipity! Gouda resulted in a creamy, luscious texture I never imagined.

Now I’ll never use anything but Gouda for this recipe.

copper pan with an ornate serving spoon and floral napkin

This casserole goes with just about everything. Think steak, venison, chicken, fish, lamb, quail, pheasant…I could go on!

Keep the wild rice covered as you simmer it.

Once it’s nice and hydrated, add the broccoli and cheese. You are going to want to eat it at this point, but hang on: add the remaining cheese and cook it for 20 more minutes in a 425-degree oven. This step is going to bring all the flavors together and thicken the casserole to perfection.

Once you remove it from the oven, it’s time to chow down.

You have used your self control in not eating it before you put it in the oven, and now it’s time for your reward.

You can prepare this casserole ahead and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days before baking.

After cooking, your casserole will be fine for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator as well.

This is perfect for a make-ahead meal and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

How to Freeze your Wild Rice Casserole

To freeze your casserole, allow it to come to room temperature and then wrap the entire casserole in plastic wrap. Wrap again with foil. With an indelible marker, write the dish’s name and the date.

Voila–You will be ready for a holiday or picnic in minutes!

How to Thaw and Rewarm

Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator until completely thawed. Then re-heat in a 350-degrees F. oven for about 30 minutes, or until warmed through.

If you make this dish, please leave a rating! I hope this dish becomes a staple in your home.

Cheesy wild rice casserole with broccoli and thyme casserole branches on top

Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 198 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sweet onion finely diced
  • ½ cup celery finely diced
  • 2 whole carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme plus more for serving
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups wild rice blend I like Ralston’s Nature's Blend
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Gouda cheese shredded
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Add thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the wild rice and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour 5 cups of water in with the rice and vegetables and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Allow the wild rice mixture to cook covered for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  • Once the rice is tender, stir in broccoli, ½ cup of the cheddar cheese, and ½ cup of the Gouda cheese. Check for seasonings and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole.
  • Bake casserole in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 452mgPotassium: 119mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 611IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 230mgIron: 1mg
Keyword broccoli cheese wildrice casserole, rice casserole, wild rice casserole
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

 

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