31 October 2012

Broccoli Rice Bake

It's cold here. Although we didn't get much of the outskirts of Hurricane Sandy, we have been treated to a string of drizzly days with highs in the upper 30s. I think the weather kept many of the trick-or-treaters at home. Also because of the weather, everything on the meal plan for this week is something that warms us, warms the kitchen, or both. Our meal plan looks like this:
Sunday = Vegan Chinese Garlic Sauce
Monday = Lentil Soup
Tuesday = Almost Irish Stew
Wednesday = Broccoli Rice Bake
Thursday = Chili and cornbread muffins
Friday = Pizza
Saturday = foraging for vegan-friendly food in another corner of Indiana

Broccoli rice bake is slightly mis-named, as there is more than just broccoli and rice in the dish. In reality, this is a casserole with broccoli, cauliflower, rice, and creamy goodness. As a good Minnesotan, casseroles hold a special place in my heart. I honestly don't recall my family eating them that frequently (am I crazy, Mom and Dad? Did we eat them all the time?), but casseroles/hotdishes (and "bars" and "salads" made out of jello) are part of Minnesotan cuisine and culture. Lest you think I kid, Senator Al Franken has held "Hot Dish Offs," there's a major political blog called Hot Dish Politics related to Minnesota's biggest newspaper, there's even a Hot Dish Cookbook! There are three beautiful things about a casserole. First, it can include anything you like. Second, it has that creamy mouth-feel of something decadent, even though it doesn't have to be decadent. Third, it warms your kitchen (and soul). Convinced yet?

Broccoli Rice Bake
1 bunch (three med. heads) broccoli, in florets
Sauce ingredients (the giant bag is nutritional yeast)
1/2 large head cauliflower, in florets
1 1/2 c. uncooked brown rice
1/2 c. margarine
1/2 c. all purpose flour
3 1/2 c. hot water
1+ tsp. salt
1 T. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
good dash turmeric (for color, optional)
black pepper to taste
1 c. nutritional yeast

1. Prepare rice as per package (or rice cooker) directions.
2. Steam broccoli and cauliflower. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.
3. Melt margarine in medium pan and whisk in flour until smooth and bubbly to make a roux.
4. Add water to roux, whisking until combined. Add all remaining ingredients, except nutritional yeast. Cook until bubbly and thicker.
5. Add nutritional yeast, whisking to combine.
6. Loosely spread rice in a 9x13 baking dish (or other casserole dish), cover with broccoli and cauliflower, then cover with sauce.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for 2-3 minutes or until brown on top.

Helpful Hints
  • Here's nutritional yeast again, and a lot of it this time. If you missed it before, here's some background. If you are really in to it, I suggest buying in bulk if you can. 
  • Do you have a rice cooker? You should! You can get a really fancy one, but a simple one like this will do almost everything you need for $20. Also, this is another perfect recipe for a saucier!
  • Speaking of rice, there's no reason (at least, I can't think of one) why you can't make the rice ahead of time! Doing so will make this dinner come together much more quickly. 
  • This freezes very well! It's a good thing, too, because this recipe makes a ton. Luckily we had a friend over tonight to help us eat, but normally this will feed Shana and me for dinner and lunch, and we'll still put 2-3 servings in the freezer. 
The post "Broccoli Rice Bake" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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