We pack extra vegetables into this cheesy baked rice casserole. Plus we substitute brown rice for white, reduce the cheese by half and swap turkey sausage for pork sausage. If you're bringing it to a potluck, plan to reheat it before serving. Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2009

EatingWell Test Kitchen
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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  • Pour rice into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir hot broth into the rice along with zucchini (and/or squash), bell peppers, onion and salt. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 35 to 45 minutes more.

  • Meanwhile, whisk milk and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add 1 1/2 cups Jack cheese and corn and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

  • When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Jack cheese on top and dollop cream cheese by the teaspoonful over the casserole. Top with jalapenos.

  • Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5; cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. To finish, bake at 375°F until the casserole is hot and the cheese is melted, about 45 minutes.

Tip: To remove corn from the cob: Stand an uncooked ear of corn on its stem end in a shallow bowl and slice the kernels off with a sharp, thin-bladed knife. This technique produces whole kernels that are good for adding to salads and salsas. If you want to use the corn kernels for soups, fritters or puddings, you can add another step to the process. After cutting the kernels off, reverse the knife and, using the dull side, press it down the length of the ear to push out the rest of the corn and its milk.

Nutrition Facts

242 calories; 9.2 g total fat; 4.3 g saturated fat; 32 mg cholesterol; 596 mg sodium. 374 mg potassium; 28.4 g carbohydrates; 2.1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 12.3 g protein; 986 IU vitamin a iu; 35 mg vitamin c; 42 mcg folate; 167 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 54 mg magnesium;

Reviews (55)

Read More Reviews
56 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 36
  • 4 star values: 17
  • 3 star values: 3
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
05/14/2019
I'm the only one who likes the jalapenos so I left them out. Followed recipe and it is delicious. Will put in my regular recipe rotation. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/29/2017
I didn't make any changes. I did cut the cream cheese into small pieces to go farther. It came out perfect. I thought it would be spicy due to the jalapeno peppers but it was not. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/14/2017
My sister made this it was delicious she used carne asada instead of sausage I added homemade salsa in it was fantastic. Looking forward to making my own!! Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
10/03/2015
Really Delicious This recipe is delicious. I made this for my husband and I so I cut the recipe in half. Used cooked chicken sausage and ground it in the blender. Will follow the tip of other cooks and precook the rice on the stove. Will definitely make this again. Pros: Great Taste Cons: Time Read More
Rating: 4 stars
07/27/2015
Such a good meal I agree with the tip to just boil the rice in the chicken broth. It saved a lot of time and the taste was not compromised. I used a little less zucchini and I a little more turkey sausage. Awesome meal. I will definitely make this again. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
04/14/2015
Household favorite I was skeptical of this recipe when I first started making it (over 2 years ago) as I wasn't then a fan of zucchini. This is now a comfort food favorite and gets made multiple times a year. While it does take time to bake the actual active prep/cook time is very low. It is easily changed with different vegetables though I stick to the original recipe unless I forgot something. If you aren't a spice fan simply use regular Jack cheese and leave out the jalapenos. You'll still get a tasty dish. Also many reviews state that they up the amount of meat in this dish. I am a meat-a-saurus but don't add more meat to this. There is plenty with just the recommended amount. Also don't forget that you lose some of the health value by adding more meat. You can always shave calories by leaving off the cream cheese on top. Everyone I've made this for loves it including the husband and little kids. Pros: Easy delicious healthy pretty easily modified Cons: Time consuming Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
02/10/2015
Really delicious!!!!! I changed the Jack cheese for Pecorino cheese and I use white rice and I eliminate the cream cheese at the end. I am looking forward to do it again. Pros: very easy to do Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/25/2015
One change I substitute Field Roast Grain Meat Mexican Chipotle vegetarian sausage instead of the turkey sausage. Not because I'm vegetarian (because I'm not) or because it's a NW company (but that's cool!); it's because the recipe is friggin delicious that way. I tried it as written once and this substitute makes a world of difference...for the better. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
08/07/2014
Tasty! Like another reviewer I just didn't see the point in all that cooking time in the oven for the rice. So I precooked the rice in the chicken broth on the stove. Sauteed the onions and peppers in a little drizzle of olive oil. Prepared the cheese sauce mixture combined all the ingredients in a baking dish topped it with cheese and baked it for about 15-20 minutes. Saves a lot of time and it came out great! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
06/25/2014
Tasty way to clean out the fridge First time making this and it was a hit. I did substitute quinoa for brown rice. I also substituted almond milk but couldn't get sauce to thicken (also used rice flour -- I'm gluten free). I only had one pepper so I added some shaved brussel spouts. Had butcher make some turkey sausage using andouille seasoning. I didn't use all the cheese and forgot the jalepenos:-(. I can definitely see making this again. I like the suggestions on roasting veggies first so they aren't so mushy. Also my quinoa got burnt around edges on the second round of baking --- not sure it was necessary as there wasn't much liquid left anyway. Pros: Lots of veggies Cons: As written too much time Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2013
Easy and delish but unnecessarily long cook time Delish! But the 1-1/2 hours to pre-bake the rice and veggies the is totally unnecessary especially since the veggies are cooking in broth so you don't gain any 'roasted' taste in the oven. Just cook the rice in broth in a saucepan on the stovetop for the usual 20-25 minutes while you pan-saute the veggies in a bit of butter or olive oil to shave an hour off the prep time -- in my opinion this adds more flavor! I also used a full pound of Italian chicken sausage and couldn't find pickled japs so I used a can of chopped fire-roasted green chiles to top. Yummy and filling comfort food! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
10/30/2013
Yummy! But easy to shorten cooking time... This was delicious. But the 1-1/2 hours to pre-cook the rice and veggies is completely unnecessary especially since the veggies are cooking in the broth so you're not gaining any 'roasted' taste by oven-cooking them. Just cook your rice in broth on the stovetop 25 minutes; and meanwhile pan-saute the veggies in a bit of olive oil or butter. Shaves an hour off the cooking time! I also used a full pound of Italian chicken sausage and couldn't find picked japs so I used a can of chopped fire-roasted green chiles instead. Very yummy and filling! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
08/23/2013
This is awesome! Love it the way it is. Change the vegetables and cheese for a different blend. Spinach mushrooms and a white cheese sauce. Never any leftovers. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/18/2013
Could you use quinoa instead of rice?? I'm not a big fan of rice...Wondering if anyone has tried it with quinoa or if you think it would work? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/09/2013
Takes some time but worth it!!! My family LOVED this meal. I have made it twice so far and changed the recipe each time. The first time I made it the store was out of some items so I had to improvise. The second time I tweeked it to our tastes. First time: 1. Replaced turkey sausage with 1lb ground turkey. 2. No jalapenos (I have 2 children under the age of 5) 3. Store out of zucchini/squash Family LOVED it. Second time: 1. Replaced turkey sausage with 1lb ground turkey. 2. No jalapenos (I have 2 children under the age of 5) 3. Used 2 cups pepper jack cheese in the mix alone and then another 1/2 cup on top. 4. Added 2 tbs cream cheese to the mix (not including the dabs on top this was mixed into the milk/pepper jack cheese/flour mix while on the stove). 5. Just left the zucchini/squash out Definitely less healthy but tailored to us. Yum. Next time I might switch it up again. This meal is so flexible tasty and lasts for 2 or more meals (but depends on the size crowd you're feeding). For our family (my husband myself 3 year old and 1 year old) it lasts about 3 meals. Pros: Tastes wonderful Cons: Takes a while to prepare Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/03/2012
Wonderful Flavors Followed the recipe exactly except I cut it in half. I so enjoyed the dish. It had wonderful flavors. I even bought the pickled jalapenos and I am glad that I did. I can't wait for the leftovers. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
09/18/2012
easy comfort food We used reduced fat jalapeno cheddar and spicy chicken sausage. Delicious! This is really filling with lots of leftovers. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
08/24/2012
Delicious! I actually forgot to put the corn in but even without it the dish was AWESOME!!!. Can't wait till tomorrow so I can eat some more. Someone posted this has no taste and to quote my old timer father The person who said it has no taste has no taste. This dish had tons of flavor. And he's old; if he can taste it than you know it has a lot of flavor. I used chicken sausage instead of turkey cut down the cheese to 1 1/2 cups and ofcourse I said I forgot the corn. Other than that followed the directions and everyone's looking forward to leftovers. Pros: Tastes Good and It's Good For You! Cons: Had to make it myself would be Perfect if someone would cook for me. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
08/07/2012
Doesn't have to be time consuming I just made this tonight for dinner and as always paid attention to the previous reviews... Used a premade microwavable brown rice package for rice portion and also used low fat turkey smoked sausage for sausage called for. Cut considerable about of time out of this recipe by doing these 2 things. Followed original requirements for cheese sauce. The outcome was okay. I think that I will add hot sauce for more of a bite when I make again. I just think that it needs to be seasoned more to my taste. Pros: Good way to use up yummy veggies Cons: Needs just a little tweaking Read More
Rating: 4 stars
07/24/2012
Good use of seasonal veggies When reading the recipe I thought The squash is going to be way overcooked/mushy! So I used the method from the previous reviewer (anonymous 7/9/12) with fantastic results! I used what I had on hand: young leeks and sweet banana peppers from a neighbor's garden; yellow squash; colby/jack cheese; and Ballards Smoky Sausage. I didn't have any corn and don't like jalapenos so those were eliminated. I added a little garlic to the cheese sauce. Wonderful! My boyfriend loved it went back for seconds! A nice flexible recipe. Note: Apologies if this review is posted twice had login issues:) Pros: flavor Cons: multiple steps Read More
Rating: 4 stars
07/24/2012
Creamy cheesy good! When initially reading the recipe I thought The squash is going to be way overcooked! so I used the method from the previous reviewer (anonymous 7/9/12) to ensure better veggie texture His/her technique was spot-on! I substituted some fresh young leeks from my neighbor's garden for the onion sweet banana peppers instead of bell Ballard's Smoky Sausage and colby/jack shreds. Eliminated the jalapenos as I am not fond of them. Wonderful smoky/cheesy flavor & texture will definitely make again! A nice flexible recipe that can be adapted to whatever veggies you have on hand/in season. Pros: flavor Read More
Rating: 4 stars
07/09/2012
too mushy- I cooked it differently with better results For better texture veggies in half the time: Add all veggies in 9x13 pan drizzle with olive oil and Italian seasoning roast at 425 degrees for 20 min. While veggies are roasting make 2 cups of Minute Brown Rice according to package directions (I still used chicken broth for liquid). Brown sausage stir rice and sausage together. Make cheese sauce according to original directions. Remove veggies from oven stir in rice/sausage mixture then cheese sauce mixture. Dollop with cream cheese and pop back in the oven ( at 375 degrees) until bubbly- about 5- minutes. Voila! Veggies are crisp-tender and time is cut in half. Pros: Flavor Cons: Texture time Read More
Rating: 3 stars
06/27/2012
A little too much time required for the result Admittedly I chose a sausage dish more for my husband than myself as I'm not a sausage lover. That being said I thought the rest of the ingredients would carry the recipe for me. Unfortunately I didn't feel that was the end result. I did make it without the jalapeno but otherwise as stated using summer squash and found that in addition to not caring for the flavor I was not a fan of the consistency. The rice did give it a little bite but I thought overall it was a bit soft. I did find that the flavor and texture grew on me some the following day when reheated for lunch. Didn't dislike it enough to scrap the entire dish. My husband liked it but didn't love it. I don't see making this again but if I did would include something with crunch like toasted almond slivers. Pros: easy to make lots of veggies Cons: bland disliked consistency Read More
Rating: 3 stars
03/14/2012
Comfort Food We enjoyed this a lot and it's easy to make as long as you remember to allow for the long cooking time. I will make again next time substituting some cooked chicken & mushrooms for the sausage & jalapenos. Also I will make this in two separate pans and freeze one for nights when I don't want to cook. A keeper! Pros: Satisfying Cons: Take a long time to bake so plan ahead Read More
Rating: 4 stars
02/25/2012
Really tasty casserole Like many others I really wasn't sure this would taste good based on the ingredients but based on the reviews I took a leap of faith and boy did it pay off! This casserole is really tasty and hardy. It fills me up but knowing that it's chock full of vegetables makes it all ok. I used a flavored turkey sausage and coconut milk (by So Delicious) brown rice and Monterey Jack cheese and it came out really wonderful. My only complaint is that I don't really use the rest of the jalapenos but it's worth it to buy the whole can as the flavor really does add to the dish. Also I halved the recipe and it came out perfectly. I really recommend this recipe to anyone who is looking for a healthy tasty filling dish. Pros: Hearty tasty easy to make. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/26/2012
Creamy comfort food I cannot believe this recipe is under 300 calories per serving. It's as satisfying as mac and cheese. The only thing I changed was I used 2 lbs of yellow squash instead of 1 lb and it turned out great. (And 10 oz hot turkey sausage instead of 8 because it = 3 links). Honestly it really doesn't even need the sausage or the cream cheese. Next time I might add a can of tomatoes. It did take a while to bake but it wasn't difficult AT ALL and it was worth it. I was worried the rice wouldn't cook but it was tender. Pros: Satisfying easy Cons: Long cooking time Read More
Rating: 4 stars
01/05/2012
Hearty and tasty! I made this after a long day of work and even though it took a while it was not hard to make! It turned out delicious. My family loved it and it's great for lunch leftovers too! Pros: Filling healthy a mixture of favors Cons: Takes a long time to prepare Read More
Rating: 5 stars
12/11/2011
Everyone Loved this recipe! This was a hit with dinner guests and family. It is a recipe you can make as spicey as you'd like or tone it down for those who do not like it extra hot. While it takes a little time to prepare it is worth the rave reviews it gets! A great change from cheesy potatoes and much healthier. Great recipe! Pros: Spicey hearty healthy Cons: It takes some time! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
11/02/2011
Yum My 5 year old just yelled mom! I love this!. I left off the onions & jalapenos & Used boil in a bag rice which cut down the time. This recipe is delicious. Will be making this every week! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/31/2011
I made this for my family last night! Even my picky toddlers ate it up! I only put jalapenos on half of the casserole. Considering this is under the Kids section of this website I was a bit surprised it called for jalapenos and pepper jack as it was pretty spicy! Perfect for my husband though who loves things hot. The only downfall to this recipe is that it is very time consuming. You have to set aside a couple hours for this meal and with little ones this doesn't always work. I will make this again but it will have to be planned out way ahead of time. Overall delicious though! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Wonderful. My 21 month son asked for more and did not want to stop eating. I was surprised because of the amount of yellow squash and zucchini I used but he LOVED it. I did omit the jalepenos but I think he would have ate it with them since he likes spicy. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Time consuming but delicious! A bit too spicy for my 18 month old with the pepper jack and jalapenos. Plan on making it again with a more mellow cheese. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
this will become a staple at our house. it was SOOO good! and it doesnt even taste healthy. its really hard to believe that this dish only has 110 cals per serving. my bf was very surprised that he was eating zucchini. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
a very tasty dish even my picky 6 year old enjoyed it Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Time consuming but totally worth it! Amazing dish will continue to make again and again!! Everyone loved it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
It was pretty good not great. Not sure if I'll make again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I love this recipe though I make some modifications. I don't bother with the jalapenos. Instead of trying to cook the rice in the oven -- which never works out for me. I cook it in a big dutch oven with the squash onions and bell peppers. I just let it simmer away then combine with cheese sauce and sausage top with cheeses and put in over to melt and heat through. I use spicy turkey breakfast sausage which makes a difference. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Very good recipe! My husband loves this and he is very critical since he is a great cook himself. It is time consuming because you are cutting up a lot of veggies...just give your self plenty of time or cut veggies a day or so in advance. I also omit the jalapenos for my kids and its still good. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
My husband and I thought this turned out great but I made some big modifications. My DH can't handle spicy foods or foods hard to digest. So I only used one red bell pepper and no corn. Instead I diced one and half carrots and added that at the same time as the other vegetables. Also instead of using pepper jack I used a reduced-fat Mexican blend. That reduced the calories and fat content which was nice as well as using non-fat milk. I didn't put any jalapenos. Finally I didn't have any turkey-sausage so I used ground turkey with some Italian seasoning mixed in. The dish still had a lot of favor. We added pepper as we ate but with both enjoyed it and it will be great leftovers for lunch this week. Served with homemade whole wheat bread. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
This was really delicious! We made some modifications though. We used the 90 second ready rice to cut down on some time and found we had to cut down on the fluid content too. We opted for chopped instead of diced onion which we also decreased. We added a little more salt and used vegetable broth. We left out the sausage to make it veggie friendly and we left out the Jalapenos. It was great! BTW we're happy to have found the Neufch ótel... we're definitely going to switch! 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 4 cups diced zucchini and/or summer squash (about 1 pound) 2 red or green bell peppers chopped 1 large onion diced 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese divided 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 8 ounces turkey sausage casings removed 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufch ótel) 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
Made it for dinner last night with zuchinni from the garden. Did not have pepper jack so used sharp chedder and a cooked jalpeno mango sausage instead of turker sausage cause that is what was in the fridge. Yummy Leftovers for lunch today! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
It was tasty but too much for two people we might have left overs for days:) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/30/2011
I made this to bring to a party and it got rave reviews from my friends I added some fresh broccoli at the end and it was delicious. I did make a few changes: I made it vegetarian by using vegetable stock and soy-rizo (soy chorizo flavor sausage) and made it a little spicier by using fresh jalepenos instead of pickled and mixed some Habanero cheddar in with the jack. Delish! The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars was that it does take a long time to bake the rice and assemble the dish- so for a hot summer day it was too much oven time. But may try it again on a cold day! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
This recipe has become a staple at our house. I make several casseroles at once and freeze before the baking step. Then in the winter we defrost in the fridge overnight and bake the next day. We love it! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
My husband who dislikes casseroles LOVED this. He at 3/4 of the pan himself!:) Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I LOVED it! I will definitely be making it again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Delicious!!! I put the rice broth and veggies in the slow cooker on low for 3 hours then switched to high for another hour or so to soak up the rest of the liquid. I mixed in the cheese mixture and sausage then transferred to a casserole dish toped with cheeses (I left out the jalapenos) covered and refrigerated and baked it the next day at 375. It turned out perfectly. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
I thought this was delicious. Since I didn't feel like shredding the pepper-jack I used a pre-shredded Cheddar and Pepper Jack mix. I used the spicy turkey sausage. I left the jalapenos on top rather large for easy removal if they are too spicy for some. I made this for a work potluck and got many compliments. It was a bit time consuming though. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
LOVED it!!! Yes it takes a lot of time to do but as long as you know that you have to prepare for it taking a little longer than a normal recipe then its no problem! I am 26 and my cooking expertise is making a grilled cheese and I was still able to make the dish! I used instant brown rice and only cooked it for 20 min the first time also I cut down the liquid to about 2.5 cups. Instead of using corn I used aspargus. I liked the lil kick this recipe had but I think i would add more jalpenos next time! This is def worth trying and I completely recommend this dish! Also fantastic way of getting veggies! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
zucchini rice casserole I didn't change anything and loved it. Next time I will divide it in half and cook one and save the other as directed. This will serve a lot of people. Pros: Time not that bad. Once you get the rice and veggies in the oven there is plenty of time to make the cheese sauce and cook the sausage. I had to cook the rice for an hour. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Love It I've made this three times already. We love it and it's very easy to make. Chop a few vegies brown some sausage and add some rice. Yummm Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
With fresh squash in season it is nice to fix it different ways. This can be a very versitle dish with melon or spinish salad as a main dish or it could be a side dish. It would be a welcomed guest at any potluck dinner or the new star at the holidays. Use your imagination and see what happens. Pros: It can be modified to be vegetarian without loosing its great taste. Cons: None Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Simple Hearty and Delicious My family found this casserole to be exactly that a casserole. When eating healthy we sometimes have to bury old favorites- or more the feeling that food gave us but this dish is the perfect blend of comfort and health. I used "Hot" turkey sausage and would probably skip the jalapenos next time but I can't wait to play around with other versions- black beans with a taco hint... Pros: Hearty Comfort-food type dish Cons: Take a while to make Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
Loved it! I have to admit when I was making this I thought there would be no way this could taste good together. Boy was I wrong! It was excellent and a great way to get rid of my overload of zucchini from the garden. Yes it was a little time consuming but nothing too crazy. We will be having this again for sure! Pros: Tastes great feels like you're cheating Cons: a little time consuming Read More
Rating: 5 stars
10/29/2011
What a success! I made the zucchini rice casserole for a Sunday lunch with friends and it was an enormous success! My friends and I loved everything about it. I threw in an extra fresh jalapeno with the rest of the veggies some crushed red pepper in with the chicken stock as it was heating and used brown jasmine rice instead of plain brown rice. It was kicky hearty and delicious! Thanks for making me look so good EatingWell!:) Pros: one-dish lots of veggies Read More