Zucchini Rice Casserole

52 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine May/June 2009

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.

Ingredients 12 servings

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  • 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 , (Neufchâtel)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeños

Preparation

  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
  • 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 information

  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Per serving: 242 calories; 9 g fat(4 g sat); 2 g fiber; 28 g carbohydrates; 12 g protein; 42 mcg folate; 32 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 986 IU vitamin A; 35 mg vitamin C; 167 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 596 mg sodium; 374 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (56% daily value), Vitamin A (20% dv), Calcium (16% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 2
  • Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 high-fat meat

Reviews 52

October 03, 2015
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By: Granny48
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
July 27, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
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.
April 14, 2015
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By: Bakerette87
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
February 10, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
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
January 25, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
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.
August 07, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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!
June 25, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
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
October 30, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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-saut+¬ 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!
October 30, 2013
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By: EatingWell User
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-saut+¬ 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!