Wild Rice Kale Casserole with a Cheddar Cheese Sauce

This Wild Rice Kale Casserole is a decadent dish full of cheddar cheese goodness!  The fresh tomatoes adds a fresh quality and the rice gives it its heartiness.  It is perfect all by itself or accompanied by a side salad and some crusty bread.

Wild Rice Kale Casserole

You can really smell the fall air right now, which has inspired me to make a hearty main dish that is healthy yet comforting at the same time.   This dish satisfies hunger due to the nutrient dense properties of wild rice and kale, and what’s really cool, is that it helps lower sugar cravings as well.  The great thing about this dish is that you can assemble it ahead of time and then bake it just before you are ready to serve.  It may take longer if it was refrigerated.

Wild Rice Kale Casserole

This casserole pairs well with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, White Rioja, White Bordeaux, French Chablis, Pinot Noir, Red Rioja or Merlot.

Wild Rice Kale Casserole Wild Rice Kale Casserole Recipe:

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 Recipe Wild Rice – recipe below
  • 5 Cups Kale – chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onions – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/3 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Flour (or regular)
  • 1 Cups Milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 Cups Half and Half  (you can use all milk if you prefer)
  • 8 oz. (2 1/2 cups) Cheddar Cheese – shredded
  • 1 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes – 7- 8 thick slices
  • 1 Cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese – finely shredded
Wild Rice
  • 1 Cup Wild Rice
  • 2 1/4 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Unsalted Bouillon Cube
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Instructions:

Wild Rice

Make sure you rinse well before you cook to remove any particles.

Bring water, garlic, bouillon and salt to a boil then add the rice, cover and turn the heat to in-between medium-low and low.

Cook between low and medium low for 50 – 60 minutes or until rice has split open.  Every stove cooks differently so if you still have some water left just drain it.

* Unlike other rice it is ok to take the lid off to check if the water is gone, just put the lid back on.   Some people add 3 cups of water then drain after.

Kale

While rice is cooking, wash kale and tear off the main rib by holding the end of the stem and sliding off the leaves then chop into thin strips.  Set aside.

Cheddar Sauce

In a sauté pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic.  Cook until garlic just starts to become golden, then add wine and reduce to a syrup.

Next, add butter to the onions.  Once butter is melted, stir in flour and continue to stir while cooking mixture for about 2 minutes.

Add milk/half and half while whisking constantly, bring liquid to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add cheddar cheese a little at at time, add spices, stir until cheese is completely melted.

Assemble

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Add kale and rice to the cheese sauce, mix well and pour into a 1 1/2 to 2 quarts casserole dish. (taste to make sure if there is enough salt)

Arrange tomatoes slices on top, then top with with parmesan or pecorino cheese.

Bake on middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is melted and juices are bubbling then place on  top rack and broil for 2 – 3 minutes to a nice golden color.

Wild Rice Kale Casserole

Health Benefits:

Kale is low in calories, high in fiber and it is a loaded with antioxidants which helps detox the liver.  It is also an anti-inflammatory with omega-3 fatty acids, which is helpful for arthritis, joint pain and asthma.  Kale has more Iron than beef and more calcium than milk which helps prevents osteoporosis, joint flexibility and helps maintain normal bone health. It is great for cardiovascular support that helps in lowering cholesterol.  It is really high in vitamin A, C, and super high in the powerful antioxidant vitamin K (anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K that may interfere with the drugs.)   More on kale

Wild rice is a good source of fiber therefore it helps with digestion and to lower cholesterol.  It is a complete protein, and has twice as much protein as brown rice.  Wild rice contains all of the essential amino acids, but it’s a bit low in lysine.  It is extremely high in antioxidants so regular consumption protects you from disease and ageing.  A serving of wild rice is lower in calories than other any other rice and provides 15 percent of the recommended daily value of zinc.  It has good sources of essential minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, folate, Vitamin B6, and niacin.

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