• Heritage Recipe: Spinach Rice Casserole {vegetarian, gluten-free}

    by Dorothy Reinhold on March 14, 2015

    Print This Post Print This Post Spinach Rice Casserole | Heritage recipe for Spinach Rice Cheese vegetarian casserole | ShockinglyDelicious.com

    I often marvel at the culinary experiences my children take for granted — sushi, capers and smoked salmon on their bagels, Hatch chiles in their tamales, pad Thai when we go out to the neighborhood Thai restaurant. It’s all a wonderful global cornucopia, and these incredible delicacies are part of their everyday lives.

    Lattes with vanilla syrup? Dinner at an authentic Basque restaurant with pickled tongue? Ho hum.

    I grew up in far, far simpler food times. I can tell you when the first fast-food restaurant came to our town — 1973ish, those golden arches, a new idea to us — and it was a fact of life in a family of 6 that eating out was a very rare event. Four rambunctious children were no treat in a restaurant, not to mention the cost of the meal.

    So we relished being invited to dinner to my great aunt’s house in a nearby city. She and my great uncle had no children of their own and were a bit proper by our thinking, so I imagine we were a great big noisy bunch to them, running in and out of the back door, nosing around to see what was in the candy bowl (we fought to be the first in the house to get there), getting in spats with each other (some resolved with fists, back in the day).

    My mother tells a great story about my brothers and I at their house one day when I was playing with paper dolls, coloring their dresses or something, and one of my brothers sidled over to give me grief and tease me. I dispatched him quickly with a swift punch, leaving my great aunt agape at the entire exchange. Apparently I had (1.) experienced, and (2.) solved the problem, in under 15 seconds, before she even could form her thoughts. The merits of being a middle child.

    And when we finally sat down to dinner at her table, with the good china and the nice silverware, what exotic things confronted us! These were recipes my mother didn’t cook, so by dint of that alone we thought they were quite unusual. My mother was a gifted home cook, so we never lacked for a great meal at my house, but oh, how interesting to taste someone else’s food!

    Four dishes remain lodged in my memory from my aunt’s kitchen.

    First, her Christmas coconut candies dipped in chocolate. When we learned they had paraffin to help the chocolate set up, we dubbed them “wax balls.” Weren’t we delightful?

    Second, her pink divinity. It was so sweet, so airy, so otherworldly…how did she make it? It was nothing like the sweets my mother made. We made fun of it (of course!) and then fought over the last piece.

    Third, a divine lemon pudding dessert with sponge cookies and coconut. We called it Lemon Ladyfingers, and I really should attempt to recreate it. Spinach Rice Casserole | Heritage recipe for Spinach Rice Cheese vegetarian casserole | ShockinglyDelicious.comAnd fourth, her Spinach Rice Casserole. There is nothing unique about it, other than the fact we all loved it so much my mother asked for the recipe and made it many more times for us. Cooked rice, a block of frozen spinach, some shredded cheese and eggs — this was easy, everyday stuff that emerged as much more than the simple sum of its parts.

    By today’s standards, it is a quiet dish. Perhaps we need a bit more quiet in our lives these days?

    Today I bring you Spinach Rice Casserole. Thank you, Aunt Rosita, for your hospitality, the memories, and the recipe.

    Priceless, all of them. Ingredients for Spinach Rice Casserole on ShockinglyDelicious.com Spinach Rice Casserole ready to bake on ShockinglyDelicious.com Spinach Rice Casserole baked and done on ShockinglyDelicious.com 

    Spinach Rice Casserole

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 45 minutes

    Total Time: 1 hour

    Yield: Serves 6.

    Heritage recipe: Simple casserole with spinach, rice and cheese is much more than the sum of its parts. Serve with a salad.


    • 3 cups cooked rice {She used white, I use brown}
    • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion {I use 1/4 cup chopped shallot or onion}
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt {I used seasoned salt}
    • 3/4 pound grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I used 10 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar}
    • 1 cup milk
    • 4 eggs


    1. Heat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly mist a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
    2. In a large bowl, add cooked rice, spinach, butter, onion, salt and cheese. In a 4-cup measure, pour milk and add eggs. Whisk to combine. Pour into the bowl with rice-spinach mixture and stir well to combine.
    3. Pour into prepared casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.
    4. Remove from oven and serve.
    5. Serves 6.


    Note: In my notes at the bottom of the recipe, I have written "garlic," "cayenne," "other herbs." While my great aunt didn't use these, over the years I have added this and that, to bring it up to today's desire for bigger flavors. The original is a quieter dish. Recipe source: Rosita Renaldo

    Gallo Family Vineyard Chardonnay and Merlot

    This week our #SundaySupper blogger crew is celebrating Meals with Meaning, sponsored by Gallo Family Vineyards. Sometimes, the best recipes come from a place in the heart, right?

    I’m suggesting you pair this casserole with Gallo Family Vineyards Chardonnay, a medium-bodied white with some hints of citrus, vanilla and a bit of oak. If you are more of a red drinker, try their Merlot, also medium-bodied but velvety smooth and approachable, with black cherry and plum. It pairs well with lots of food. You can find them in your grocery store (or use their store locator here).

    Today’s Sunday Supper recipes

    Meanwhile, check out our collection of 20 recipes we have lined up for you today from the Sunday Supper cooks, and our wine suggestions for each of them. If you don’t want Spinach Rice Casserole, choose something else from the menu below that’s going to make memories for you and your family.

    Savory Recipes:

    Sweet Recipes:

    Join us around the family table for #SundaySupper 

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    GFV 2015 LogoDisclosure: Compensation was provided by Gallo Family Vineyards via Sunday Supper, LLC. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Gallo Family Vineyards. Gallo would love it if you connected with them on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube. I enjoy chatting with them on their social media about wine pairings with my recipes; they’re good with an answer if you are waffling.

    Spinach Rice Casserole heritage recipe on ShockinglyDelicious.com



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