One of my favorite foodie writers is Heidi Swanson, creator of the blog, 101 Cookbooks. I love her photographs, recipes and writing style. I feel like she and I would be friends…if she knew me. All of Heidi’s recipes are vegetarian, yet filling and full of flavor. In the past, you’ve seen me make her Brussels sprouts and chunky lentil soup, two of my all time favorites. One of my most tattered, well-loved, cookbooks on my shelf is Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.
For the last year, I’ve been following on 101 Cookbooks that Heidi was hard at work on a new cookbook. Of course the moment it hit shelves, I ordered a copy of Super Natural Every Day: Well Loved Recipes from my Natural Foods Kitchen from Amazon. Heidi’s personality and flavors are pervasive throughout the book. The formatting and style is similar to her first cookbook, but she organizes it differently and of course, the recipes are new. Because she cooks vegetarian, Heidi uses a lot of unique grains and flours, which appeals to the gluten-free girl in me. While not everything Heidi makes is GF, it’s easy to navigate around those pages and even the recipes I can’t copy verbatim, I find to be inspirational in my own culinary endeavors.
Last week I had my “Fight Club” over for dinner. This group of girls that I meet with weekly has played a huge role in why I love Atlanta so much. It’s hard to believe that 18 months ago, I didn’t know any of them! Since it was a Ladies’ Dinner, I decided this would be the perfect time to break out Super Natural Every Day. I also knew that I wanted to use the grill and didn’t want to be running back and forth between the kitchen and the back yard. Heidi’s wild rice casserole stuck out to me because all of the prep can be done ahead of time and then it just bakes in the oven, leaving me to do my thing on the grill.
The wild rice casserole involves quite a few steps along the way and some chopping but it’s worth the work. AND, when your guests arrive, you’ll no longer be laboring away, but looking relaxed and ready to sit and chat with friends, not slave over the stove.
This yummy recipe makes rice flavorful and adds depth to a grain that, in its most traditional state, can be so bland. I didn’t change a thing about the recipe and it turned out really well. I might add a little more salt, but other than that, it was delicious. And, even better the next day, and the next day, and the next day, for leftovers! The cottage cheese, sour cream and gruyere cheese complement the rice but also don’t overpower it. You don’t feel like you had a sour cream and cheese casserole with rice, if you know what I mean. While this is a hearty dish, it doesn’t feel ‘wintry.’ In fact it was perfect for a spring night on the porch.
Wild Rice Casserole (from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups cooked wild rice and/or brown rice (I used a combination and I really liked the different textures)
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Preheat oven to 350 with oven rack in top third of oven. Rub a medium to large casserole/baking dish with butter or olive oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard and ½ teaspoon salt.
In a large skillet over high heat, combine the olive oil and a couple pinches of salt. Stir in the mushrooms. Stir them once to coat with olive oil, then let them cook until liquid is released and evaporated, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir every few minutes, until mushrooms are browned. Add the onion and cook until translucent and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat. Add cooked rice to the skillet and mix.
Add the rice mixture to the cottage cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Put entire mixture into your casserole dish. Cover with 2/3 of the cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30 minutes, then remove tin foil. Cook for another 20-30 minutes until cheese looks brown but not burned. Top casserole with remaining cheese and thyme. Serve warm.
Enjoy! What’s your favorite Heidi Swanson recipe?