A delicious rice side dish baked with spinach, ricotta, Swiss or mozzarella, Parmesan and a toasty almond topping.
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan
- ⅓ cup diced onion
- 2 minced cloves garlic
- 4 cups frozen, bagged (not a block) chopped spinach
- salt and pepper
- 1 + ½ cups white rice (or 4 cups cooked - Minute rice is OK)
- 1 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Swiss or Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, just the top yellow part not the white pith
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8x8-inch casserole pan.
- Add the butter to a large frying pan over medium-low heat and cook the onion and garlic about 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the spinach to the pan and cook just until it's thawed out and soft, stirring often. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Remove from the heat and add the rice to the pan, use a fork to mix it with the spinach so it's evenly combined.
- Using a fork gently mix in the Ricotta, Swiss, most of the Parmesan (save about 2 tablespoons for the top) and the lemon zest.
- Season to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Spoon into the pan and spread evenly. Top with the almonds and 2 tablespoon Parmesan.
- Bake 20 - 24 minutes until golden on top and hot in the center.
©Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved
You might think with all that cheese the casserole would be super cheesy or even too cheesy but it’s just the right amount to add flavor and richness while holding it all together.
It comes together easy-peasy. You can use Minute rice for convenience or long-cooking rice if you prefer. You will also need frozen spinach – the bagged type not the one in a block because the bagged one has less water in it.
The spinach is briefly cooked with onion and garlic in a bit of butter and combined with the rice, lemon zest and all the cheeses. The mixture is spooned into a casserole dish and topped with sliced almonds and a smattering of Parmesan cheese to bake.
The almonds and Parmesan form a crispy crust over the spinach rice that is addicting – one of the best parts. The rice is soft and chewy speckled throughout with dark green tidbits of spinach and salty, creamy cheese.
Serve this alongside anything – chicken, turkey, meatloaf, steak, fish and any type of roast.
It will be the star of the meal. Pinky swear.