Zucchini and Rice Gratin

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As promised in my Farm to Table post, I am experimenting with a new veggie recipe every chance I get.  I know Stacie is also trying some new things, so can’t wait to see what she’s been up to!  Sometimes I venture out and make up my own things, but most of the time I don’t have time to reinvent the wheel!  So here is one I think you should put on your “to make” list!

Zucchini and Rice Gratin (Vegetarian)

If you are vegan, use your preferred dairy and egg substitutes.  

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced
3 small-medium zucchini or other summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 pounds)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup cooked Arborio rice (cook according to package directions)
1 tablespoon butter or Earth Balance “butter”
1/2 cup fresh arugula
2 eggs, beaten
3 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Cooking spray, or about 2 teaspoons olive oil
Mom tip… do all the chopping, rice cooking, and cheese grating ahead of time so mealtime doesn’t make you a hot moody mess!
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a deep-dish pie pan, a Dutch oven, a cast iron skillet, or any other attractive (or in my case, portable) pan. The pan should hold about 2 quarts.
Heat the coconut oil (stands up better than olive oil to high heat) in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it’s translucent. Add the garlic and stir cook it for just 30 seconds or so, until it begins to smell fragrant. Stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is soft but hasn’t lost its shape, about 5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and thyme. Taste to make sure the veggies are salty enough.
Combine the rice with the butter. Remove the pan with the sauteed vegetables from the heat and stir in the rice.
Stir the eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the cheese, and the arugula into the zucchini mixture and combine well. Pour into the baking dish, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
Spray with cooking spray, or drizzle on the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve this hot, warm or at room temperature.  I loved it with a fresh green and tomato salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar!
zucchiniricegratin

To see the original recipe and much prettier picture of the dish, visit:

tawny