Sweet Potato and Kale Brown Rice Casserole

Let’s talk a mid-week, cheesy, pick-me-up casserole, shall we?

Because I don’t know about by you, but here in central NC it’s been rainy and chilly and all I want to do is curl up on the couch with tea and do absolutely nothing. Zip. Nadda. Zero.

Comforting sweet potato and kale brown rice casserole! Made with greek yogurt and some cheese, it’s a lighter casserole with no cream of anything soup!

That little thing called productivity? Ha! It’s such a fight whenever weather like this settles in for a few days. ESPECIALLY during the holiday season. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch Christmas movies all day long??? <— The struggle is real.

But, the thought of eating this sweet potato and kale brown rice casserole? I will say, it totally motivates me to get my butt off the couch and into the kitchen to cook! Ahhhh the power of sweet potatoes!

And! There are no cans of cream of anything involved. Just real foods. Some brown rice, some broth, a bit of cheese! Plus, of course, the aforementioned sweet potatoes and kale.

And to keep it nice and moist and slightly creamy? Greek yogurt! There’s not a strong yogurt-y taste in the final dish, it more just works its magic and helps keep the casserole from drying out while baking.

Make it for the holidays! Make it for a regular meal! Or make it to force yourself to back away from the Christmas movies! Well, just temporarily. Let’s be real.

Comforting sweet potato and kale brown rice casserole! Made with greek yogurt and some cheese, it’s a lighter casserole with no cream of anything soup!

So, let’s get to a few tips & tricks for the recipe.

  1. This dish is gluten free except for the one tablespoon of breadcrumbs (which add just a touch of crunch to the top of the casserole). Either replace with gluten free breadcrumbs or just leave off!
  2. You do not need to bake this casserole for very long – it’s just to heat everything through and melt the cheese. So be sure to stick to the 11 to 13 minutes! Otherwise you run the risk of drying the casserole out! And no one wants that.
  3. To cut down on the recipe time, you can absolutely make the rice in advance. HOWEVER. Be sure to warm it back up before mixing together with the other ingredients (otherwise it will take too long in the oven to heat up and the casserole will dry out – see #2 above!).
  4. I think this dish could also be great with a wild rice blend! If you go this route, follow the package instructions for cooking as it may vary a bit.
  5. While I created this recipe more as a side dish (you know, for the holidays), I think it could work as a main dish as well. I haven’t tried it myself but I think some beans or even cooked chicken could easily be mixed in to add a bit of extra protein.

And now, it’s time to get back to those Christmas movies. I think I have a problem.

Comforting sweet potato and kale brown rice casserole! Made with greek yogurt and some cheese, it’s a lighter casserole with no cream of anything soup!

Yield: about 6 servings, as a side

Sweet Potato and Kale Brown Rice Casserole

Prep Time:18 minutes

Cook Time:52 minutes

Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes

Comforting sweet potato and kale brown rice casserole! Made with greek yogurt and some cheese, it’s a lighter casserole with no cream of anything soup!

Ingredients:

For the rice:

  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

For the casserole:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, cut into ½ inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale (about 8 to 9 ounces), stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup plain greek yogurt (whole or 2%)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat breadcrumbs

Directions:

For the rice:

  1. Add the rice and broth to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, turn down the heat and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes untouched. Fluff the rice with a fork and add to a large bowl (you should have approximately 3 cups).

For the casserole:

  1. While the rice is cooking, set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the sweet potato and garlic. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Add in the kale and broth. Recover and continue to cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the kale is wilted (if the skillet ever gets too dry, add in a splash more broth). Remove from the heat.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 2 to 3 quart baking dish with olive oil or nonstick spray and set aside.
  3. To the large bowl with the rice, add the sweet potato / kale mixture, the greek yogurt, green onion, salt, pepper and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Mix until well combined. Taste and season with additional salt / pepper as needed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella, the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake uncovered for 11 to 13 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Cook Nourish Bliss. Based off this cheesy kale and quinoa casserole I created for Oh My Veggies!