I am always looking for new ways to make healthy meals for my family. I came up with this recipe when an unexpected guest arrived for dinner. I needed to quickly make more food. I was already planning on making rice to go with our main course. Rummaging around the refrigerator, I found some leftover rice and along with a few items from my pantry, changed a normal side dish into a new family favorite.
There are many rice mixes available these days. I love to have a blend of all different types; wild, white, brown, etc. They each add a different flavor and texture to the final dish. The more color you have in your grains, the healthier they are for you. White rice has had the husk and bran scrubbed off and you are left with just the germ – not much flavor, texture, or health benefit.
As with most of my recipes, this one is very flexible. Feel free to add any other vegetables you have in your refrigerator or garden. I love starting with a recipe like this and then adding whatever I found this week at the farmer’s market. You could add squash, tomatoes, cucumber, peas, corn, carrots, chile peppers, bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Have fun mixing and matching.
As my mother always said, if a meal has a lot of color and is “pretty” it is healthy. Look for greens, yellows, oranges, and reds to add. The same goes for individual dishes. The more colorful ingredients you add to this recipe the healthier it becomes.
This can be served as a side dish with any main course or it can be an entree itself. Saute some poultry or meats and toss with the rice for make-ahead fare. If you add a lot of vegetables you can serve a vegetarian meal. Another benefit is that this can be made a day or two ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Flavors actually improve with time, so you can make it early in the day and reheat it later.
Adding chopped nuts to any dish increases the percentage of protein and fiber making anything healthier. While I usually have pecans on hand and used them in this recipe, you could add any nuts you like. Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, and macadamias would all be great choices here.
Enjoy this delicious and healthy dish!
Wild Rice and Pecan Casserole
Jane Evans Bonacci © 1987
Yield: about 4 servings
- 1 box Rice-a-Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice mix or 1 cup wild and white rice blend
- 2 scallions, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup cooked white rice, prepared with chicken stock instead of water
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed and finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans