Hallie Klecker is a certified Nutrition Educator and passionate home cook. She started her blog, Daily Bites, about a year ago as a way to share wholesome, gluten-free recipes with those in need of healthy living inspiration. After going gluten-free due to health issues several years ago, Hallie feels better than ever and loves to share tidbits of her gluten-free life with others through Daily Bites. When she’s not cooking, reading cookbooks, or scrolling through food blogs, Hallie enjoys gardening, visiting local farmers’ markets, and spending time with her family. She currently lives in southern Wisconsin near Madison.
Hallie’s Recipe: Mediterranean Rice and Cannellini Bean Casserole
Hallie’s Tip: Incorporate Whole Grains
As busy people living in a fast-paced world, we are in constant search of easy shortcuts and quick fixes. Take a look at your average newsstand and the headlines all echo the same theme. “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days! 15-minute meals your family will love! Organize your life in one weekend!”
It’s no wonder that convenience foods and frozen entrees top the charts of foods that most commonly make their way into our grocery carts. We live in a rapidly paced age where the mantra is “the quicker and easier the better.”
Affordability is also a huge player in the daily food choices we make. In a rocky economy, I think it’s safe to say that most of us are looking for ways to pinch pennies and save a few bucks wherever we can. So how in the world do we eat healthfully while still meeting the convenience and cost factors?
That brings me to today’s tip: incorporate whole grains. Packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals as well as protein and fiber, whole grains are an incredible building block in constructing a healthy diet. But perhaps the biggest perk is that high-quality, organic grains are both inexpensive and relatively easy to prepare. Another plus: many of them are naturally gluten free!
While the cook time for most grains ranges from 15-50 minutes, once you have them prepared they keep in the refrigerator for a good 4-5 days. I’ve recently slipped into the habit of preparing a large amount at one time so that I’m stocked with whole grain goodness for the entire week. Because grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and millet lend themselves well to so many types of recipes (salads, soups, pilafs, and stir-fries to name a few), using them up throughout the week is a snap.
Today’s recipe for Mediterranean Rice and Cannellini Bean Casserole makes the perfect nourishing lunch or—when paired with a tossed green salad—a delicious, nutritious dinner.
Check out these other gluten-free recipes featuring whole grains:
- Red Rice, Cucumber, and Avocado Salad
- Spicy Black Bean Ragout with Quinoa and Avocado Crema
- Buckwheat and Fig Butter Scones
- Flourless Banana-Nut Cookies
Mediterranean Rice and Cannellini Bean Casserole
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
½ medium bell pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1(4 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 ½ cups cooked cannellini beans or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained
3 cups cooked brown rice*
2 tbs. fresh oregano, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Lightly oil a medium-sized casserole dish (8×10 inches) or deep dish pie plate with olive oil.
Heat 2 tbs. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften—about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Cook until tomatoes release their juices and mixture thickens up a bit, about 6-8 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sautéed vegetable mixture with the beans, rice, oregano, and salt and pepper. Transfer to oiled casserole dish. Cover with oven-safe lid or a tight layer of aluminum foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through.
Garnish with slivered almonds and parsley before serving.
*To cook brown rice: combine 1 cup long grain brown rice with 2 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to very low. Simmer until rice is tender and water is absorbed, 40-50 minutes.
Grain swap: not into rice? Feel free to swap in an equal amount of your favorite cooked whole grain in this recipe. Both quinoa and millet would be delicious!
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