DINNER

Mediterranean-Inspired Rice Bake – Vegan Yack Attack

If you enjoy the flavors of the Mediterranean, then you will absolutely love this easy-to-make rice bake! It’s filled with beautiful colors, flavors, and briny goodness, that’s all plant-based.

Large casserole dish containing veggie-filled rice bake on a marble table with text overlay

I tested this recipe the first time a couple of weeks ago, and made it with things I already had on hand, or waiting for me in my pantry! Even though I’m a pickle hater (specifically cucumber pickles), I LOVE other briny foods like olives, artichoke hearts, pickled onions, capers, etc. So, here I’ve used many of those ingredients and combined them with some shelf-stable items for a convenient dinner great for weeknights or meal prepping.

Ingredients spread out in small ramekins on marble surface

Although most of the ingredients can be found on a shelf, I did include some fresh lemon (’tis citrus season after all!) and some chard from my garden. It’s been a while since I’ve even been able to include garden pics in blog posts, after moving to Las Vegas (can you believe it’s been 4 years?), but I’ve finally got a thriving garden. Though, in the photos you can see that it’s definitely winter time since some of the beds are sparse. If you’ve missed garden updates, I have a whole highlight on my instagram.

Swiss chard with pink stems growing in raised beds

Also, I miss sharing personal photos on here with y’all! When I go back to older posts, I love that they document occasions, family, pets that have passed on, and all of that good stuff. So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to add some pictures of our cat Misu being a dingbat. If you’re like, “where the hell did Misu come from?” I have a video on “how to steal a cat” that vaguely describes what happened. 😉

Striped tabby cat rolling around, playfully on concrete

ANYWAY, after making this dump-and-bake style casserole again for measurements and photos, I was reminded of just how GOOD it is. It’s basically like if you turned antipasto salad into a rice bake? Sans animal products, of course. And it’s pretty flexible too, though the most important thing is making sure whatever grain you’re using is cooked thoroughly.

Process shots of cooking rice bake casserole

Substitutions & Tips:

  • Short grain brown rice – you can also use another grain that has a similar cooking time to brown rice (when cooked on the stove, for example). So, wild rice would need more time to bake, but long grain white rice could work, etc.
  • Canned white beans – if you have cooked beans from scratch, you will need 1 1/2 cups. You can also use chickpeas instead of white beans, if you prefer (but I like the creaminess of white beans).
  • Canned diced tomatoes – again, you can use roughly 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, with all of their liquid, if you have tomatoes you want to use up! If the tomatoes aren’t the juiciest, add 1/4 cup of water with them to help cook the rice.
  • Olives – I used half green castelvetrano olives & half kalamata olives here, but you can use your favorite olives.
  • Vegan chicken broth – vegetable broth works fine here if you don’t have vegan chicken bouillon in stores near you. ALSO, as mentioned in the ingredients and directions, make sure that your broth is hot, because it shortens your cooking time.
  • Swiss chard – I used this because I have plenty in my garden and it has a subtly savory flavor, but spinach, arugula, kale, or even collards, could all work here.
  • Red onion – shallots, yellow, or white onion will also work, though red onions have a slightly sweeter/spicy flavor.
  • Lemon – make sure to zest the lemon BEFORE you cut it and juice it. It will be much easier.
  • Low-waste tip – instead of covering the casserole dish with foil like I’ve done in the past, this time I covered it with a baking sheet to keep the moisture in!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (365 g) short or medium-grain brown rice
  • 2 cups (75 g) loosely-packed, chopped Swiss chard
  • 15.5-ounce (439 g) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 14.5-ounce (411 g) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (115 g) chopped, marinated artichoke hearts, with excess oil drained
  • 1 cup (110 g) halved olives, I did both kalamata and castelvetrano
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced with seeds removed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) capers
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Greek or Italian oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups (710 ml) HOT, vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Optional, vegan mozzarella shreds for topping

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4), and get out a 9×13-inch (23×33 cm) baking dish.
    2. Next, dump rice, chard, white beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, bell pepper, red onion, capers, lemon juice + zest, herbs, spices, and salt into the baking dish. Stir together to evenly combine, then add hot vegan chicken broth, stirring again to evenly combine.
    3. Cover dish with aluminum foil or baking sheet (for low-waste option) and bake for 40 minutes. Then, take dish out, give it a stir (the rice settles to the bottom otherwise), cover with foil again and bake for 20 more minutes.
    4. If the rice looks to be cooked through, remove foil/baking sheet from dish and bake for another 10 minutes. If the rice needs more time, try cooking another 5 to 10 minutes before uncovering.
    5. Once the bake is done, take it out of the oven and wait 5 minutes before serving it up (optional top each bowl with some vegan mozzarella shreds). If prepping for later, this will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator, in air-tight containers.

Notes

  • Short grain brown rice – you can also use another grain that has a similar cooking time to brown rice (when cooked on the stove, for example).
  • Canned white beans – if you have cooked beans from scratch, you will need 1 1/2 cups. You can also use chickpeas instead.
  • Canned diced tomatoes – again, you can use roughly 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, with all of their liquid. If the tomatoes aren’t the juiciest, add 1/4 cup of water with them to help cook the rice.
  • Vegan chicken broth – vegetable broth works fine here if you don’t have vegan chicken bouillon in stores near you.
  • Swiss chard – spinach, arugula, kale, or even collards, could all work here.
  • Red onion – shallots, yellow, or white onion will also work.


Did you make this recipe?

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If you love easy-to-make casseroles, check out these other recipes!

Close up of Large casserole dish containing veggie-filled rice bake on a marble table

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