The words summer and casserole don’t seem to mix, but this one deserves a place on your late summer or early fall table. The temps in the Bay Area have fallen a bit this week and when I put grilled sausage on my Friday night menu, this is the first side dish that came to mind. It was a family favorite as a child, given to us by a dear family friend. It made its way into our family collection of recipes and as with everything, I enjoyed updating it to suit my own family’s tastes.
This recipe is the perfect mix of fresh ingredients with a flavorful creamy mixture. Easily adaptable, too – brown rice works as well as white rice. Yellow squash can be subbed for the zucchini. Sliced cherry tomatoes for the regular tomatoes. Any color of bell pepper works great. You get the picture… prepared frozen rice makes this dish that much easier to get on the table and one shortcut I make all the time.
I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do!
Summer Zucchini Rice Bake
This summer casserole uses up some of summer's best produce – zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. The perfect side dish for those late summer, early fall evenings when there's a chill in the air. Grilled sausage, tri tip and salmon are delicious main dishes for this summer casserole.
- 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced thin
- 4 oz can diced mild green chiles
- 8 oz grated pepper jack or cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 8 oz container creme fraiche
- small diced bell pepper, any color
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a 8×8 inch glass casserole dish by coating with a thin layer of avocado oil or olive oil.
In a microwave-safe bowl, place sliced zucchini, 1 tbsp water and ½ tsp salt, cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, till crisp tender. Drain water and set aside.
Place cooked rice in prepared dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Cover in even layers with diced chiles, then zucchini, then tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine creme fraiche, bell pepper, green onions, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt. Spoon lightly over tomato layer in an even layer. Sprinkle remaining cheese.
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly and heated through. Garnish with chopped parsley.