Pizza Rice Casserole

Some years ago (Was that really 25 years ago? !!) when I went back to school to obtain a Master's degree I was in class with another teacher who was gluten intolerant and couldn't eat all kinds of food that we all enjoyed.  At that time she was one of the few people I knew who could not eat wheat products. I watched her pick her way through the cafeteria and restaurant menus with a fine tooth comb trying to find something she could eat without getting sick. 

One day I was leafing through a magazine and came across an advertisement or article on rice.  Can't remember which, but there were a few recipes to go along with the information.  One of them was for a Rice Pizza, using rice for the crust.  I copied the recipe and gave it to her and kept a copy for myself.   She was so happy to see that it was for pizza as she loved the stuff and couldn't eat it anymore.

I tucked away the recipe and forgot about it for a while but then several years later I found it again and decided to make it.  It was good--not as good as pizza but really good if you couldn't eat pizza.  So, of course, I fiddled around with the recipe each time I made it and thought it was nicer as a casserole with a thicker layer of rice instead of the thin layer that was in the original recipe.  It is best served hot as it isn't like a pizza that can be eaten cold as some like to do the next morning.  It makes a nice light meal for anyone in the family.  You don't need to be gluten intolerant to enjoy this casserole.  Serve it with a salad to round out the meal. 

Pizza Rice Casserole
3 cups cooked rice, cooled, brown or white
1 egg, beaten or 2 egg whites
¼ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
⅔ cup pizza or pasta sauce
1-2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 cup sliced mushrooms*
¼ cup ripe olives*
¼ cup chopped red or green peppers*
Green pepper*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease or pan spray a 10 or 12-inch round baking dish or pizza pan.  The 12-inch pizza pan will give you a thinner "crust". Combine cooled rice, egg, milk, salt and ⅓ of the mozzarella cheese in a large bowl.  Press into the prepared dish.  Bake 5 minutes in the preheated oven to set the rice.  Let cool a few minutes and then proceed with the following directions.

Spread pizza or pasta sauce over the rice.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Layer the second ⅓ of  mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, olives, and red pepper.  Top with remaining cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for and additional 20-25 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes then cut in wedges. Garnish with green pepper if desired.

Serve immediately as this casserole does not hold well until the next day as the rice will absorb any moisture and the dish will become dry. 

Serve with a green salad for a lovely light meal.

*Any combination of your favorite pizza vegetables may be substituted for the above vegetables.

 Mix the cooled rice, eggs, milk, salt and ⅓ of the cheese together.

Press into the greased baking dish and bake 5 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven.

Remove the rice from the oven and let cool a few minutes.  Spread with pizza or pasta sauce and the second ⅓ of the cheese.

Spread with your favourite pizza toppings.  Today I used mushrooms, green and black olives, onions, red peppers and pineapple.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and pop it back in the oven for an additional 20 minutes.  I didn't have quite enough Mozzarella cheese so I used some cheddar to make up the difference.

 Looks just like pizza!
I used a 10-inch baking dish.  If you would like a thinner rice "crust" use a 12-inch baking dish or pizza pan.

Serve the Pizza Rice Casserole with a green or tossed salad for a nice light meal.
Dinner's ready!  Come and get it!


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