Hello from the other side of a beautiful summer weekend! It was HOT around here so we hit up the pool (Cam’s first time!) and got in plenty of patio time. I tried a new-to-me Rosé from Cline Family Cellars – oh my gosh, did it hit the spot while lounging outdoors on a warm Friday evening. Highly recommend.
While we waited for the worst heat of the day to pass on Saturday afternoon, I whipped up this Cheesy Vegetable, Turkey Sausage and Rice Casserole. Talk about hitting the spot! Comfort food meets summer freshness in this filling, gluten-free casserole recipe that comes together on the stovetop before being briefly broiled under a blanket of cheese. This means you get all the warm and fuzzy feelings from eating casserole without having to actually warm up the house by baking it. Upgrade!
When I think casseroles I usually think heavy, eat-your-feelings-type meals that are perfect for the darkest of nights in the season that shall not be named. This casserole, in contrast, is about celebrating summer and all the wonderful vegetables it has to offer. Sauteed zucchini, peppers, onions, garlic, and sweet corn are combined with rice, turkey sausage, and an easy, 3-minute homemade cheese sauce. The mixture is scooped into a casserole dish, topped with more cheese, then broiled until bubbling. It is unbelievably good. This is one of those meals you have to force yourself to walk away from, otherwise you’ll keep going back for more and more and more, and before you know it half the pan is gone. Or so I’ve been told…
Anyway, this casserole also reheats beautifully. Make and enjoy for a nice summer dinner (don’t forget the Rosé!) then pack up the leftovers for easy lunches all week long.
The ingredient list for this recipe might look a touch long but many are fridge and pantry staples – rice, broth, milk, seasonings, and gluten-free flour to name a few – plus the dish makes a TON of food. Nobody’s going hungry or unhappy when this casserole is what’s for dinner!
Start by adding 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice and 2-1/2 cups chicken broth to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then place a lid on top, turn the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Note: the broth should just barely be at a simmer! After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the heat then let sit with the lid on for 5 additional minutes before fluffing rice with a fork. Set aside.
Meanwhile, brown 8oz gluten-free Italian-style turkey sausage in a large, 12″ skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium. Scoop the sausage onto a plate then set aside.
This is the turkey sausage I used – LOVED the flavor!
While the turkey is browning, prep the vegetables. You’ll need 1 red bell pepper, 1 small yellow onion or 1 jumbo shallot, 2 small zucchini, and 1 cup sweet corn (I used frozen.)
Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet then add the peppers and onions, season with seasoned salt, and saute until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and sweet corn then season again and saute until all the vegetables are tender, 5-6 additional minutes. Finally, add 2 cloves minced garlic then saute for 1 minute. Set the vegetables aside.
Last step is to make the cheese sauce which takes 3 minutes – that’s it! To a saucepan whisk together 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour (or all-purpose if you don’t need to eat GF,) and 1-1/2 cups milk (any kind – I used skim.) Turn heat to a touch above medium then whisk until milk is thick and bubbly, 2 minutes. Turn the heat off then add 6oz shredded gouda cheese and stir until smooth. You can use any kind of cheese you like for this dish, really. Pepper jack, cheddar, gruyere, or even fontina are all great options!
Everybody into the pool! To the skillet with the vegetables add the cooked rice, sausage, and cheese sauce then mix until everything is well combined.
Scoop the mixture into a nonstick sprayed casserole dish then top with an additional 2oz shredded gouda cheese, and broil until melted.
That’s all she wrote, my friend! Scoop the casserole onto plates, top with a sprinkling of freshly chopped basil for freshness, then dig in. I hope you love this comforting, summery dish – enjoy!
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Cheesy Vegetable, Turkey Sausage and Rice Casserole
Cheesy Vegetable, Turkey Sausage and Rice Casserole is a home run! This healthy and filling, gluten-free casserole recipe is pure comfort food.
- 1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 8oz gluten-free Italian-style turkey sausage (I used Honeysuckle brand)
- drizzle extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels
- 1 large shallot or 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- homemade seasoned salt (see notes)
- 1-3/4 cups milk, any kind (I used skim)
- 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour
- 8oz gouda cheese, shredded then divided
- chopped fresh basil for topping (optional)
- Add rice and chicken broth to a small saucepan then bring to a boil. Place a lid on top then turn heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes (broth should just barely be bubbling.) Remove pan from heat then let sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork then set aside.
- Meanwhile, brown sausage in a large, 12” skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium. Once cooked, remove sausage to a plate then set aside.
- Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to the skillet then add bell pepper and shallot or onion, season with seasoned salt, and then saute until vegetables begin to soften, 5 minutes. Turn heat up slightly then add zucchini and sweet corn, season with more seasoned salt, then continue to saute until all the vegetables are tender, 5-6 more minutes. Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute. Turn the heat down slightly and/or add more extra virgin olive oil at any point. Taste vegetables then add more seasoned salt if necessary, and then set aside.
- Add flour to another small saucepan then whisk while adding milk to get rid of any lumps. Turn heat to medium then whisk until milk is thickened and bubbly, 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat then add 3/4 of the shredded cheese and stir until smooth. Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Add cooked rice, sausage, and cheese sauce to the skillet with the vegetables then mix until well combined. Scoop mixture into a nonstick-sprayed 9x11” baking dish (or similar sized baking dish) then top with remaining shredded cheese and broil until top is golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if using, then scoop onto plates and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.