Baked Mediterranean Rice

Mediterranean rice
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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
124 Calories
6g Fat
12g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 124
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 19mg 6%
Sodium 679mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 156mg 12%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 281mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This tasty Mediterranean rice recipe is made with just a few everyday ingredients. It's a perfect side to any main course and easy enough for busy weeknights. It features arborio rice, which is the short-grain rice best known for making risotto.

The rice is supported by the savory Mediterranean flavors of basil, oregano, tomatoes, spinach, mozzarella, and Parmesan, which create a party for your taste buds. It's so good that taste-testers even swear that it can outshine nearly any entree. Best of all, it couldn't be easier to make and will stay hot for 30 minutes if you keep it covered.​

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 cups chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes, cut in half

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, or asiago or Italian blend cheese

  • 8 ounces baby spinach, stem tips removed

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat an 11" x 13" glass or ceramic casserole dish with butter-flavored vegetable spray.

  2. Add the rice and onions to the casserole. Add melted butter and stir until all of the rice is coated.

  3. Stir the oregano, basil, and salt into the chicken broth. Pour over the rice. Evenly place the halved tomatoes over the top.

  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

  5. Remove from oven and fold the mozzarella cheese and baby spinach into the hot rice until it's evenly distributed. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.

  6. Cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tips

  • If you don't have butter on hand, use olive oil instead.
  • At first, it may seem like this is too much spinach for the dish. Keep in mind that the heat will wilt down the spinach to a fraction of its former amount.
  • The spinach is added last in order to preserve its nutrients, color, and texture.

Recipe Variations

  • The arborio rice can be replaced with another white rice or a white and wild rice blend. For an interesting change of pace, try this recipe with orzo and skip the rice completely.
  • Broccoli makes a great substitute for the spinach. If you choose this route, add the broccoli along with the tomatoes. Frozen broccoli does not need to be thawed.
  • If you wish to make this a vegetarian dish, switch from chicken to vegetable broth.

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