Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheesy Onion and Greens Pie with Brown Rice Crust

Casseroles are notoriously hard to photograph, so thank you for accepting this for what it is!
 At some point last week, I remembered this savory pie that my mom made repeatedly about ten years (or more) ago. It had a crunchy basmati rice crust and was filled with summer vegetables. I loved that rice pie and was so glad that my mom was able to spend some time searching for the recipe—which is this Roasted Vegetable-Cheese Pie. I couldn't wait to make it to see if it was as good as I remembered and, as someone who can't eat much gluten without getting a whopping headache, the rice crust was utterly intriguing—and potentially a much simpler way to make crusts than making a GF flour mix.

One of the things that has changed for me since I discovered my gluten intolerance is that I bake a whole lot less. I still make muffins and granola regularly because I've found super easy substitutes, but the sheer price difference between regular and GF flour is a little off putting. This gf flour mix is great, but lately I just haven't wanted to spend the money to buy the 5 different ingredients. Maybe this has something to do with it being summer (probably!), but I love an easier solution when I find one.

 Yesterday, I gave it a go. I used the exact recipe for the crust and improvised with the filling based on the vegetables that we had in the house—we had two bags of beet stems and greens to use up so in they went. Along with caramelized onions and a hefty load of garlic, my filling was complete.

 I topped the pie with sliced roma tomatoes and subbed in mozzarella (it was in the fridge!) for the Fontina that was called for in the recipe. I also added an extra sprinkling of Parmesan on top for an extra flavor boost.

 All in all, it was incredibly easy to put together and it was absolutely delicious. The flavors melded together and were earthy (from the beet greens) and slightly sweet (from the caramelized onions) and the slightly gooey cheese on top pulled it all together. It was a very lovely Sunday night dinner.  I could see making this with a filling of butternut squash, zucchini, or chard—and quite possibly adding in bacon or diced ham—and I am quite certain that I will be experimenting with this rice crust idea when the time rolls around to make pumpkin pie...

Cheesy Onion and Greens Pie with Brown Rice Crust
Adapted from Cooking Light

Cooking spray
2 cups basmati rice, cooked (I used brown basmati but white works too)
2 egg whites
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 T olive oil
3 onions, chopped
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
4-5 cups hearty greens (I used beet greens and stems), sliced thinly
3 Roma tomatoes, or one medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella
Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Coat a pie plate with cooking spray.
2. Mix the first three ingredients in a bowl, incorporating well. Press into and up the sides of your pie plate and bake for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat your oil in a large saute pan over medium and add your onions, stirring to coat. After about 5 minutes when the onions are just starting to soften, add salt, pepper, the garlic and the beet greens. Put a lid onto your pan and let cook until the greens start to wilt, giving it a stir every few minutes. You want the mixture to be soft and cooked. If at any point the veg are sticking to the pan, add a bit of water.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese onto the bottom of the crust, then add your vegetable filling, spreading evenly. Add your tomato sliced, then the rest of the cheese, and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, check to see if the top is getting brown. If it is, put a sheet of foil on top for the last 10 minutes to prevent burning.
5. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.


  1. I am so glad you posted this! What a brilliant idea - rice as a crust. We're not gluten intolerant, but there are some refined flour issues, so I'm always looking for interesting ways to sub out flour. This is awesome. I WILL be making it this week.

  2. That is excellent Katie! FYI, my mom made the original recipe over the weekend (the day she found the recipe for me, actually:) and she reported that it too was delicious. Happy eating!

  3. I am making this tomorrow for dinner. Looks and sounds soooo good!

  4. Looks so delicious Amy! I love the brown rice crust - I have some chard that needs to be used up and this will be perfect. Thank you!

  5. This looks great! For a completely grain free crust substitute cauliflower for the rice and use the yolks with any kind of cheese. It is yummy, too. Makes great!!! pizza crust.