Spinach Rice Gratin Recipe

A delicious rice gratin recipe - a hearty casserole of baked rice flecked with spinach. The top bakes into a golden cheese crust made even better with a generous sprinkling of black olives, red onions, and toasted pine nuts.

Spinach Rice Gratin

I opened my sister's freezer the other day and was greeted by stacks of individually portioned, vacuum sealed lasagnas. My sister is seventeen months pregnant right now - kidding, but that's how she feels. She told me they've been stock-piling easy, meals they can simply reheat or pop in the oven once the baby arrives. This got me thinking about healthy, baked, single-pan recipes. I threw this together the other night using a bunch of things I had on hand - brown rice, spinach, black olives, crumbled tofu, a bit of cheese, pine nuts, and a few eggs. It's the kind of thing you could prep in advance and pop in the oven anytime it's convenient. In short, I tossed all the ingredients together in a big bowl, turned them out into a baking dish, and after a thirty minute stint in the oven sat down to a hearty plate of baked rice flecked with spinach. The top bakes into a golden cheese crust made even better with a generous sprinkling of black olives, red onions, and toasted pine nuts.

Come to think of it - you could bake portions of the rice mixture in individual ramekins - that might be cute. And using the rice/egg/tofu ratio you can certainly remix this based on whatever accent ingredients you prefer or have on hand.

Rice Gratin Recipe

Update: Look who made his appearance yesterday. :)

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Spinach Rice Gratin Recipe

2 1/2 cups leftover/pre-cooked brown rice, room temp
1 1/2 cups cups well finely chopped spinach
4 ounces firm organic tofu, crumbled
10 black olives, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Manchego cheese (or Parm, or Gruyere)
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Rack in the top third. Grease a 10-inch round baking dish (or equivalent) with a bit of olive oil.

In a large bowl combine the rice, spinach, and tofu. Now, reserving a bit of each for garnish, stir in the olives, and red onion, pine nuts and olive oil. Now stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, and salt. Fold the eggs into the rice mixture, pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the casserole is set, and the top toasty and golden. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with remaining onions, olives, and nuts. Sprinkle with a bit more salt before serving - or taste and get a sense of whether you need any.

Serves 8 - 12.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Wow, I think I already have all of the ingredients. . . I may just make it this week! Thanks for sharing!


Oh how beautiful and sweet! The baby, that is. The gratin looks fantastic too. Congrats Auntie!

Life Chef

Heidi, can one freeze this dish ? It is perhaps implicit but not explicit HS:I didn't try to freeze it - and I'm not 100% sure how it would turn out. I actually think I might bake it, then freeze, the reheat in the oven if I were to take the freezer approach... If anyone goes the freezer route, let me know.


Auntie Heidi.....She's no longer 17 months pregnant! Thanks for the picture of their beautiful little boy. Now I'm a great aunt. This is another recipe I know I'm going to love. You make healthy eating yummy! Auntie Shay HS: Thanks Auntie Shay - he's very cute and sweet. Hope to see you soon. :)


Wow, I'm not sure there could be anything easier than mixing everything together in a bowl, turning it out and baking it. It looks so satisfying too. Healthy comfort food.


Hi This sounds like an easy, tasty and wholesome recipe. Thanks for posting the same. My husband and I are vegetarian but would still like to tyr this one. Can we replace the egg with something else?


Lovely recipe. Anyone have any tips on how to veganize it? I'm happy to just leave out the cheese, but the egg sounds kind of integral. HS: Hmmm - not sure offhand, maybe one of the vegan readers can step in with suggestions - the eggs definitely work as a binder here.


I have a bunch of chard, dandelion and beat green, from this weekend's farmer's market. I think I'll sautee those up with some new garlic (another thank you to the FM) and use instead of spinach. Wondering if a freshly made breadcrumbs combined with parm. on top would work too (?) Heidi - I made your sprouted garbanzo bean burgers over the weekend, and I am in love - so perfect for summer. I used sesame breadcrumbs, (a new find in the Isreali section of the market), lemon thyme, a scant amount of minced garlic and served over a bed of greens with a greek yogurt dip (mint, lemon, cumin, pinch of cayenne, cracked pepper). HS: ooh. sounds so good.


This recipe looks great - Although I am not pregnant (congrats Auntie to Be) I think that this is great for anyone with a busy schedule - this should be staple in the house. Cheers Cathy

Cathy C

Dishes like this that are so simple and easy yet refreshing is what I tend to lean towards. I don't have any time to spend hours slaving away over dinner, especially when I get home from my night school. I like the tofu and the brown rice in this gratin as well because it makes it a healthy alternative to cream-laden gratins. Thanks Heidi!

Amanda Boyce

Your sister is impressively organized and just a touch scary. :) It's really a great idea, and I'm duly impressed that, being 17 months pregnant, she'd be able to find the energy. At least she has a sister who can keep her supplied with great recipes. This spinach rice gratin is my favorite kind of dish - the kind made with whatever you have on hand. Summer is the perfect season for that, and for using that market produce that you just couldn't resist buying before it wilts.

Becky And The Beanstock

I've been lurking on your site now for about 6-8 months and absolutely adore your recipes, your writing, and your photos! I wondered though why you do not offer a "print with photo" option for printing the recipes? Personally, I really like to have a photo of the final dish when I am cooking. HS: Thanks for the suggestion - It's definitely on the to-do list.


This reminds me of a recipe which I tried a few weeks ago an Iranian rice dish called Tahcheen. I found the recipe in Rosewater & Sodabread; a novel by Marsha Mehran. Yours sounds good too.


I am pregnant so this sounds like a great idea to me! Unfortunately I have a tiny freezer, but should probably take out the bottle of vodka since I won't be using it for a while. Thanks Heidi!


Amazing website; I've made a bunch of recipes and loved all of them. I just noticed, though, that there are no recipes with eggplant, which is one of my favorite hearty, filling 'no-meat-necessary' vegetables. I'd love to see some of your expert suggestions!


Good thinking! My sister has just had her baby and she and her husband are so busy that they can't get much cooking done right now. I go and do some personal catering once in a while (so much cooler than a PT) and if I'm lucky, I get to feed the baby, too...


ooh that sounds so good, I need more meals that can be prepped ahead of time or just lower key, can't wait to try this


Sounds delish. I am not pregnant, or have kids - but I am an entrepreneur! So I need recipes just like this that are easy to make when I have some downtime and then can go right into the oven when it's time to eat. Thanks, will definitely try this one.


Heidi, this looks delicious! I love Manchego!


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