As a mostly-vegetarian (if you’ll forgive the term), I tend to organize my meals a bit differently from omnivores. And frankly, I am occasionally envious of the ease with which a meal comes together around a piece of meat (and we do sometimes cook fish), because then all you have to worry about are salads and sides. And hey, I sure do like salads and sides.
So I get excited when I can have it all in one place: my vegetables and my whole grains, nestled in with tofu and cheese, scented with garlic and spices. Maybe even with a great salsa on the side. Yes, it’s true: I made a casserole.
The basic premise here is that flavorful, doctored-up brown rice and tofu are layered with tomatillos and tomatoes. The rice and tofu sop up the juices as the tomatoes and tomatillos soften and it all bakes up into one big pan of late-summer comfort. There are a few more steps involved here than in our usual recipes, but it’s quite manageable if you take it a step at a time: Make rice. Chop vegetables. Cook onions, garlic, and corn, then add tofu, spices, rice and cheese. Layer this mixture with thickly-sliced tomatillos and tomatoes, and scatter feta on top for an extra bite of tang and salt. Bake. You can do that.
The last thing I’ll recommend is that you try making this dish with tofu that has been frozen and then defrosted. It gives the tofu a bit of a spongy texture, which is more appealing than it sounds. Nobody will expect to find tofu in this dish, but it contributes flavor and texture as well as protein. If you’d prefer to leave it out, you could whisk a few eggs into the rice instead, but then I’d recommend baking the dish covered and maybe for a little longer. Continue reading