Cheesy Baked Rice

photo credit: incidental cooking

A popular family dinner recipe, this Cheesy Baked Rice gets a healthy makeover! Still boasting all of the cheesy rice goodness that we all adore, this low calorie casserole recipe is bulked up with veggies and a high fiber rice, making each 1 cup serving just 6 Points. Also, by using a yogurt based cheese sauce, I was able to pack in some extra protein too, which helps to keep the Points value down, while adding a delicious flavor and moisture to the dish. If you aren’t into spice, feel free to leave the jalapenos off, but I LOVE the extra tangy zing they offer. This healthy casserole recipe makes a great dish to bring to a potluck, or to make a few days in advance, freeze, and then reheat for a quick family dinner. So yummy, and a great way to get your kids to eat more vegetables!

Cheesy Baked Rice Casserole Recipe

A low calorie casserole recipe that is not only good for you, but is smothered in cheese sauce, filled with sausage, and is just 6 Points per serving!??! Um, YES, please!! This healthy casserole recipe put a new spin on traditional cheesy baked rice casseroles that will knock your socks off. It makes for a delicious and healthy dinner that the whole family can enjoy, but will still keep you on track with your Weight Watchers Points Allowance.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups fat free vegetable broth
  • 6 oz extra lean turkey sausage (I used the kind from Jennie-O)
  • 4 cups zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed, if you are using frozen)
  • 2 red or bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely diced
  • 1 cup fat free Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup pickled jalapeños, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Pour rice into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Stir hot broth into the rice along with zucchini, bell peppers, onion, paprika, salt and pepper.
  3. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, 35 to 45 minutes more.
  4. In a small saucepan, whisk together milk, yogurt and garlic. Cook over medium heat until bubbling and thickened, 2 -3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Add 1 cup shredded cheese, corn and cilantro and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.
  6. Spray a large skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook, stirring and breaking the sausage into small pieces with a spoon, until lightly browned and no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  7. When the rice is done, stir in the sausage and cheese sauce, ad dollop the cream cheese by the teaspoon, over the casserole. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top and top with jalapeños.
  8. Return the casserole to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 2 hour(s)

Diet tags: Low calorie, Reduced fat

Number of servings (yield): 12

Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Entire recipe makes 12 servings
Serving size is 1 cup
Each serving = 6 Points

PER SERVING: 218 calories; 6g fat 27 g carbohydrates; 20g protein; 3 g fiber

6 Comments

  1. I’m a vegetarian so how do I calculate the points with no sausage? Thanks

    • LaaLoosh Reply

      I don’t know the Points value for this recipe without sausage, so you’ll have to add up all the nutritional info when you make it and re-calculate the total.

  2. I just made this and am eating it right now, and it was SO delicious I had to come on here now and tell you just how much I LOVE it! Although, the recipe builder on WW.com told me it was only 5 PointsPlus per serving. It's absolutely amazing and I will DEFINITELY be making this again. The only thing that wasn't SO enjoyable was all the time and preperation involved, but the outcome is worth it to me :-)

  3. I love your site and recipes.

    If you doubled the sausage, what would the points be?

    • Thanks Lori! Offhand, I don't know what the new Points Plus value would be, as the nutritional stats are based on the entire recipe, and I don't know offhand how much of them relate specifically to the sausage. You'd have to re-calculate it yourself based on the nutritional info for the ingredients, and how much of them, you use.

  4. love your site!

    I made this by cooking the rice then mixing it with all the veggies in a big bowl with seasonings and cooked and measured meat and added a little broth to it

    next I made the cheese sauce with the cream cheese

    I layered the rice mixture with the cheese sauce and topped with the additional half cup of cheese.

    baked 45mins

    super good! thanks this is definitely something I would avoid on weight watchers (go on it after each baby)

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