Wild Rice and Sausage Casserole
Initially created as a stuffing for poultry, we enjoy this hearty, satisfying dish throughout the year as the main meal. The sharp, nutty flavor of Parmesan is a recent addition that rounds out the flavors beautifully. My original recipe called for a half cup of chopped pecans, but I more recently substituted water chestnuts which offer a welcome crunch. Feel free to use either option.

Yield: about 6 cups


  • 2/3 cup (4 1/2 ounces) wild rice blend (may substitute brown rice)
  • 1 pound turkey or pork sausage, casings removed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped (see notes)
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts (about half a 5-ounce can; see comments above)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart casserole.
  2. To prepare the rice, bring 1 1/4 ounces of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rice, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the water is just absorbed. Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. (At this point, you may cool and then cover and refrigerate the rice for up to 2 days.)
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the sausage until evenly brown, crumbling the meat as it cooks. Remove to a mixing bowl.
  4. In the same skillet over medium heat, cook the mushrooms, onion, and celery until the mushrooms release their liquid and the vegetables are beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic for the last 30-60 seconds, stirring until you can smell it but it is not brown. (If the skillet seems dry at any point, add a drizzle of olive oil.) Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  5. To the sausage, add the cooked rice, mushroom mixture, parsley, egg, water chestnuts, Parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix until combined and then turn into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until hot throughout. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired.


  • I like to dice half of the mushrooms and thickly slice the other half for the best flavor and visual appeal. If you are not a fan of mushrooms, you may omit and increase the amount of sausage by 1/4 pound.
  • The egg is a nice addition, but for those who may have an egg allergy, it may be omitted.
  • May be prepared a day in advance, covered tightly, and refrigerated until ready to eat. In this case, extend the baking time; exact time will vary based on proportions of casserole. When making ahead and cooking cold from the refrigerator, bake tightly covered in foil, uncovering for the last 5-10 minutes.

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