If you grew up in the South or the Midwest then you probably know stromboli well. Traditional recipes for this Italian dish call for a filling of meat, sauce, and cheese to be rolled inside a homemade dough. But, here in the US stromboli is almost always served as a type of hot sub sandwich, wrapped in foil before baking to ensure that the cheese is fully melted. This recipe for stromboli rice casserole replaces the dough or roll for rice and the whole thing is baked to perfection.
This is a wonderful, gluten-free option to enjoy a rich classic without settling for gluten-free bread or dough. I adapted this recipe from a sandwich stromboli recipe thinking it would be a simple swap to take this dish from a hand-held sub shop delicacy to a piping hot, homemade casserole. And the result did not disappoint!
The rice really soaks up the tomato sauce and this makes it much more flavorful than plain rice or even rice that’s been cooked ahead of time and added to a casserole.
To make this recipe first brown some ground beef or Italian sausage. Then add in the onions and once those are cooked add in some garlic and spices. Then mix the rice with some water and some marinara sauce in a 9″x13″ baking dish.
Next layer the browned meat on top of the rice.
Then cover the whole thing with pepperoni.
Finally cover with cheese and bake half the time uncovered, and half the time covered (the covered bake time ensures that the rice is fully cooked). Then sprinkle with some chopped parsley and enjoy this nostalgic casserole that couldn’t be easier to make.
Stromboli Rice Casserole
15m prep time
55m cook time
- 2 lbs Italian sausage or ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups instant rice
- 1 (24 oz) jar marinara or pizza sauce, divided
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 6-oz package sliced pepperoni
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Remove sausage from casing if using. Brown and crumble meat over medium heat, about 6-8 minutes. Add onion and cook until onions are just beginning to turn translucent, about 7 minutes. Add spices and garlic and stir. Remove from heat.
- Combine rice, 2 cups of sauce, and 2 tablespoons water in large bowl. Pour into 9”x13” baking dish and level with back of spoon. Use a slotted spoon to remove meat from pan, leaving grease behind. Add meat mixture on top of rice. Top with remaining sauce, then cover with pepperoni. Add cheese as the top layer then bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Cover with foil then return to oven for another 10-20 minutes or until cheese is golden and rice is cooked. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Recipe adapted from Master Cook.