Cheesy Rice Marinara Recipe - Italian Vegetarian Food

Cheesy Rice Marinara

Cheesy Rice Marinara Recipe - Italian Vegetarian Food
Region / culture: Italy | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes | Servings: 6 | Vegetarian diet


Cheesy Rice Marinara
Cheesy Rice Marinara

Cheesy Rice Marinara is a delicious and comforting dish that combines the flavors of creamy ricotta cheese, tangy marinara sauce, and fluffy rice. This recipe is perfect for a cozy family dinner or a potluck gathering.


Cheesy Rice Marinara is a modern twist on traditional Italian lasagna. By using rice instead of pasta, this recipe offers a unique and flavorful alternative that is sure to please your taste buds.


How to prepare

  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Sauté onion and garlic in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat and stir in the rice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 0.33 cup of Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir until smooth. Add the onions and rice.
  3. Spread a layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch baking pan coated with vegetable spray. Top the sauce with alternating layers of the ricotta cheese mixture, spinach, and mozzarella cheese, finishing with the remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 0.33 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake covered at 400°F (204°C) for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the cover during the last 10 minutes to achieve even browning.


  • Add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage for a meaty version.
  • Use different types of cheese, such as cheddar or provolone, for a unique flavor profile.
  • Mix in diced vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms for added texture and nutrition.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Be sure to cook the rice according to package instructions before adding it to the dish.

- Thaw the spinach completely and squeeze out any excess moisture before adding it to the dish.

- For a crispy top, broil the dish for a few minutes after baking.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Cheesy Rice Marinara with a side salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

Baking is the primary cooking technique for Cheesy Rice Marinara, but you can also broil the dish for a crispy top.

Ingredient Substitutions

Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta cheese.

- Substitute fresh herbs for dried herbs for a more vibrant flavor.

- Use any type of cooked grain, such as quinoa or barley, instead of rice.

Make Ahead Tips

You can assemble Cheesy Rice Marinara ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Just be sure to increase the baking time slightly if baking from cold.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish Cheesy Rice Marinara with fresh basil leaves or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a pop of color and flavor.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Cheesy Rice Marinara with a glass of red wine, such as Chianti or Merlot, for a classic Italian meal.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftovers of Cheesy Rice Marinara in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Cheesy Rice Marinara contains approximately 350 calories.


Each serving of Cheesy Rice Marinara contains approximately 35 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Cheesy Rice Marinara contains approximately 15 grams of fat.


Each serving of Cheesy Rice Marinara contains approximately 20 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Cheesy Rice Marinara is a good source of calcium, vitamin A, and iron.


This recipe contains dairy (ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and egg) and gluten (from the rice and spaghetti sauce).


Cheesy Rice Marinara is a balanced dish that provides a good mix of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals.


Cheesy Rice Marinara is a comforting and flavorful dish that is sure to become a family favorite. With its creamy cheese, tangy sauce, and fluffy rice, this recipe offers a delicious twist on traditional lasagna. Enjoy!

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I discovered this recipe for Cheesy Rice Marinara. It was a warm summer day, and I had just returned home from a trip to the farmer's market with a basket full of ripe tomatoes and fragrant herbs. As I unpacked my goodies, I couldn't help but feel inspired to create something delicious with them.

I decided to make a simple marinara sauce to pair with some leftover rice I had in the fridge. As I chopped the tomatoes and minced the garlic, the kitchen filled with the heavenly aroma of fresh herbs and vegetables. I added a sprinkle of cheese to the sauce, and as it melted and bubbled, the scent of warm, gooey cheese wafted through the air.

As I sat down to enjoy my creation, I was immediately struck by how comforting and satisfying it was. The combination of the tangy marinara sauce, the creamy cheese, and the fluffy rice was simply irresistible. I knew I had stumbled upon something special.

I couldn't wait to share this new recipe with my family and friends. I made it for Sunday dinner the following week, and everyone raved about how delicious it was. They couldn't get enough of the cheesy, tomatoey goodness, and begged me to make it again soon.

I started making Cheesy Rice Marinara regularly, tweaking the recipe here and there to suit my tastes. Sometimes I would add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, or stir in some fresh basil for a burst of freshness. Each time I made it, the dish brought smiles to the faces of those who enjoyed it.

Over the years, I shared the recipe with friends, neighbors, and even strangers who asked for it after tasting it at a potluck. It became a staple in my cooking repertoire, a dish that I could always rely on to bring joy to those around me.

As I reflect on how I learned to make Cheesy Rice Marinara, I realize that it wasn't just about following a set of instructions or ingredients. It was about the joy of creating something delicious and sharing it with others. It was about the memories made around the dinner table, the laughter shared, and the bonds strengthened over a shared love of good food.

I am grateful for the serendipitous moment that led me to discover this recipe, and for the many happy times it has brought to my life. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, a way to express my creativity and love for those around me. And Cheesy Rice Marinara will always hold a special place in my heart as a reminder of the joy that good food can bring.


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