Simple Baked Italian Meatballs and Rice Casserole

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Average Rating: 4.5 | Rated By: 7 users

This Italian Meatballs and Rice Casserole requires almost no effort. Shape the meatballs, briefly cook with tomatoes, onions and basil, pour over rice and cheese and bake. Finishing with a good sprinkle of cheese that melts right into the rice and the flavourful sauce.

The best part about this gluten-free Italian dinner, there is nothing to it! For big appetites, I like to add a green salad or warm gluten-free butter rolls.


meatballs and rice casserole

What is Italian Sausage Meat?

Italian sausage meat is typically added to pasta dishes. The sausage mixture is a combination of ground pork shoulder, fennel seeds, garlic, chilli pepper, salt and pepper. The meat comes in spicy or sweet (mild) flavour and is usually gluten-free.

We all have nights when we need a family meal that takes almost no effort. This Simple Baked Italian Meatballs and Rice Casserole is precisely that. The meatballs are made with gluten-free sausage meat, finely grated carrots and chopped mushrooms. The veggies not only add healthiness but also keep the meatballs tender without adding bread crumbs.

make the meatballs,

meatballs and rice casserole


To make the meatballs and sauce is simple. First, briefly brown the meatballs, then set them aside. Using the same skillet, saute the onions, then add the meatballs, tomatoes, seasoning and broth. Cook the meatballs for about 5 minutes. The meatballs are already seasoned, adding extra flavour to the sauce while they are simmering.


Italian meatballs


The casserole is layered in a baking dish with rice, cheese, meatballs and the sauce. Just before the Italian Meatballs and Rice Casserole is finished baking, add a good sprinkle of cheese and bake for a few more minutes until the cheese is melted. Done!


meatballs and rice casserole


Italian food, especially freshly made meatballs, is a big hit in our home. In this gluten-free Italian dish, the rice has a texture almost like a risotto – saucy rice. The entire casserole is made simple, yet the flavours are outstanding.


gluten-free casserole


If you love Italian food, you should check out my three favourite Gluten-Free Italian Recipes.

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  • 1 lb. gluten-free Italian sausage meat (most stores have GF sausage meat, or you can get it from a butcher shop) I used spicy Italian, but you can get mild if you don't like spicy
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 5 button mushrooms, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil plus some to oil the casserole dish
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups GF beef or chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. GF dried basil or oregano
  • 1 tsp. Sweetener (maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese blend (cheddar and mozzarella work well)
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  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and brush a 2 1/2- to a 3-quart baking dish with cooking oil
  • In a medium bowl, mix sausage meat with carrots and mushrooms and shape into meatballs
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, turning as needed, but don't disturb it too much. Transfer meatballs onto a plate and set aside
  • To the same skillet, add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. About 4 - 5 minutes. If needed, add a splash of olive oil. Add the meatballs, tomatoes, broth, basil, sweetener and salt. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. This sauce is not thick. It is more like a broth for the rice to cook in 
  • Layer the bottom of the baking dish with rice and 1/2 cup of cheese. Add the meatballs with the sauce and cover with a lid or foil paper—Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and top with remaining cheese. Continue baking for 5 - 10 more minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately 
  • Leave a Comment

    4 Responses to Simple Baked Italian Meatballs and Rice Casserole

    • David December 9, 2020

      Great recipe! Thanks for that.

      • Kristina December 10, 2020

        thank you for sharing

    • Robert. J October 14, 2021

      so easy, perfect for Monday night, thanks

      • Kristina October 15, 2021

        glad you enjoyed it Robert, thank you

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