Wild Rice, Spinach and Fontina Casserole

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This meatless casserole is amazing at any time of the year, but when it’s cold outside, there’s nothing much more satisfying.  

We just love the nutty flavor of wild rice and of course the beauty of sautéd spinach combined with luxurious fontina cheese. Mix in some sauteed onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and and then topped with almonds – all baked to yummy, gooey perfection. And it can easily be prepared in advance!

A straight-on view of an oval white baking dish partially filled with a wild rice, spinach, and fontina casserole and a serving spoon sitting in the open area of the dish.

How To Make Wild Rice, Spinach, and Fontina Casserole.


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The Ingredients You Will Need

The ingredients in this flavorful casserole are straight-forward and easy to find. We provide some substitutions for you below, if necessary. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

Wild rice – Actually, we love using a wild rice blend. Our favorite is Royal Blend and can be found in most supermarkets or online.
Stock or broth – You can go with chicken or vegetable. We love to cook our rice in chicken (or vegetable) stock, but you could substitute water, if desired.
Spinach – Fresh, mature is best. Baby spinach can be used. If going with frozen, allow it to completely thaw and then squeeze out excess water.
Oil – Olive oil or extra-virgin oil.
Thyme – Fresh is recommended, but dried will work, too. If using dried, go with 1 tsp.
Nutmeg – Freshly grated is great, but ground works perfectly, too.
Flour – All-purpose.
Milk – Preferably whole. Half and half or even heavy (or double) cream can be substituted.
Sun-dried tomatoes – In oil, roughly chopped. (Drained).
Fontina cheese – Other wonderful substitutions are Gruyere, Gouda, Swiss. Mozzarella would work, too, but not be quite as rich.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.
Almonds – Sliced work best. Chopped pecans would be a decent substitution.

EXPERT TIP: Be sure to follow the cooking instructions on the rice packaging. As mentioned, we love to cook the rice in chicken broth or vegetable broth. It adds a depth of flavor to the casserole that is wonderful. The rice can be made hours in advance.

A large wooden spoon being used to lift up a large helping of a cooked wild rice medley over a saucepan filled with the rice.

Tips for Making Perfect Wild Rice, Spinach, and Fontina Casserole

Don’t Overcook the Rice – Cook the wild rice blend until it is tender but still has a slight bite, ensuring it doesn’t become mushy in the casserole.

Sauté the Spinach Carefully – Cook the spinach in the olive oil until it is just wilted, preserving its vibrant color and fresh flavor in the casserole. When adding the flour, continue cooking for another minute.

Go with Quality Ingredients – This casserole is best when the ingredients are top-notch and fresh. Don’t skimp on the rice, spinach, or cheese. Whole milk is highly recommended. This has a “special occasion” taste and appearance.

Watch the Almonds – Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of the casserole just before baking to add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor to the finished dish. Don’t let them burn, though. Once they start brown, the casserole should be ready.

EXPERT TIP: Be sure to whisk constantly as you add the milk and stock to the flour/roux mixture. Continue whisking or stirring with a large wooden spoon until all lumps are no longer visible.

A person pouring whole milk from a glass measuring cup into a skillet that is filled with sautéed spinach, onion, and garlic.

How To Serve

The flavor profile of this casserole is pure comfort and it makes it an ideal (and unique) side dish during the holiday season.

It is a filling casserole and can absolutely be served as a main (and vegetarian) course.

If feeding more than four guests, the recipe can easily be doubled.

A person sprinkling almond slivers over the top of an oval baking dish that is filled with wild rice, spinach, and fontina cheese.

Other Amazing Side Dish Recipes to Try

Although this casserole can also be served as a main dish, it is really spectacular as a scene-stealing side dish. Here are a few more stellar side dishes that will give the main dish a run for its money!

Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Dried Cranberries
Gourmet Green Bean Casserole
Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes
Fondant (Melting) Potatoes
Crispy Hasselback Potatoes
Potatoes Dauphinoise (French Gratin)
Roasted Cauliflower with Olives and Lemon
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
Stewed Okra and Tomatoes
Maple Braised Carrots
Cream of Corn Casserole
Easy Herbed Rice Pilaf with Toasted Pecans

These are absolutely amazing and perfect for that special meal. But, in the meantime, isn’t this epic meatless casserole calling your name?

An overhead view of a baked casserole that is topped with melty fontina cheese and lightly browned almond slivers.

This casserole is even more delicious as it is gorgeous in presentation.

The flavors work perfectly together and the slight crunch from the toasty almond slices delivers superior texture.

As mentioned, this is glorious to serve for a special holiday feast, but it’s so good and easy to prepare, it’s perfect for any occasion at any time of the year!

A close-up view of a large spoon lifting up a steaming helping of wild rice, spinach, and fontina casserole.

We’ve never served this once when guests didn’t rave about it and immediately wanted the recipe.

Even meat-loving folks flip for the casserole. It is hearty and so fulfilling.

And it reheats in the oven (or even the microwave) perfectly. Leftovers are even better the next day!

Grilled chicken and this incredible casserole make one of the most delicious meals you’ll ever prepare!

An overhead view of a white dinner plate filled with a grilled chicken breast that has been sliced and is sitting next to a helping of wild rice, spinach, and fontina casserole.

Ready to make the most delicious meatless casserole in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag @HowToFeedaLoon!

A close-up view of a large spoon lifting up a steaming helping of wild rice, spinach, and fontina casserole.

Wild Rice, Spinach and Fontina Casserole

This casserole is so fulfilling and great for a special occasion or any night of the week. You can prepare the dish up to 3 days ahead...just cover it and keep it in the fridge. Uncover and bake when ready to serve. Amazing!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Casserole, casserole recipe with wild rice and spinach
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 283kcal


  • 2 to 2½ quart baking dish, or 8x8" dish


  • 1 cup wild rice blend uncooked, approximately 2½ cups once cooked, see NOTES
  • cups chicken broth or vegetable, divided, see NOTES
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme fresh, chopped
  • ½ tsp nutmeg ground
  • 8 oz spinach fresh, mature, washed with stems removed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk whole
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, chopped
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese shredded, and divided into 2 half cups.
  • cooking spray
  • ¼ cup almonds sliced


  • Cook rice according to packaging instructions. If desired, cook with chicken or vegetable broth (instead of water). Set aside.
    1 cup wild rice blend, 2½ cups chicken broth
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme and nutmeg and cook another minute.
    ¼ cup olive oil, 1 medium onion, 1 tbsp thyme, ½ tsp nutmeg
  • Add the spinach and cook until completely wilted, about 3 minutes.
    8 oz spinach
  • Sprinkle the flour over the spinach and stir, cooking for another minute.
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Carefully whisk in the milk and 1 cup of broth. Continue whisking and then stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce has thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper.
    1 cup milk, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Stir in the rice, sun-dried tomatoes, and ½ of the cheese (½ cup).
    ⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes, 1 cup Fontina cheese
  • Lightly grease the baking dish with cooking spray.
    cooking spray
  • Transfer mixture to dish and top with remaining ½ cup of cheese and then sprinkle on the almonds.
    ¼ cup almonds
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
  • Let the casserole rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
We recommend a wild rice medley. However, check the packaging instructions on how long to cook the rice. Wild rice cooks much longer than most other types. 
You can cook the rice in chicken or vegetable broth/stock, or just water. If using water, you'll only need 1 cup of broth/stock for this recipe. Also, you can substitute Swiss or Gruyere cheese for the Fontina.
If using frozen spinach, allow it to thaw completely first and then squeeze as much of the water out of it as possible. 
The casserole can be assembled 1 to 3 days before baking. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to bake (if chilled, you may need to bake it an extra 10 to 15 minutes - keep an eye on the almonds, if they are getting two brown, cover with foil.
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven (350°F) until heated through, or heat in the microwave on HIGH in 1-minute intervals.  The casserole can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Let thaw completely before baking. 


Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 597mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3923IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This post was originally published in January 2016, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in January 2024!


  • 5 stars
    In the instructions, it says to “cook the spinach with garlic,” a step which I missed b/c it wasn’t on the list on ingredients nor in the directions. It was fabulous without the garlic, though. I added some leftover sliced turkey breast on top (before the nuts) and it was sublime.

    • Hi Margo! Thanks so much for the heads up about the garlic! We tested it both ways, and ended up deciding the end result was good without the garlic! That somehow got into the blog post! We are so so happy you made the casserole and loved it! It is one of our favorites, for sure! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the wonderful review! That means the world to us! Please stay in touch!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Guys thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I did use brown rice as I needed to use some up and also frozen spinach and it was so tasty! I love the Fontina and that is the first time I have had it but it won’t be the last. I will be adding this to my menu rotation.

    Also I agree with Leslie’s post above of how enjoyable it is to see y’all cooking and how much fun you make it! You really should be on something like Magnolia Network or the Food Network! Thanks again for your inspiration in cooking and all the yummy dishes you help us bring to our tables and doing all in such a delightful manner!

    • Lin! Thank you so so much for your kinds words. That honestly warms our hearts so much! And we are THRILLED you made the casserole and loved it! Sounds like you prepared it perfectly! And THANK YOU for sharing and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!!! We appreciate you! Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I have made a version of this and this looks even better! The fontina cheese is excellent for melting.. this is a great combination ( I have in the past used gruyere and the sliced almonds on the top)

    I just love you guys and I want to see you on the cooking channel.. food network.. or even PBS channel 11 in Chicago.

    You have great chemistry and you are engaging and make cooking very FUN!

    It takes me back to Justin Wilson on Channel 11 Chicago growing up! I am in my 50’s and he always finished his cooking endeavors with vino! How fabulous! His accent and personality kept me watching as a 11 year old girl!

    The movie …The Four Seasons.. in the beginning when they are all cooking the elaborate Chinese meal…
    Actor Len Cariou says to Alan Alda and Jack Weston…

    “ I just spent 4 hours chopping this into little pieces, I am not just going to EAT it .. I am going to make love to it!
    You keep talking and I will eat yours!! “

    I think this type of narrative is why I have a passion for cooking (they even discuss the next cooking project in a boat on a lake drinking wine and eating cheese and bread ( 1981).

    You TWO help instill that passion in every person who has the pleasure of How to feed a Loon recipes and videos.

    God Bless and keep the great recipes coming and keep having FUN .. life has become all too serious for many and you bring the joy into my life with your humor and verve!

    • Leslie! We can’t even find the words to say how much your words to us means to us!! (If that makes sense!). We do have a passion for what we do, but mostly, we have a passion for sharing happiness and love and fills our hearts to hear from home cooks who feel good about what we have to offer! You are no doubt an amazing cook, Leslie! Please stay in touch and stay tuned…so much more fun and food is on the way!! xoxoxo Kris & Wesley

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