This Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole is a hearty and creamy dish that satisfies that itch for comfort food while being completely healthy, gluten-free, and vegan!
It all started with a cheese sauce.
A lusciously creamy, impossibly cheesy, golden hued, velveeta-esque sauce that I was putting on everything.
Tortilla chips, check.
Baked potatoes, check.
Straight off the spoon, of course.
Stirring it into broccoli rice, check, check, CHECK.
I have about 10,0001 recipes with this cheese sauce that I could share with you today, but this one is theeeeee best. It is rich and creamy, healthy, and as comforting as snuggling with a brand new puppy.
PLUS, it is healthy. This Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole is packed with whole grains and a secret source of vegetables. Not only do we add broccoli into the casserole, but we sneak lots of vegetables in, with the cheese sauce.
This cheese sauce made with a base of carrots and potatoes, with a just handful of cashews. This keeps the sauce light with a richly creamy texture from the starchy potatoes and rich cashews. It is also lower calorie and lighter in fat than cashew-only sauces.
Lest you think these extra vegetables make this Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole taste anything remotely like health food, let me ease your fears. Just take a look at those photos. This is comfort food to the max. The rich creamy texture, hearty rice, and crunchy golden brown topping take us straight to comfort food town.
The topping may not be the absolute healthiest thing you could eat, but since we sneaked in so many vegetables, I think we can look the other way on this one. Use a quality whole grain bread, a quality oil, and you have nothing to make qualms about. Plus, that golden brown, buttery crunch is worth it.
Comfort + veggies.
This Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole is a hearty and creamy dish that satisfies that itch for comfort food while being completely healthy, gluten-free, and vegan! This quick dish only takes 30 minutes to make, including the time it takes to whip up the cheese sauce.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 cups riced broccoli
- 1 cup cheese sauce (recipe below)
- 2 slices gluten free bread, torn into pieces
- 2 teaspoons vegan butter OR oil of choice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Pinch white pepper
- Pinch salt
- In a food processor, add all of the topping ingredients. Process until well combined and the bread has become course breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the onions and sauté until translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add in the broccoli rice and sauté until softened and bright green. Stir in the rice and cook to warm. Add in the cheese sauce and warm through. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs. Set the oven broiler to high, and broil until the tops are golden brown. Serve.
This recipe calls for broccoli rice. I purchase my broccoli rice at Trader Joe's in the produce section. If you cannot find premade broccoli rice, you can make your own by pulsing peeled broccoli stems in the food processor until it is the size of rice OR you can substitute with cauliflower rice.
The cheese sauce recipe makes more than is required for the Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole. I recommend using it in one of the ways I list in the post above. You can't go wrong.
This easy 20 minute vegan cheese sauce is silky smooth, deeply cheesy, and a secret source of veggies!
- 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch white pepper
- Pinch salt
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in a big pinch of salt and the potatoes and carrots. Boil until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set aside. Strain the potatoes and carrots and add to a high speed blender.
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients and the 1/2 cup of reserved water. Blend until smooth.