Make the Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce first using directions below.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium sized sauce pan, saute onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and celery in veggie broth. Cook until slightly tender, approximately 3 minutes.
Add the broccoli florets and cook another 3 minutes.
Stir in chickpeas, brown rice, 2 cups of the cheese sauce, almonds (if using), and spices. Save the remaining 1 cup of cheese sauce for topping.
Mix thoroughly and remove from heat.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish, pressing in with spoon to fill the pan. Drizzle the remaining 1 cup of cheese sauce over the top. I like to sprinkle a little more smoked paprika on top. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Once completely cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool.
Serve warm and enjoy!
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
In medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender, approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.
When veggies are tender, drain and place them in blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
Now, it’s ready to use in this casserole or anything else you need a creamy, cheesy sauce in. It makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.