Warm, creamy, and cheesy, this vegan Broccoli Casserole is amazingly delicious and perfect for dinner or taking to social functions.
This broccoli casserole with rice was inspired by a recipe I came across from Susan Voisin with Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen. Since I have my own Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce, I used it and tweaked a few of the spices to make this delicious, broccoli rice recipe that keeps the whole family happy.
We love this vegan casserole because it’s…
- Perfect for family gatherings
- Easy to make a day ahead
- Can even be made in a crockpot
- Super filling
- Simply delicious
Both my husband and I come from big families that get together for lunch after church on Sundays. Everyone brings a couple of dishes, and we enjoy time eating, laughing, and playing with the kids and grandkids. Casseroles are perfect for those kinds of days!
Broccoli casserole ingredients
Made with onions, garlic, broccoli, red bell pepper, celery, chickpeas, brown rice, and spices, and no-cheese sauce, this recipe has a punch of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
How to make vegan broccoli casserole
This healthy broccoli casserole takes just a little bit of time to prepare and is well worth the effort.
Making vegan cheese sauce
Personally, I think the magic ingredient is my Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce because it adds such a nutty, cheesy, creamy texture and taste. Not only is it combined in the actual ingredients, but it’s also drizzled over the top before baking.
You will want to make this cheese sauce first thing. It’s really easy to make and even freezes well. I usually already have some on hand in my freezer which shortens the steps to making any of my recipes that require cheese such as nachos, hash brown casserole, and scalloped potatoes.
Making this terrific cheese sauce is as simple as boiling a pot of potatoes, onions, and carrots, adding them to a blender with cashews (or white beans), spices, and blending it until smooth.
I have a Vitamix blender and so don’t take the time to soak my cashews. That thing is powerful and everything that goes into it comes out creamy. However, if your blender isn’t jet engine speed, soaking the cashews in warm water for at least 30-minutes before adding to this recipe will help this recipe come out more creamy.
This recipe makes a little more sauce than you actually need for the casserole, so you’ll have some leftover to try with other recipes.
Once the cheese sauce is complete, set it to the side.
Making the broccoli casserole
Begin by fully cooking the brown rice and, if you aren’t using already cooked canned chickpeas, you will need to cook the beans as well.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper. If making in a crockpot, select low heat.
Dice the veggies that you’re going to need for this recipe.
I am often asked what knives I use and recommend for cooking, and my favorite brand is Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery. Yes, that’s the same company that makes the Swiss Army Knife. These knives come with a lifetime guarantee and are very reasonably priced. I absolutely love mine.
In a medium-sized saucepan, saute the 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 cooked 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 the prepared baking dish, pressing in with a 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. If making in a slow cooker, set to low and allow to cook for approximately 1-1/2 hours.
Once completely cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool a bit. Serve warm and enjoy!
Vegan casseroles just make things easier! I can put this casserole together a day ahead and just pop it in the oven Sunday morning without all of the fuss, rushing around, and clean up. It makes the day more enjoyable, and unhurried time with family is precious!
If preferred, it can even be cooking in a crockpot. That way you can leave and go to church or to do errands and come back to a fully cooked dish ready to eat.
*Originally published November 29, 2017.
Tips for making this recipe
Assemble this vegan broccoli casserole ahead of time and refrigerate for baking later. I love to do this on Saturdays because it makes Sunday lunch after church a breeze to pull together.
Use any leftover cheese sauce on baked potatoes, steamed veggies, pizza, and anything else you can think of.
Cheese sauce keeps in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 7+ days.
Other great broccoli recipes include:
- Vegan Quiche Casserole
- Vegan Cheddar Broccoli Soup
- Tempeh Broccoli Saute
- Broccoli Salad
- Healthy Vegan Casseroles
- 4 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
- 3/4 cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 3-4 Tbps veggie broth
- 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
- 3 cups brown rice, cooked
- 3 cups Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce, (recipe below)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dry steak seasoning
- 2 Tbsp slivered almonds, optional
- salt & pepper to taste
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup carrots, diced
- 1/4 cup onions, diced
- 1 cup broth from veggies
- 1/2 cup raw cashews (or 1/2 cup white beans)
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1/2 pinch cayenne pepper, optional
- 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. If making in a crockpot, select low heat.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, 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 a prepared baking dish, pressing in with a 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. If making in a slow cooker, set to low and allow to cook for approximately 1-1/2 hours.
- Once completely cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce
- In a 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 a 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 for up to 2 weeks.
Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 4.2gCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 11gProtein: 16.6g
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