Vegan Broccoli Casserole

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Warm, creamy, and cheesy, this Vegan Broccoli Casserole is amazingly delicious and perfect for dinner or taking to social functions.

colorful dish with a slice of vegan broccoi rice casserole and a fork.

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
  • Vegetable-Packed
  • Super filling
  • Crowd-pleasing
  • 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!

overhead photo of broccoli casserole on colorful plate and another smaller blue plate with bowl of broccoli at top

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.

slice of vegan broccoli casserole on colorful plate with whole casserole dish in background

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.

The recipe card at the bottom of the page has the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions.

Step #1 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 with 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 vegan bean nachoshash brown casserole, and dairy-free 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), and spices, and blending it until smooth. 

vegan cheese sauce in blender

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.

Step #2 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 the oven to 350°F and line a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with parchment paper. If making in a crockpot, select low heat. 

parchment paper lining an empty casserole dish

Dice the veggies that you’re going to need for this recipe.

I am often asked which knives I use personally, and I have to say that it is Victorinox. They are the same company that makes Swiss Army Knives and the quality is excellent.

In a medium-sized saucepan, saute the onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and celery in veggie broth. Cook until slightly tender, approximately 3 minutes.

diced celerly, onion, garlic, red bell pepper in stainless pan

Add the broccoli florets and cook for another 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked chickpeas, brown rice, 2 cups of cheese sauce, almonds (if using), and spices. Save the remaining 1 cup of cheese sauce for topping.

rice, broccoli, chickpeas, veggies, and vegan cheese sauce in pan

Mix thoroughly and remove from heat.

Pour the 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.

broccoli casserole in glass baking dish before baked white background

Place in oven and bake for 25 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!

overhead shot of casserole dish filled with vegan broccoli and rice casserole cooked

Vegan casseroles

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 cleanup. It makes the day more enjoyable, and unhurried time with family is precious!

We have several vegan casseroles that you might want to try like our vegan hash brown casserole and healthy dairy-free sweet potato casserole.

If preferred, it can even be cooked in a crockpot. That way you can leave and go to church or do errands and come back to a fully cooked dish ready to eat.

broccoli and rice casserol on green plate with broccoli in background
Vegan Broccoli Casserole

*Originally published November 29, 2017.

Tips for making this recipe

  • Make ahead- 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.
  • Cheese sauce- Use any leftover cheese sauce on baked potatoes, steamed veggies, pizza, and anything else you can think of.
  • Storage- Cheese sauce keeps in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 7+ days.
vegan broccoli casserole served on colorful plate on wooden table

Other great broccoli recipes include:

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

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vegan broccoli casserole serving on colorful plate with casserole dish in background
4.57 from 83 votes

Vegan Broccoli Casserole

Casseroles just make things easier! I can make this vegan broccoli casserole recipe a day ahead and just pop it in the oven Sunday morning without all of the fuss, rushing around, and clean up.
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

Casserole

  • 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 tablespoons veggie broth
  • 1 cup chickpeas cooked
  • 3 cups brown rice cooked
  • 3 cups Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry steak seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons 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 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pinch paprika
  • 1/2 pinch cayenne pepper optional

Instructions

Casserole

  • 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 25 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.

Video

Notes

Tips for making this recipe
  • Make ahead- 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.
  • Cheese sauce- Use any leftover cheese sauce on baked potatoes, steamed veggies, pizza, and anything else you can think of.
  • Storage- Cheese sauce keeps in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 7+ days.

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 16.6g | Fat: 4.2g | Fiber: 11g

Disclaimer

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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About Terri Edwards

Hi guys! I am the content creator behind EatPlant-Based and a licensed Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. I am passionate about sharing healthy recipes and tips to empower others to get healthy.  I’m so glad you’re here! Read More…

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78 Comments

  1. Hi Terri, So glad I stumbled upon your site. I am enjoying trying your recipes. Your BBQ Lil Smokies are in the Crock Pot as I write this.

    I was wondering if you have you ever tried freezing this recipe for later use. I wanted to make ahead of time for a trip we are planning. I will have an oven button all the other items I would need. Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Robyn- I’m so glad you stumbled upon my site as well. Welcome! Though I haven’t tried freezing the lil smokey carrots, I don’t see any reason that would be a problem. I would love to hear how they turn out if you give it a try.

  2. I love this recipe!! The cheese sauce is so good and easy – it can be used for so many different things! I love mushrooms so I added 1lb of mushrooms and cut the rice to 2 cups

  3. Although everyone will probably say that there are never any leftovers, I was wondering if anyone had experience with freezing the leftovers? Thanks.

  4. I was looking for a new and different recipe to try than the regular rotation I’ve been making during the stay-at-home coronavirus time. This was excellent! It is a multiple step recipe with cooking rice, making sauce, cooking vegetables, and baking the casserole, but worth the effort in the end.

  5. Hi Terri,

    Our family just started plant-based eating a few weeks ago. I had a third-world supply of broccoli and stumbled upon your recipe. Delicious! I made it per the directions and my husband and boys could not believe how filling and yummy it tasted. Even my 15 year-old, who doesn’t normally enjoy broccoli, had another helping. This recipe is a keeper. The cheese sauce is the star!

  6. Hi Terri!

    I have been plant based for over 2 years. I do prepare many of your recipes as every single one is wonderful! I do have to say though that this Vegan Broccoli Casserole is by far my favorite recipe of any I make….out of all your recipes and all vegan sites!!! It is both a healthy and comforting casserole at the same time. Thank you for another out of the ballpark recipe!!!
    Judy

    1. Hi Judy- Thank you so much! This broccoli casserole is a favorite of mine as well. I think it’s the cheese sauce combined with the broccoli that I love so much. I really appreciate you letting me know how much you enjoy it!

  7. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON USING FROZEN VEGGIES INSTEAD OF FRESH? I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE IT THE NIGHT BEFORE AND POP IT IN THE OVEN THE NEXT DAY. AND IF SO WHEN SHOULD I ADD THE CHEESE? JUST PRE-PLANNING HERE!! THANK YOU.

    1. I think frozen veggies would work just fine. I would suggest assembling the whole casserole at one time–adding the cheese and all–then pop it in the oven the next day if desired. Hope you enjoy it!

  8. Thank you for sharing this recipe! The vegan cheez sauce is clearly the star of the show here! It’s evident you’ve worked to really perfect it and I appreciate that! I made both the sauce and casserole exactly as written, except I omitted the slivers almonds as I didn’t have any. We all loved the cheez sauce, especially my 8 year old who is dairy free for medical reasons. I had issues with it making enough. I only got a 2 cup yield vs a quart and I made it twice following the directions and still only got 2 cups each time I made it. The flavor and texture were perfect though, I ended up adding veggie stock the first go round to thin it out to make sure I had enough for the casserole recipe. The second time I made the sauce, I cut the salt in half and doubled the garlic powder, to me that was better, next time I will try to cut the salt further and add some dijion mustard to give it a sharper taste. The casserole itself was good but not suited to my personal tastes. It definitely would have benefited from the almonds, so I’ll keep that in mind for the future. Next time I will increase the veggies, maybe do corn, broccoli, mushrooms amd carrots, and try different seasoning combos. I love chick peas, but I didn’t love them in this, not sure why…maybe cause I used canned? Next time I’ll probably skip them or cook my own. Overall this was a solid recipe that my family enjoyed and I appreciate having a great starting point to customize to my own family’s preferences. Thank you again for sharing!?

  9. Hi ! I’m making this for tomorrow and have everything in the casserole .when I bake it tomorrow doI bake it covered or uncovered for the 30 minutes? Thanks so much!

  10. Is there another option for the vegan cheese sauce? I’m allergic to cashews and have acid reflux and am unable to eat any type of potatoes. I’m new to changing my way of eating and am still learning.

    1. Yes, there are a number of spices added including paprika and nutritional yeast. The full recipe with ingredients, measurements, instructions, and print card can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.

  11. This looks really delicious and healthy! I can’t wait to try this. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  12. Do you mean that I should cook 1 cup of dry chickpeas and cook 3 cups of brown rice? Or do you mean 1 cup cooked chickpeas an 3 cups cooked brown rice?

    1. Hi Janet,
      Yes, both the chickpeas and rice should be cooked before adding to this recipe. You can use canned chickpeas that are already cooked, if you like. If you are like me, I oftentimes have cooked chickpeas and rice leftovers in the refrigerator already. The measurements should be after they are cooked. Hope you enjoy the casserole!

  13. I made this for dinner tonight and both my husband and I really liked it. I left out the chickpeas because he doesn’t like them. He is suspicious of many vegan recipes and I was careful to tell him it was a broccoli rice casserole. After dinner, he said again that he like it. Thanks for the recipe.

4.57 from 83 votes (77 ratings without comment)

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