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Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes

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Savory, Cheesy, and Comforting, this Broccoli Rice Casserole is loosely based on the chicken rice casserole I loved growing up. We are ditching the chicken and swapping for broccoli but keeping the cheesy flavor, creamy texture, and nostalgia in this classic family favorite casserole.

A fork serving up a delicious bite of Broccoli Rice Casserole in black bowl

Believe it or not, I was inspired to write this broccoli rice casserole recipe inspired by THIS story (click link) about two women feuding over the rights to their broccoli casserole! And further by this EXTREMELY hilarious TikTok video by user @lubalin (click to watch on YouTube). You really owe it to yourself to take a look! Don’t worry…the recipe will wait!

When I was developing this recipe I luckily had my mother’s cheesy chicken rice casserole recipe to rely on. With a few major swaps (broccoli for chicken and vegan cheese for dairy cheese) as well as a few minor adjustments, this creamy, cheesy, full of flavor Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole was born!

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A fork serving up a delicious bite of Broccoli Rice Casserole in black bowl with pinterest text ovelay

To make this recipe you will need:

  • broccoli florets (I get lazy and buy the 12 ounce bag – it’s the perfect amount)
  • uncooked white rice
  • sliced almonds
  • vegan butter
  • flour
  • unsweetened plant milk (I use oat milk)
  • one envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (surprisingly vegan at the time of this writing)
  • vegan cheese shreds (optional – I used Chao brand today)
  • panko bread crumbs (check ingredients – most are vegan)
  • nutritional yeast (affiliate link)
  • dry mustard
  • sweet paprika
  • black pepper
ingredients needed for Broccoli Rice Casserole including cut broccoli, oat milk, Lipton Onion Soup Mix, slivered almonds, vegan butter, vegan shredded cheese, uncooked rice, panko bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, dry mustard, paprika, ground pepper

How to make the BEST broccoli rice casserole

The broccoli part

Start by cutting the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. You can buy a couple of small crowns of broccoli or buy a 12 ounce bag pre-cut. I find even with the pre-cut broccoli, I still need to cut some of the larger pieces down and get rid of a few wonky stems.

Prepare the pan with a spritz of cooking spray, place a layer of broccoli in the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle the slivered almonds on top.

Do you have to use almonds? Certainly not. But it adds to the texture and protein value.

cut broccoli and slivered almonds in a prepared casserole dish

The sauce part and the rice

Start by making a roux of equal parts vegan butter and all-purpose flour. Melt the butter, stir in the flour, and cook for about two minutes. It will get nice a bubbly.

making a roux with vegan butter and flour

Next, I slowly pour in the plant milk I already have out and measured, whisking as I pour so that everything is nice and smooth.

Add the other dry ingredients except for the rice (you will be adding that later) along with the vegan cheese shreds.

adding vegan cheese to the sauce mixture

HINT: Make life easy on yourself and have all of the ingredients already measured and available so that you just have to dump them in.

Cook on med/high, stirring, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. This might take up to ten minutes. At this point, add the dry rice and continue to cook and stir for one more minute. You don’t want to cook the rice – you just want to get it started.

Finally, pour the cooked sauce mixture over the broccoli and almonds already in the casserole dish. The rice is going to be stubborn about coming out. Spoon it out of the pan and evenly tuck it around the broccoli pieces.

The topping and cooking part

This is the best part in my opinion! Make a nice soft buttery crumb topping with panko bread crumbs, melted vegan butter, paprika, and more nutritional yeast.

ingredients for crumb topping including panko bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, paprika, and melted vegan butter

Toss it together until everything is well mixed and evenly sprinkle on the top of the casserole. You will notice that the sauce mixture is still quit liquidy. That’s how it should be at this point. It will thicken up as the rice fully cooks and absorbs the liquid.

Broccoli Rice Casserole being placed in the oven
Notice that the casserole is still pretty liquidy before cooking.

Cover tightly with foil and place in the preheated oven. I use non-stick foil on all of my casseroles. If you don’t have non-stick foil, spritz the part that is against the food with a little cooking spray.

broccoli rice casserole covered with foil in the oven

Bake in a 350° oven for one hour. Then remove the foil and continue baking for another ten minutes. After you take it out of the oven, it might still have a tiny bit of liquid in the corners. Don’t worry about that, it will fully absorb as it sits and slightly cools for ten more minutes.

Scooping up a generous serving of Broccoli Rice Casserole from a glass casserole dish

Serving suggestions

This works great for meal prep. I can fill seven average-sized meal prep containers. We eat this as a main course and get 6-7 serving. If you eat it as a side dish, you will probably get more.

Broccoli Rice Casserole in black bowl

The printable recipe card:

Did you love this recipe? Want to share the love? It would thrill me if you could leave five ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars and even a comment. Did you know that this will help google to find this recipe when others are looking for something similar? Thanks, Cindy

A fork serving up a delicious bite of Broccoli Rice Casserole in black bowl

Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole (Vegan)

Fresh broccoli and long-grain white rice make the base for this vegan casserole, smoothered in a savory, cheesy plant-based sauce.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, meal prep
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broccoli rice casserole, vegan casserole
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
cooling/sitting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 7
Calories: 385kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Equipment

  • 9×13 pan
  • stove top
  • oven

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces broccoli florets about 6 cups
  • ½ cup slivered almonds see notes
  • ¼ cup vegan butter You will also need some for the crumb topping – see notes
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups plant milk see notes
  • 1 cup vegan cheese shreds optional
  • 1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix see notes
  • cup nutritional yeast You will also need some for the crumb topping
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cups long-grain white rice uncooked

Topping

  • ¼ cup vegan butter melted
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritioanl yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste – cayenne pepper is nice if you like a little spice.¾

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
    Cover the bottom and sides of a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  • Wash and cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces. If you are using prechopped broccoli, you might still want to cut down some of the larger pieces including long stems.
  • Add the cut broccoli to the prepared pan, spreading evenly so that the bottom of the casserole dish is covered. Sprinkle the slivered almonds evenly amongst the broccoli. Set aside while you are preparing the suace.
  • Measure out the other ingredients and have them handy.
  • On medium heat, melt ¼ cup vegan butter in a non-stick saucepan. Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour and continue cooking on medium heat until the flour is incorporatied and becomes thickend and bublly.
  • Add in the plant milk first- stiring until the butter/flour mixture has all been incorporated. Next, add the other ingredients EXCEPT for the rice:
    one envelope soup mix, nutritinal yeast, dry mustard, black pepper, vegan cheese shreds (if adding).
  • Continue cooking on med/high heat, stiring often until the sauce mixture comes to a gentle boil. If you are not using a non-stick pan then you will need to stir constantly in order to avoid the bottom of the pan sticking and burning. This might take up to 10 minutes.
  • Once the mixture comes to a gentle boil, add in the uncooked rice and continue cooking and stirring for one more minute. You don't want to cook the rice to completion – just get it started.
  • Pour the cooked sauce evenly over the broccoli pieces. Distribute the rice as evenly as possible. There will probably be semi-cooked rice in the bottom of the saucepan. Scoop it out and distribute evenly.

Topping

  • Melt the butter. I melt mine in the microwave for about one minute.
  • In a small/medium bowl, add the panko bread crumbs, melted butter, nutritional yeast, and sweet paprika. Toss around until the bread crumbs are well coated.
  • Sprinkle the prepared bread crumbs over the top of the casseole.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 350° oven. After one hour remove the foil and continue baking for ten more minutes. Any remaining liquid will be absorbed as the finished dish cools.

Notes

 
  1. If you are allergic to tree nuts then just leave the almonds out. I made it without almonds for a very long time. They just add a little extra texture and protein (and fat as well). ALSO if you serve this dish to others, do inform them of the nuts!!
  2. You will need a total of 1/2 cup vegan butter 1/4 cup for the sauce and 1/4 cup for the crumb topping. You may use tub butter or a stick. Using a stick makes it super easy to measure. Just cut the stick in half.
  3. The plant milk you choose should be unsweetened and plain (no vanilla). I choose oat milk because some unsweetened nut milks have a naturally sweet taste.
  4. The Lipton onion soup mix is vegan at the time of this writing. Please verify for yourself that it meets your eating ethics,
  5. The vegan cheese is optional. If you are new to plant-based eating and haven’t used vegan cheese before, you could leave it out until you have developed a taste for it. Also, since the vegan cheese is optional, it is not included in the nutrition information. 
  6. I use non-stick foil. If you do not use this type of foil, spritz the side you’ll be putting next to the casserole with cooking spray.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste when finished. If you are okay with a little spice, cayenne pepper adds a nice flavor. 
  8. This recipe makes 7 servings of just under 2 cups each.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 991IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 2mg

By on June 9th, 2021

About Cindy Rainey

Veggie Fun Kitchen by Cindy Rainey
Welcome to Veggie Fun Kitchen where you will learn to recreate family favorites the plant-based/vegan way! Let me know if I can help. I'm here for you.

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