salt and pepper to taste - cayenne pepper is nice if you like a little spice.¾
Preheat the oven to 350°Cover the bottom and sides of a 9x13 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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
The Lipton onion soup mix is vegan at the time of this writing. Please verify for yourself that it meets your eating ethics,
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.
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.
Salt and pepper to taste when finished. If you are okay with a little spice, cayenne pepper adds a nice flavor.
This recipe makes 7 servings of just under 2 cups each.