Looking for an easy, cheesy, creamy, dreamy plant-based comfort food? Why not try our yummy vegan broccoli rice casserole today! 

Casseroles are always the perfect thing to enjoy on weeknight or movie nights! The brown rice and broccoli are smothered in the creamy cheese sauce and baked until golden. The amount of nutrition and deliciousness makes it a perfect dinner-time recipe.   

Do you know how much children love rice and cheesy sauce? It is satisfying to see when the kids look really happy whenever they get their favorite food at the dinner table.    

If you are like me, I just love these easy to prepare dishes that can feed lots of people, and you will have more time to focus on making a stew, salad, and dessert. I find that one of my curry dishes, like my Vegan Chickpea Curry or Zucchini and Peas Curry, taste amazing with this easy vegan broccoli rice casserole dish.

The flavor of the cheesy vegan sauce with the rice and broccoli gives a homecooked, comforting feel that brings back memories of my mom’s cooking. This Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole is made with nutritional yeast for its cheesy flavor. I used organic brown rice instead of white for its added fiber and nutrients. You can substitute cooked quinoa with cooked brown rice.

Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole is that comforting dish ideal for serving a large crowd; that summer BBQ, Thanksgiving dinner, is just a perfect way to use up leftover rice and even frozen broccoli.

Why You Will Love This Amazing Dish!

  • It is super cheesy, stretchy, and melty, making this dish top-notch and addictive. 
  • A vegan, healthy, and vegetarian-friendly casserole that is naturally plant-based, gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free. 
  • It is a great way to influence your kids to eat more broccoli. I mean, who will reject this dreamy, cheesy plate of deliciousness?  
  • Brown rice goes amazing with broccoli. It makes my stomach growl whenever I prepare this dish.  
  • I think cheese sauce is an amazing casserole ingredient as it adds more flavors to the dish. The nutty, cheesy, creamy taste of it is a gem.  

This Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole is a healthy version that is a must-try and it is also oil-free. Other vegan casseroles to prepare are Vegan Cauliflower Casserole, Vegan Green Bean Casserole, and Mexican Style Quinoa Casserole.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole in a white casserole dish on a cutting board with a serving spoon holding a portion

Broccoli Health Benefits

Broccoli is a flavorful vegetable that is high in a variety of nutrients. It is referred to as one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables worldwide. When making a diet that includes green vegetables, broccoli is one of the first vegetables that come to our mind. It is a type of edible green plant that belongs to the cabbage family.

Broccoli has purple or green flower buds, depending on the variety. It is similar to cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, as this is a member of the brassica family and can be eaten whether cooked or raw.

Improves Heart Health

As stated by Nutrition Research, eating steamed broccoli can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering total cholesterol levels in the body. Another study in the United States discovered that eating more vegetables, particularly brassica vegetables such as broccoli, can decrease the risk of heart disease.

Reduce Cancer Risks

Sulforaphane is a phytochemical that gives broccoli its slightly bitter flavor, and also it is one of its most important components. Sulforaphane has been found in studies to aid in the detoxification of airborne pollutants like cigarette smoke and lessen the risk of some malignancies.

According to new research, broccoli may offer anti-cancer capabilities, which can lower the risk of prostate cancer.

The cancer-fighting chemicals are considerably more concentrated in broccoli sprouts. Broccoli seeds can be easily sprouted on your windowsill, just like cress.

Good for Eye Health

Carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and lutein from broccoli decrease the risk of any age-related eye disorders. You can avoid macular degeneration and cataract if you consume enough broccoli. Broccoli also has beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our body.

Support Hormonal Balance

Broccoli has indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), a plant compound commonly found in brassica vegetables. 

This compound operates as a plant estrogen and assists in balancing hormones by controlling estrogen levels. Both women and men can reduce reproductive and breast cancer risk.

Boosts Immune System

Broccoli is high in sulfur which can help to enhance our gastrointestinal health and immune system. The sulfur promotes the formation of glutathione, which is essential to maintain and repair the gut lining. Glutathione acts throughout the body as an antioxidant, protecting cells from inflammatory damage.

Improve Heart Health

Sulforaphane is one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) found in broccoli, and it is known to have anti-inflammatory qualities that may help in important parts. They can help to avoid some of the damage to blood vessel linings caused by inflammation caused by persistent blood sugar issues. 

Broccoli is good for your heart because it includes fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins that assist the body in regulating blood pressure. This also aids in the reduction of harmful cholesterol, resulting in a good healthy heart. 

I have been excited about preparing yummy oil-free recipes as I turn a new chapter in my life. I’m almost 50 and I’m getting more serious about my health lately. 

For the last 10 years, I have had the joy of sharing my recipes on this platform. The recipes are what I have been serving my family and if you have been on this journey with me you know by my recipes that I’m committed to sharing flavorful recipes.
I embark on sharing healthier oil-free recipes that do not compromise in flavor. Some of the things, I have implemented in my personal life are:

  • Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning. Drinking 8 glasses water daily. 
  • Walking outdoor for 1 hour every day and taking a mini walk after each meal. 
  • Eating 2 meals daily,  paying attention to proper food combinations. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables like broccoli. 
  • Taking vitamin and herbal supplementation, for zinc, magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C. Wild yam cream on my skin for hormonal balance.
  • I have been eating fewer grains and when I do, I dextrinize them before cooking or cook for longer. 
  • I have been cooking my beans for longer than recommended. 
  • Going to bed at 10 p.m. every night. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole Ingredients

  • Broccoli
  • Salt
  • Cashews – you can substitute with sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a nut-free version.
  • Water
  • Red Bell Pepper – you can substitute with cooked carrots. 
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes  – adds a cheesy flavor. I use the Frontier Herbs brand.
  • Tahini
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Power
  • Paprika
  • Parsley

Ingredients broccoli and cheese sauce in a blender

How To Cook Gluten-Free Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole?

  1. Make the sauce
  2. Saute the vegetables
  3. Add rice and sauce
  4. Bake until bubbly
  5. Serve
  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Spray 9×13 casserole pan or lightly grease and set aside.
  2. Wash broccoli, break off the florets from the stems. I peeled the stems and cut in slices for the added fiber and nutrients.
  3. Steam broccoli florets and stems with salt and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Make vegan cheese sauce, in a high-speed blender, add cashews, water, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Process until the sauce is creamy.
  5. Pour vegan cheese sauce over steamed broccoli florets and mix to coat.
  6. Spread broccoli in the casserole pan, sprinkle top with paprika, and parsley.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly.
  8. Serve immediately.

Chef’s Tips:

  • Substitute fresh broccoli for frozen broccoli florets.

broccoli cheese casserole in white casserole dish before baking

Why Should You Eat Brown Rice?

 

Rice has been the primary crop all around the world for many centuries. Brown rice is a dehusked and unpolished rice that is made by ejecting the outer shell of the rice kernel, known as the hull. Brown rice’s nutritional content is preserved thanks to this method. It has a nutty taste and a chewier texture than white rice.

When it comes to nutritional content, brown rice is superior to white rice. This superfood is calorie-free, fat-free, and gluten-free. Consequently, this rice is preferred over white rice by anyone attempting to reduce weight.

However, the nutritional benefits of brown rice may persuade you to adopt gradual dietary modifications. Here are some brown rice health benefits that you should know,

  • Brown rice is filled with fibers which can make us stay full for an extended time; as a result, we will eat less food and gain less weight.
  • This rice is beneficial for us in controlling blood sugar levels as they have a low glycemic index.
  • Brown rice contains fibers that assist in keeping bowel movements regular and control our digestive motions.
  • The oil included in brown rice has been shown to significantly lower bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol.
  • Brown rice can assist in reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive impairment.
  • Brown rice is high in magnesium and calcium, which are beneficial to our bone health.

Other Vegan Broccoli Recipes To Prepare

  1. Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole
  2. Vegan Broccoli Fritters
  3. Tofu Broccoli Skillet
  4. Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup
  5. Curry Quinoa Broccoli Recipe
  6. Broccoli Hummus
  7. Roasted Sweet Potato And Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Cheese Casserole in a white casserole dish on a cutting board with a black and white strip napkin

How to Store Leftover Broccoli Rice Casserole?

The vegan broccoli rice casserole tastes amazing when you freshly bake it and serve it right away. However, the leftover rice will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days. 

 

Remember, you need to store the recipe depending on the leftover rice, as storing time will depend on when you have first prepared your rice.   

 

To reheat the leftover casserole, put the dish back in the oven to get a similar melty state. 

Can I Make Any Substitution?

 

If you want to prepare a nut-free edition of this recipe, you can always substitute the cashew with sunflower seeds. If you can’t eat the cashews, you can switch, but I don’t recommend substituting them. If you don’t like cashews but love almonds, then you can add almonds for similar results. 

 

If you don’t have fresh broccoli near you, substitute it with frozen ones. Make sure you drain and rinse well before adding it to the recipe. You don’t want the casserole to turn out watery.  

 

Adjust the seasoning to your taste, add more or less garlic and onion if preferred. Try adding some cayenne paper or black pepper to make it even spicier. 

Can I Prepare Broccoli Casserole in Advance? 

Yes! This is a perfect recipe to prepare in advance. You can prepare the cheese sauce in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Moreover, the recipe reheats perfectly. Simply pop it in the oven or microwave and stir every few minutes to reheat the dish evenly.    

Tips and Tricks for Making This Recipe

  • Be sure to boil the vegetables in the pan until they are completely soft. 
  • Prepare the sauce before you add it with the vegetables.  
  • If you do not have a high-powered blender, then soak the cashews in water overnight or few hours. Drain the water and start blending with the other sauce ingredients. This will help you to get the smooth saucy consistency. 
  • You can use leftover cheese sauce in pizza, baked potatoes, steamed veggies, etc.
  • The cheese sauce will stay fresh in the refrigerator in the air-tight container for up to 7 days.  

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Gluten-Free Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Looking for an easy, cheesy, creamy, dreamy plant-based comfort food? Why not try our yummy vegan broccoli rice casserole today! 
4.96 from 24 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Gluten-Free Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 148kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound organic broccoli
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegan Cashew Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika and parsley sprinkle on top for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Spray 9×13 casserole pan or lightly grease and set aside.
  • Wash broccoli, break off the florets from the stems. I peeled the stems and cut in slices for the added fiber and nutrients.
  • Steam broccoli florets and stems with salt and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  • Make vegan cheese sauce, in a high-speed blender, add cashews, water, bell pepper, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Process until the sauce is creamy.
  • Pour vegan cheese sauce over steamed broccoli florets and mix to coat.
  • Spread broccoli in the casserole pan, sprinkle top with paprika, and parsley.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 148kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 313IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg