Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole is a simple yet delicious dish you can enjoy as a main course. It is easy to make and is very wholesome. This dish is made using broccoli and brown rice and therefore is a very healthy dish. The casserole comes together with a vegan cheese sauce made using cashews. It is super easy, rich, creamy, and tasteful.
I am a lover of casseroles. They are not just easy to make but are fuss-free. They come in a single dish which makes them very convenient to eat and to store as well.
You will find several casserole recipes on my website, but this one is particularly my favorite. That’s because it is easy to make and is loaded with healthy nutrients.
Is vegan broccoli rice casserole healthy?
We all know that broccoli is known for its richness in antioxidants. However, using brown rice in this recipe adds another healthy ingredient to this dish. Brown rice is a whole grain and therefore has many nutrients that white rice doesn’t have. It is high in fiber and thus keeps your digestive system on track. Moreover, it also improves heart health.
Also, this casserole uses cashews for the vegan sauce, which is also a very nutritional ingredient. It is rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. As a result, it aids in weight loss, improves heart health, and control sugar level in the blood.
In short, we are safe to say that this casserole is a very healthy dish that you can enjoy over and over again.
You can easily make this vegan broccoli rice casserole by dividing the recipe into two parts, i.e., the casserole and the vegan cheese sauce. Here is everything you will need for each part:
For the Casserole
- Olive oil: Start this casserole by using olive oil. It is rich in healthy fats and therefore is a good choice. You can, however, use avocado oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil as well.
- Onion: Onion has a savory flavor which sets the base for this casserole. You can either use red or white onion for this recipe.
- Garlic: I love adding garlic to my dishes because of its deep, savory, and prominent flavor. It makes the casserole more flavorsome.
- Brown rice: Brown rice is a whole grain that is loaded with nutrients and health benefits. It is readily available from any grocery store. Brown rice has an earthy and nutty flavor. When using brown rice for this casserole recipe, make sure it is already cooked.
- Broccoli florets: The main vegetable for this recipe is broccoli. This green vegetable has a unique flavor and a slightly crunchy texture. It is easy to cook and is loaded with nutrients.
For the Sauce
- Raw cashews: This sauce is nut-based, and that’s why I have chosen raw cashews. It is the main ingredient for this vegan cheese sauce. Raw cashews, when soaked and blended, have a creamy texture which serves the purpose very well.
- Water: You will need water to adjust the consistency of this vegan cheese sauce.
- Nutritional yeast flakes: It adds umami, and cheesy flavor to this sauce, making it a perfect vegan ingredient for this cheese sauce.
- Onion: Onion will add a slightly sweet yet savory flavor to this sauce.
- Garlic: Add garlic for a deep savory flavor into the sauce.
- Tapioca starch: Tapioca starch is tasteless, but it acts as a thickening agent in this sauce. Once the sauce starts to bubble in the oven, the tapioca starch will come into play.
- Salt: Adjust the flavors by adding salt as per your liking.
How to make Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole?
Here are simple steps you have to follow to make this tasteful and wholesome vegan broccoli rice casserole:
Step 1: First of all, prepare the cashew cheese sauce. For that, soak the raw cashews for about 20 minutes in warm water. Drain the cashews and place them in a high-speed blender jug. Add the rest of the ingredients, i.e., water, nutritional yeast flakes, garlic, onion powder, tapioca starch, and salt. Blend at medium to high speed until you get a smooth consistency. You can add more water to adjust the consistency according to your liking. Once done. Set it aside.
Step 2: Place a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and once it is heated, add chopped onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes. Next, add garlic and cook for a few seconds as well.
Step 3: Add broccoli florets and cook for no more than a minute or 2 or until the broccoli gets a beautiful bright green color.
Step 4: Add cooked brown rice and prepared cashew cheese sauce. Mix well so that the sauce coats the ingredients completely.
Step 5: Grease the casserole dish with olive oil and pour the prepared casserole mixture into the dish. Spread it evenly using the back of a spoon.
Step 6: Place this casserole in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until the top gets a golden color.
Step 7: Serve hot!
Tips to remember
Here are a few tips you must remember when making this vegan casserole:
- Although you can use any cooking oil to make this casserole base, if you want an oil-free dish, you can skip adding it and use water instead. The onions will soften up in the water.
- You can replace raw cashews with blanched raw almonds as well. Blanch raw almonds by soaking them in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Next, peel the skin off and use than just as you have used cashews.
- You can use cornstarch or arrowroot starch instead of tapioca starch as well.
- You can use white rice if you don’t want to use brown rice.
You can add more flavors to this delicious casserole by adding the following ingredients:
- Vegan meat: Adding vegan meat-like vegan sausages, Seitan or even tofu can enhance the flavor and improve the texture of this casserole. Plus, it will make the casserole more wholesome.
- White beans: You can add white beans to add more protein and a rich nutty flavor to this casserole.
- Vegetables: You can make your love for vegetables come into play by adding more vegetables along with broccoli. Add carrots, potatoes, corns, green beans, etc., and enjoy.
- Spices: Add more spices and seasonings like old bay seasoning. Cajun seasoning etc., to make this casserole more flavorful.
- Vegan cheese: Sprinkle vegan cheese on top to get a cheesier flavor.
How to store Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole?
Store it just as you store any other casserole. Once the casserole reaches room temperature, you can place it in an air-tight container and refrigerate it. It will last for five days in the refrigerator.
Moreover, you can also freeze this cooked casserole. You can either place the whole casserole dish in the freezer or divide the casserole into portions, place each portion in a freezer-safe zip lock bag and freeze. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer. Simply take it out, let it thaw, reheat it in the microwave or oven and enjoy!
If you love rice, check out these other amazing rice recipes:
- Turmeric Coconut Rice
- Vegetable Pelav Instant Pot Recipe
- Spinach Rice
- Jamaican Rice And Peas
- Baked Plantains
Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.
Fortunately, because of the Ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.
- Energy: 326 kcal / 1363 kJ
- Fat: 11 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Carbs: 49 g
- Cooking: 40 min
- Ready in: 40 min
- For: 8 Servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, or 2 tablespoons water
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups brown rice, cooked (make sure the rice is already cooked)
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- Preheat oven 400 degrees. Lightly spray or brush casserole dish (9x13 pan) with oil and set aside.
- Prepare cashew sauce, In a high-speed blender, place cashew or almond and water and process until smooth. Add nutritional yeast flakes, onion, tapioca starch, garlic, and sea salt and process until creamy. Set aside.
- Heat a large heavy duty skillet with oil over medium high, saute onion and garlic until soft. Add broccoli florets and cook for about a minute.
- Add rice and sauce, stirring until fully coated and thicken and fully combined. Scoop broccoli rice casserole into the prepared casserole dish, cover and bake for 35-40 minutes or until slightly golden.
- You can use frozen broccoli or prepackaged broccoli florets to save time.
- You can keep leftover rice in the freezer for up to 6 months, I normally freezer 2-4 cup portions. For this dish, you just defrost rice ahead of time.
- For the sauce, you can use either cashew or blanch almond. To blanch almond, bring water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add raw almonds to boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain immediately using a colander and rinse with cold water. Using fingers and squeeze almonds to remove skin. Discard skin and now your almonds are ready.