Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole with Cheesy Sauce

The thing I love the most about this vegan broccoli rice casserole recipe is that the “cheesy sauce” is made of vegetables! Softened almonds thicken the sauce, while garlic, Dijon mustard, and nutritional yeast add flavor, ticking all the cheesy sauce boxes. The sauce is super easy to make in the blender. I let the vegetables and cup of reserved water cool for 15 minutes before adding them to the blender. You know your blender’s limitations, so judge accordingly when adding the hot (boiling) ingredients.

This dish isn’t a casserole in the truest sense – it isn’t baked in the oven. But it is a true substitute recipe for the full dairy broccoli rice casseroles you are used to eating. So, for people looking for a great replacement recipe, I’m putting “casserole” in the title.

vegan broccoli rice casseroleWhile this is a stove top dish, if you want to save time making it, you can cook your rice separately. Just cook it in a steamer or rice cooker while the broccoli and vegetables cook. The casserole can be made with brown rice or white rice.

When cutting the broccoli before cooking it, try to cut into 1-inch uniform pieces, so that it will cook evenly. I found that the 1-inch pieces were too large for the final dish, so as I added them to the rice and sauce, I cut each piece in half. I would still cut them bigger for cooking, though, as it keeps the florets together better.

Remember to put your cashews in to soak for TWO HOURS before you start the recipe! I did not remember, and my ingredients were sitting on hold for two hours while the cashews softened. With this recipe, it didn’t matter for me, but if you are meeting a meal deadline, it will matter! Maybe you are used to soaking cashews and won’t need as long a soaking time. I found that it did take the entire two hours for the cashews to reach the softness I wanted.

Adapted from I Heart Vegetables. I have the cheesy sauce recipe broken out here, if you would like to save it separately.

GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Use gluten free Dijon mustard to make the entire dish gluten free.

 

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Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole with Cheesy Sauce
This stove top "casserole" uses vegetables, Dijon mustard, garlic and nutritional yeast to create a thick, creamy cheesy sauce. A perfect substitution for old-fashioned broccoli rice casserole.
vegan broccoli rice casserole
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For the broccoli & rice:
For the cheesy sauce:
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
For the broccoli & rice:
For the cheesy sauce:
vegan broccoli rice casserole
Instructions
For the broccoli & rice:
  1. In a dutch oven or large lidded soup pot, cook 2 cups of brown rice according to the package directions. Remove from the pan into a large mixing bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  2. To the original pan, add the olive oil and then the broccoli. Saute the broccoli for 2 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of water to the pan, cover with a lid, and steam the broccoli for 3 or 4 minutes, until it is crisp tender.
  4. Remove the broccoli from the pan and set aside in a medium mixing bowl to cool separately from the rice.
    vegan broccoli rice casserole
For the cheesy sauce:
  1. Add the onion, potatoes and carrots to the original pan and cover with 5 to 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the veggies are completely soft when stuck with a fork.
  2. In your blender, add the cooked vegetables, 1 cup of the cooking water, the softened cashews, salt, garlic, Dijon mustard, black pepper and nutritional yeast. Allow any steam to escape, then put the blender lid on and blend until completely smooth.
  3. The sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. To reheat it, just pop it into the microwave or a saucepan and warm slowly to your desired temp.
Assemble the dish:
  1. Add the broccoli to the large mixing bowl with the rice. Stir to mix evenly.
  2. Pour the blended cheesy sauce over the rice and broccoli and carefully mix until well combined.
  3. Transfer to a casserole or serving dish. Serve warm.
Recipe Notes

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