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