Per your request for more dinner recipes, today’s cold-weather casserole is one for the books.
Feast your eyes on this Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Brown Rice Bake because it is BOMB.
Warming. Comforting. Nourishing. CHEESY.
Is there anything better in the snowy winter months?
After searching around strange corners of the internet, a comforting casserole recipe that made me happy was nowhere to be found. Many of them had fake vegan cheese and ingredients I wasn’t thrilled about, so I made my own TGF-approved comfort food, which meant is has to be:
- dairy-free & vegan
- high in plant protein
- plenty of green veggies
- tastes AMAZING
YES. With a decadent “cheese” sauce similar to my ultimate vegan mac and cheese sauce, this cheesy recipe is higher in protein since I added white beans instead of sweet potato, along with a few ingredient swaps to make up for the change. Beans tend to add a distinctive taste, but I made sure that other ingredients overpower any hint of beans, so no worries there. The taste is a bit more savory and cheesy in my opinion, so I can’t wait to hear what you guys think! I just couldn’t use the word “casserole” in the title… it sounded too old school, which is why I used “bake” instead… I’m pretty sure it’s the same thing as a casserole though, LOL.
One ingredient I ended up adding was this minute miso but don’t worry if you don’t have it. The miso isn’t totally necessary, but if you have it on hand, be sure to add two teaspoons! A little goes a long way and I love how it adds an extra layer of flavor, a certain savory-ness and richness that fires off all kinds of happiness to our tastebuds. If you don’t have miso, swap it for 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar, which will add a similar flavor. I’ll be sure to put that in the notes section too.
While this may not be the quickest dinner recipe, there are a few hacks for making it quicker (like using pre-cooked brown rice and pre-cut frozen broccoli florets that you can steam in the microwave) and leftovers make life a LOT easier during the week, at least for me, so the extra cook time is worth it. Bake this on a frigid Sunday night and have comforting leftovers for the whole week! Tip: I froze half of this to have on hand for weeknights when I’m too lazy to cook.
Also, I used a hand immersion blender to blend the cheese sauce in the pot, which makes things easier and I highly recommend, but if you don’t have one, a food processor or high-speed blender will work fine. Just blend it up until super smooth and creamy.
I hope you guys LOVE this cheesy cold-weather recipe as much as I do. Leave me a comment below if you try it!
Side note: Can we just talk about how amazing you guys are for filling out the Reader Realness survey I asked about last week?!
ALL OF THE FEELS ♥
You can still fill it out if you have 3 extra minutes, but some of your answers had me all emotional (in the best of ways!). No surprise there because my emotions run wild (just ask my boyfriend LOL), but I had no idea how you would react. In my mind, I was hoping/praying you wouldn’t be annoyed because online surveys can be a bit annoying? (What if no one fills it out? What if I lose a bunch of subscribers?) But NOPE, you guys are so supportive, like always. Why was I even worried?!
I promise, I’m putting your answers to use. I hear you loud and clear and feel super inspired 🙂
The free program only allowed me to ask 10 questions so I had to be choosy, although after the fact, I wish I could have asked 100 questions (!!). I had to upgrade anyway to see all of answers… and some of them truly surprised me. I’ll share the information with you soon (and answer some of the anonymous questions) but I mean, all I have to say is WOW and THANK YOU.
Now, go make this ASAP 🙂
- 3 cups short grain brown rice, cooked
- 3 cups broccoli florets, steamed
- 1/2 cup crushed crackers or bread crumbs, use gluten free if needed!
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 small shallot, diced
- 1 15 oz. can white cannelinni beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or any plain plant milk)
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons miso sauce (see notes for swaps)
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (or more, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×10 baking dish (or something similar in size) with non-stick spray. Add in cooked brown rice and set aside.
- Steam broccoli over the stove in a pot with 1/2 cup water, for 5 minutes, covered and turn off heat (or steam in a microwave-safe bowl). Drain and add broccoli over the brown rice. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized pot, bring 1.5 cups vegetable broth +1/2 cup water to a boil. Add in baby carrots and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Add in chopped shallot and white beans, then reduce heat to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until carrots and beans are soft. Turn off heat. Into the pot, add in all ingredients for Vegan Cheese Sauce. Using a hand immersion blender (see notes for other options) blend until sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste test and adjust/add salt if needed. If the taste is too “lemony” add 1 teaspoon maple syrup to balance out the acidity, but only if needed!
- Pour cheese sauce over the brown rice and broccoli, then give it a good mix until sauce is evenly dispersed throughout. Top with a layer or crushed crackers or bread crumbs!
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.
- Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through.
- Cook your brown rice in low-sodium vegetable broth, instead of water, for extra flavor!
- To save time: use pre-cooked brown rice and pre-cut (or frozen) broccoli.
- The canned beans are cooked, but we are simmering them to make them even softer and more digestible.
- If you don’t have miso: add 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce + 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar instead, which will add a similar flavor.
- If you don’t have a hand immersion blender, you could also blend the cheese sauce in a food processor or high-speed blender until smooth and creamy.
- Leftovers refrigerate well. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through.
- Serving Size: 4