Before my kids were born, the dairy version of this dish was one of my favorite dinners. I would give Fred hamburgers, and then make this to go along with it. I didn’t eat the hamburgers, but I did eat this, and I loved it. After the kids were born I served Broccoli Rice Casserole to encouraged them to eat vegetables. When we gave up gluten and dairy this was one of the dishes that I really wanted to make gluten and dairy-free. I have loved it so dearly for so long, that I didn’t want to give it up if I didn’t have to.
I use Daiya brand shredded cheddar to make this casserole. At $4 for 8-ounces, it’s not cheap. This has become one of those recipes that we have a few times a year, but it’s not part of our regular rotation because of the high cost. For me it’s comfort food, and I can honestly say that everyone in the family, even Fred, is happy to see it on the menu.
The flavor is relatively bland, much like the original which used canned cream of mushroom soup, instant rice and Velveeta cheese. This version tastes enough like the original that no one will suspect that it’s vegan. Great for potlucks and holidays. If you prefer a zestier flavor you may add extra seasonings to the sauce, including a bit of brown mustard for extra zip. As written it ‘s a kid-friendly way to encourage them to eat broccoli.
If you are not dairy-free, you may use regular cheddar cheese to prepare this dish.
Broccoli Rice & Cheese Casserole
For The Sauce
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free margarine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons rice flour
- 1-1/2 to 2-cups unsweetened soymilk (depending on how creamy you like your casserole)
For The Casserole
- 3 cups leftover cooked rice
- 1 pound frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 1-1/2 cups shredded vegan cheese (Daiya cheddar)
First prepare the sauce. Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Place them in a saucepan with the margarine. Cook and stir the onions over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until they are a golden yellow color. Add the salt, pepper and rice flour. Stir the mixture until the flour is absorbed by the margarine and vegetables. Add the soymilk. If you like your casserole very creamy then use 2-cups of soymilk. If you prefer your casserole thicker then use 1-1/2 cups soymilk. Cook and stir the sauce over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Allow it to boil for a couple of minutes, or until thickened. Rice flour requires a bit more boiling than wheat flour to reach it’s greatest thickening power so don’t be afraid to simmer it for as long as 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350º. Coat an 8 by 12-inch or 9 by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or grease it with a bit of solid shortening.
In a mixing bowl combine the rice, broccoli and cheese. Add the prepared sauce. Stir until well combined. Scrape the mixture into the baking dish. If desired you may top the casserole with extra shredded cheese or cornflakes crumbs and 2-tablespoons of dairy-free margarine dotted over the crumbs. Or you can leave the top plain. Bake the casserole at 350º for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the casserole is bubbly. Serves 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side dish.
Assuming 8 servings; Prepared with 1-1/2 cups soymilk. Nothing extra on top.
Per Serving: 322 Calories; 18g Fat (47.3% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 39g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 734mg Sodium.
Calories By Percentage: 47% Fat; 45% Carbohydrate; 8% Protein.
Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 Vegetable; 3 Fat.