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Vegan Broccoli Casserole
$5.87 Recipe/$1.47 Serving
Vegan broccoli rice casserole is the ultimate comfort food meal! Easy to make in just 30 minutes, this creamy, hearty casserole is made without any soup and is surprisingly filling! Great for weeknight meals or to serve at your favorite holiday meal!
Add boiling water to a bowl or cup filled with raw cashews to soak. I like to use an electric kettle for this. If you want to use the stove or the microwave, see instructions below.
Spray preheated skillet with olive oil or avocado oil and add onions, cook 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
After 3 minutes, add chopped broccoli florets to the onions and stir well. Cook 3-5 minutes until broccoli is bright green and starting to soften.
Sprinkle the broccoli with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Turn off heat.
Add the cooked rice and 1/2 cup vegetable broth to the skillet. Stir well and add a lid to the skillet.
Drain the cashews from the water they are soaking in along with draining and rinsing the beans from the can.
Add drained cashews, beans, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder and paprika to the blender. Blend on high 1 minute.
Optional: Transfer the broccoli rice mixture to a casserole dish (can leave it in an oven safe skillet as well).
Pour the sauce from the blender over the broccoli and rice, stir well to ensure all the ingredients are well combined. Flatten the ingredients in the casserole dish or skillet so you can add the topping.
In a small bowl combine the almond flour breadcrumb ingredients. Sprinkle them over the top of the casserole dish.
Bake in a 425F oven for 10 minutes. Immediately turn on broiler and broil for about 3 minutes (stay close so it doesn't burn).
Be sure to soak the cashews – soaking cashews ensures that the sauce will be thick and creamy and not gritty. This is easy to do – check out the 4 ways to soak cashews below to find the way that works best for you.
If you want to cook the casserole in the skillet, be sure to have an oven safe pan.
Use frozen broccoli – you can also use frozen broccoli in this recipe. Follow the same instructions in the recipe, but you may need to add 2-3 minutes of cooking time to the broccoli to ensure most of the water has evaporated from the pan from the broccoli defrosting.
Stay close to your oven when you are using the broiler – the broiler can easily take your food from golden brown to burned quite quickly, especially when you are using almond flour as the breadcrumb topping. Stay close to your oven and check in on the casserole starting at 1:30 under the broiler.
Time saving tip: Chop the onions and cut up the broccoli florets in advance. This is a great thing to add to your weekend meal prep. Store the cut up onions and broccoli in air tight containers for up to 5 days.
Need dinner in 15 minutes? Skip the oven and instead put the casserole directly under the broiler for 3 minutes. The casserole should already be warmed through from cooking the broccoli and letting the rice heat up while covered. I recommend baking at 425F for 10 minutes to help thicken the sauce and ensure the vegan broccoli gratin it’s bubbly and hot before broiling.
How to soak cashews
Add boiling water over top of the cashews: This is the method I use most often. Bring water to a boil (I use my tea kettle) and pour boiling water over the cashews in a large glass or bowl. Let the cashews sit in the hot water for 5-10 minutes. Drain the water.
Counter: Cover the cashews with room temperature water and allow them to sit out on the counter 8 hours. Drain the water from soaking.
Boil the cashews on the stove: Add water and the cashews to a small pot on the stove. Bring the water to a boil and cook the cashews in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before draining the water off the cashews.
Microwave the cashews: Add just enough water to cover the cashews in a large jar or bowl. Microwave the cashews for 2:30 minutes (the water will come to a boil in the microwave). Carefully remove from the microwave (use oven mitts) and drain off the water.
How to make this nut free
Hemp hearts – you don’t need to soak hemp hearts ahead of time
Sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – soak these the same way you would cashews
Tahini – tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and adds a ton of creaminess to the sauce.
Use gluten free crackers pulsed in the food processor in place of the almond flour breadcrumbs.
What if you don’t have rice prepped ahead?If you don’t have rice prepped in advance, you can use frozen rice (you can find this at many grocery stores, Trader Joe’s carries a frozen jasmine rice) or quick cooking rice packets from the grocery store. You can make fresh rice before starting this recipe, which can take about 20-30 minutes depending on your cooking method and the kind of rice you decide to make.Storing leftovers
Fridge – store leftover broccoli rice casserole in the fridge for up to 5 days. However please note that rice should not be stored in the fridge for more than 5 days, so if your rice has been in the fridge for a few days, you may want to freeze your leftovers instead of putting them in the fridge.
Freezer – Store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend storing leftover vegan broccoli casserole in individual servings before freezing if you are freezing leftovers. I like to use Soupercubes to portion out the leftovers into individual servings. Once frozen, transfer the casserole to a freezer safe bag, be sure to label this with the name, date and use by date.
You can cook the casserole in the oven from frozen at 350F for 20-30 minutes or defrost in the fridge for a few hours before heating up in the oven, air fryer or microwave.