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Healthy Broccoli and Cheese Casserole (Vegan Option)


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Healthy Broccoli and Cheese Casserole is a lightened-up version of a childhood classic. An easy gluten free recipe perfect for meal prep and easy weeknight dinners! 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Broccoli Casserole Base

  • 33 1/2 cups cooked gluten free orzo pasta (see notes for substitutes)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
  • 1416 ounces broccoli florets (3-4 cups) (chopped, steamed)
For the cheese sauce: * see notes tips
  • 3 Tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoon gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or 3/4 cup shredded cheese or plant based shredded cheese (1/2 cup extra for topping if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Optional Mix ins:

    • For extra spice – 2 Tablespoon of preferred salsa, spicy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, etc. roasted bell peppers, or pesto
    • For extra protein – 1 cup cooked chicken or rinsed chickpeas.

Instructions

  1. Prepare orzo per the package directions. For al dente pasta, cook the orzo for 9 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Drain the orzo (do not rinse), and place it back in the pot. Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and 2-3 Tablespoons of reserved pasta water to the orzo, and stir to combine.
  2. While the orzo is cooking, steam the broccoli, and prepare the cheese sauce.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lightly steamed broccoli with the cooked orzo. Stir, and add another Tablespoon of olive oil, making sure to mix all of the ingredients together. Mix in any optional additional spice (i.e 2 Tablespoon red pepper sauce, hummus, salsa, etc.)  and chicken, if desired. Set the bowl aside, and prepare the baking dish.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil or lightly grease an 8×11 or 9×12 casserole dish and set it aside.
  5. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter or oil into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in gluten free all-purpose flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium-low until the color of the roux gets slightly nuttier in color. The texture might be very viscous at first, but keep stirring with a spatula or spoon to cook out the starchy flavor. 
  6. Gradually whisk in the milk. Make sure to whisk constantly as it will be very thick. Keep adding a little bit of milk at a time until it smooths out and all of the milk has been added. 
  7. Next, whisk in the vegetable broth.  Once it reaches a soft boil, reduce the heat to medium low or low, and whisk for 30 seconds.  Add 3/4 cup shredded cheese (or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast as cheese substitute) and a pinch of paprika, stirring over low heat or removed from the heat. 
  8. Add the cheese sauce to the broccoli and orzo mixture, and stir to combine.*
  9. Spread the broccoli cheese orzo mixture into the prepared casserole dish, and top it with the remaining optional shredded cheese.
  10. Bake the casserole in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
  11. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, and season it to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

If you don’t have orzo, see notes! Cooked gluten free pasta (like penne or fusilli) may be substituted. 

*Make sure cheese sauce is still HOT when adding into broccoli/orzo mixture. If the sauce cools, it thickens and then you will need to reheat it and add more broth if it becomes too thick. 

See common questions section on the blog post for cheese sauce substitute. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Category: main meal
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving with cheese on top. Cheese on top is optional
  • Calories: 338
  • Sugar: 2.5 g
  • Sodium: 125.4 mg
  • Fat: 14.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 41.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Protein: 10.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 19.1 mg

Keywords: gluten free, casserole, meal prep, dinner, vegetarian, broccoli cheese casserole, dairy free

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