Vegan broccoli rice casserole is creamy, “cheesy” and oozing with delicious flavour. Rice and broccoli florets are smothered in a rich and velvety vegan cheese sauce and baked to bubbly perfection. There’s no better way to use up your leftover rice!
This recipe was originally published in June 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
This casserole is a simple one to prepare and an absolutely incredible recipe for leftover rice. But if you don’t have leftover rice, no worries. You can make some as you prepare the other ingredients.
Why you’ll love this dish!
- It’s super cheesy! It’s melty, it’s stretchy, and it’s absolutely addictive!
- A vegan and vegetarian friendly casserole that’s naturally gluten free, soy free, and oil free too. (There’s a nut free option too, if needed.)
- Made using wholesome, nutrient dense ingredients, like brown rice, broccoli florets, raw cashews and nutritional yeast.
- This vegan broccoli rice casserole is also kid friendly and omnivore approved! I mean who doesn’t like a dreamy, stretchy, cheesy plate of deliciousness?
How to make it
Preheat your oven and gather your ingredients. If you don’t already have cooked rice, get that going in your rice cooker, or on stove top.
To make the vegan cheese sauce, add all its ingredients to a high speed blender and process until smooth. (photos 1-2)
The sauce will be very runny, but don’t worry, it will thicken in the oven.
NOTE: If you do not have a high speed blender, soak the cashews in boiling hot water for 30 minutes, then drain and add to your blender. This will soften them up, making it easier for your blender to process.
Now the cooked rice and raw broccoli florets to an oven safe dish. (Mine is 9×13, but any similar size will work.) Then pour the cheese sauce you just made on top. (photos 3-4)
Mix well to evenly coat and distribute the sauce between your broccoli and rice. (photo 5)
Then bake your casserole for 20 minutes and remove from the oven. (photo 6)
Optional: Broil the top for a couple of minutes for a crusty, bubbly texture, if desired.
If you skip the broiling step, the broccoli casserole will be a little more creamy and gooey in texture.
If you want a firmer, bubbly top, return to the oven on broil for a few minutes.
Garnish your vegan broccoli rice casserole with parmesan cheese, chili flakes, or just enjoy as is. This dish is best enjoyed when freshly made, as the “cheese” will thicken and harden as it sits and cools.
To return it to its creamy state, just pop it back in the oven and reheat.
How long does it keep?
Your vegan broccoli rice casserole tastes best when freshly made. However, you may store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Remember, you’re using leftover rice here, so the storing time will also depend on when you first made your rice.
How to reheat
To reheat your leftovers, pop your dish back into the oven to return the cheese to a melty state. It will harden as it cools, so just heat until soft and creamy again.
Can I make any substitutions?
For nut free, you may sub the cashews with sunflower seeds, with similar results. I find cashews a little richer here, so unless you cannot eat cashews, I don’t recommend making the switch.
That said, if you CAN have almonds, but not cashews, blanched almonds make a great sub here as well.
If you don’t have fresh broccoli, you may sub for frozen.
Adjust the seasoning to your taste, use more or less onion and garlic powder if preferred.
Expert tips for success
- If you do not have a high speed blender, soak your cashews in boiling hot water for 30 minutes before making your cheese sauce. Then drain them and add to your blender with the remaining ingredients. This quick soak method will allow the cashews to expand and soften, making them easier to break down.
- If you still have loose bits of cashews once blended, you may strain them using a nut milk bag. (Affiliate link.) However, bits of cashews won’t affect the overall flavour of your broccoli casserole, so don’t stress.
- As your dish is baking, if the cheese gets too thick, you may thin it out with a splash or two of nut milk and mix together.
- Once cooled, the cheese will harden, but you can return your vegan broccoli rice casserole to its stretchy, gooey consistency by reheating, so just pop it back in the oven to heat through.
More vegan “cheesy” recipes
- Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Walnut Cheese Sauce
- I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan Poutine
- Cheesy Lentil Quinoa Casserole
- Lasagna Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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- 2 cups leftover cooked brown rice if you don't have cooked rice, start cooking as you prepare the remaining ingredients
- 3.5-4 cups broccoli florets approx 1 small head of broccoli cut into bite size florets
For the Cheese
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ⅓ cup tapioca starch also known as tapioca flour
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ cup unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk
- 1.5 cup water
- 1.5 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder for flavour, not heat
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add all the cheese ingredients to a high speed blender and process until smooth. It will be very runny.
- Place the cooked rice and broccoli florets in an oven safe dish, measuring 8×12, or similar. Then pour the cheese sauce over the rice and broccoli, and mix well to evenly coat and distribute.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, mixing at the halfway point. Add a touch more milk if your cheese sauce gets too thick.
- Optional but recommended: Broil your casserole for 2-3 minutes to brown the top.