This 100% plant-based and junk food free vegan broccoli cheese casserole will knock your socks off! Serve it in place of your favorite traditionally non-vegan side this year. Nobody will know it’s vegan!
Mom, I did it! I veganized our dirty little Thanksgiving family secret. I’m bringing this version this year. You’re going to love it. Don’t tell Dad and everything will be just fine!
Everyone else, a little explanation: my family doesn’t normally do the traditional Thanksgiving green bean casserole. Nope, we discovered something much worse. It’s a broccoli dish that we refer to as a “casserole” even though it’s not actually baked in the oven. By “way worse” I mean loaded with the most processed ingredients you can think of, including a bottled cheesy saucy that might not have any actual cheese in it, come to think of it. That would make sense, given the fact that this dish was way easy to veganize.
So, what exactly is this stuff? Like I said, it’s not baked in the oven, so it’s not a casserole. My husband disagreed with my decision to call it a “stew,” so I’m sticking with casserole, even though it’s not.
Now, I’m not going to lie. The original, uber-processed, super classy version of this dish is something I think we, in my family, all hated to love. There’s a reason it became a tradition we haven’t been able to shake since the mid-eighties. It’s frighteningly addictive.
How does the vegan version stack up? Amazingly! Seriously, it was delicious, shockingly cheesy, and maybe just as addictive as the original, with one difference: I felt way better after downing a full plate of this version. It’s every bit as tasty, just cleaner. With broccoli, rice and mushrooms in a cheesy base of potatoes, carrots and dairy-free milk, you could even get away with making a meal of this stuff.
Vegan Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- 1 large baking potato, about 1 lb., peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots, 1 large or 2 small
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 12 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and coarsely chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup short or medium grain brown rice
- 1 large broccoli crown, broken into small florets (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 2-3 tsp. white miso paste, optional, but highly recommended
- about 2 cups unflavored soy or almond milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Place potato and carrots into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to cook at a low boil until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and drain into a colander. Transfer to a food processor and blend until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add mushrooms, in as even a layer as possible, and allow to cook until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add broth and rice to pot. Stir to incorporate. Raise heat and bring to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer until rice is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. There should be some liquid remaining in the pot when rice is finished cooking.
Uncover pot and stir in potato mixture, broccoli, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and miso, if using. Thin with about 2 cups of milk, using a bit less if mixture seems too thin, more if it seems too thick. Stir and bring to a low simmer. Cook just until broccoli is tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.