“Cheesy” Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole (Vegan)


This casserole reminds me of my childhood.

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I used to love my mom’s homemade Broccoli and Rice casserole, which was a simple combination of sauteed onions, tender broccoli, white rice and cheddar cheese. It was the ultimate comfort food for my picky taste buds!

This version is similar to my mom’s, but I’ve upgraded the ingredients to give it a nutritional boost. Instead of rice, it features protein-rich quinoa, and in lieu of cheddar cheese, it’s smothered in a creamy, cheese-like sauce made out of sweet potatoes! I hope you like this dairy-free version as much as I do.

“Cheesy” Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole (Vegan)
serves 4

Ingredients:

For the “cheese” sauce:

1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
1.5 cups water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon chili powder

To assemble:

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
5 cups broccoli florets

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the moisture has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, saute the chopped onion in a large saute pan (preferably with a lid) in the coconut oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the broccoli florets and a splash of water to prevent sticking, then cover the pan and allow to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is fork-tender.

To prepare the “cheese” sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Keep in mind that this sauce will be diluted over the entire batch of quinoa and broccoli, so it may be on the salty-side to taste.

If your large saute pan is oven-safe, you can save yourself from cleaning an extra dish by assembling the casserole directly over the sauteed onion and broccoli. Add in the cooked quinoa, then pour over the cheese sauce, and stir to mix well. Adjust any seasonings to taste, then use the back of a large spoon to smooth the top.

cheese mixBake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot! Serve immediately, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

4.8 from 28 reviews
"Cheesy" Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole (Vegan)
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An upgraded version of traditional Broccoli & Rice casserole, with a dairy-free "cheese sauce!
Ingredients
For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
  • 1.5 cups water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
To assemble:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cups broccoli florets
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and the moisture has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, saute the chopped onion in a large saute pan (preferably with a lid) in the coconut oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the broccoli florets and a splash of water to prevent sticking, then cover the pan and allow to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is fork-tender.
  3. To prepare the "cheese" sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Keep in mind that this sauce will be diluted over the entire batch of quinoa and broccoli, so it may be on the salty-side to taste.
  4. If your large saute pan is oven-safe, you can save yourself from cleaning an extra dish by assembling the casserole directly over the sauteed onion and broccoli. Add in the cooked quinoa, then pour over the cheese sauce, and stir to mix well. Adjust any seasonings to taste, then use the back of a large spoon to smooth the top.
  5. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot! Serve immediately, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

Reader Feedback: What was your favorite childhood dish?

 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

89 thoughts on ““Cheesy” Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole (Vegan)

  1. Kim

    Congratulations on your new addition!!

    I wanted to ask you what brand of nutritional yeast you used. I wondered also, if you had ever used any other brand and if you noticed that some brands yielded a cheesier flavor than others.

    It’s great that you’re back!!

    Thanks.
    ka

    Reply
  2. Hope

    Looks yummy! Does the sweet potato in the sauce off-set the savory of the nutritional yeast? When I think of a broccoli casserole, I think savory, but is this one a bit sweeter?

    Reply
  3. Lisa

    This looks amazing! I’m suck a sucker for anything “cheesy” flavored with nutritional yeast. I made a vegan quinoa mac and cheese dish and it’s been my go to lately. So good, and I love that this is made with sweet potato too!

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    HOW do you have time (or brain cells) to post on your blog?! Infinitely impressed. With that as well as the recipe, as usual. :). Hope you are all doing well, and getting at least a little rest…! :).

    Reply
  5. Stephanie

    This is definitely what I’m whipping up for lunch! Btw you’ve inspired me to start at IIN this October! Thank you so much for that!

    Reply
  6. Tayler Alexis

    from the looks of the picture you have totally perfected the “cheese” sauce substitute !

    this is irresistible ! ill def be giving the recipe a try this evening 🙂

    thanks as always.

    Reply
  7. Cindy

    Favorite childhood dishes….there were so many. My mom’s potato salad, scalloped potatoes, chipped beef on toast, my mom’s french toast, boy, looks like a theme here – carbs! But, I did like veggies too. I loved broccoli with cheese sauce & this looks like it as well– so yummy. My husband can’t do dairy so this will be perfect. I also loved when my mom made lasagna which is what I would request for my birthdays – yummy.

    Hope you are having fun with your new bundle of joy!

    Reply
  8. Vicki

    Hi Megan. I was wondering if I can have nutritional yeast when I am doing the Candida Diet? I have never used it before in anything. We made your cauliflower pizza last night and it was wonderful.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Ashley

    Mmm, I’m excited to try this! I just bought some quinoa… I’ve recently started cooking healthier and making it a life change. Your site has been my go-to for recipes! Thank you 🙂 Can’t wait to try this one! I love your cashew mac n cheese.

    Reply
  10. diana

    I have made this twice already, because it is fabulous!!! The first time I didnt have broccoli so i used peas and it was still yum! The second time I didnt have enough sweet potato so I did half a cup of sweet potato and half a cup of butternut squash – also amazing. Thank you for another delicious recipe!

    Reply
  11. Meg

    Made this the other night!!!! I was actually worried because the sauce looked too think but it turned out amazing! It was really delicious. The perfect fall weather dinner 😉

    Reply
  12. Amanda

    Loved this!! I’ll definitely be making again. As someone else mentioned, I was afraid I had made the sauce too thin when pouring over top but it baked up nicely with the quinoa and broccoli. Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Stacey

    I really enjoyed this tonight, thanks! I think I’ll cut the salt down a little next time.
    I also topped my serving with some Cholula hot sauce for a kick 🙂

    Reply
  14. Katrina

    Hi Megan! I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and WOW, every dish I try is so amazing, including this one! Even my cheese loving boyfriend loves it!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, it’s almost like magic!!! I’ve been telling everyone I know about your blog and how amazing you are!! Also congrats your new baby!!

    Reply
  15. Cassie

    I made this for dinner last night, Very yummy!! Enjoying it again for lunch today. Used some green beans because I didn’t have enough broccoli and it worked well. Thanks!

    Reply
  16. coleen griffin

    WOW! This is GOOD. Obviously this remains to be seen if I feel the same way tomorrow when I’m sober, but for right now, this is an AWESOME end to a drunken Led Zeppelin-a-thon 🙂

    Okay, in all seriousness (or as serious as I can be at the moment)….I’m not sure I’d call this “cheesy” and for those like me who hate onions, it’s heavy on the onion flavor. I left out the actual onion and just used the powder that was called for and if you’re an onion hater, this is definitely the way to go. But this is VERY tasty…now you’ll have to forgive me, Jimmy Page just broke out into another solo, so I must be going. But definitely make this. It’s quite worth it.

    Reply
  17. Jen La

    Made this tonight & it is so good! I used tri-colored quinoa from Trader Joe’s. I baked a sweet potato & threw it into the Vitamix to make the sauce. My husband went for seconds so I will definitely make this again! Thank you so much for these amazing recipes (love the vegan mac-n-cheese made with cashews!) & congrats on your baby!

    Reply
  18. Marcia

    Made this last night and loved it! My husband said: this could be served at Thanksgiving. Congrats on your new addition! I’m doing a detox to help shed the last of my baby weight and your site has been super valuable! Thanks!!

    Reply
  19. Clare

    Hey 😀 Just wanted to say, I’m SO GLAD I found this website and ths awesome recipe! This is healthy, comforting and so good! thank u!

    Reply
  20. Becca

    I noticed I can only access this recipe by opening up the specific email that I got from you. Is there a reason this isn’t under main dishes or am I missing it?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      You can always find any recipe on my website by searching for it using the “Search Recipes” area in the top left column of my website. I’m currently on maternity leave, so I’m not updating any of my recipes pages for another few weeks.

      Reply
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  22. Carolyn

    Just made this…it is in the oven finishing up…but so far, so AMAZING. I actually used a few pita chips to scoop up leftover “cheese” sauce from my vitamix. So good!

    Reply
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  24. Diane

    Just gave this a shot and loved it! It was my first time making a vegan cheese sauce and this was a great introduction to it all. If my cheese sauce was more on the liquid-y side would you suggest adding some sort of flour to help thicken it up or more sweet potato? Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
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  26. Gerry

    Had this for Thanksgiving and it was awsome! I’m going to try the vegan Mac ‘n Cheese soon and hope its as good.

    Reply
  27. Angela

    Super satisfying and yummy. Texturally, it totally brings back memories of a similar dish my mom made growing up. I think she added tons of mayo though, and I was missing that particular flavour, haha. Next time maybe I’ll add some brown mustard and olive oil into the dressing… hmm. Simply scrummy as-is though!

    Reply
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  30. Salima

    I am about to go on a business trip but I have some broccoli and sweet potatoes that need to be used STAT! This is the perfect recipe, but have you had any success with freezing the casserole?

    Reply
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  33. mogl

    I make this all the time (and I am not vegan). So yummy.

    This time I simmered a bay leaf in the water, before making the sauce. In retrospect, I probably could have simmered it with the quinoa. I also used Old Bay n place of the salt. Yummy.

    Next time I will try using tikki masala spice mix in lieu of the salt and chili powder.

    Julia Childs (or someone) said you should master 4-5 recipes, with 3-4 adaptations of each, and you will have a strong repertoire. So, does anyone have any more ideas for how to change the profile of this fabulous basic recipe? Thanks.

    Reply
  34. sheree

    Do you think you can substitute brown rice in this dish and if so home much cooked rice should you use. Thank you!

    Reply
      1. Jenee

        Brown rice goes great in this dish. I always have left over frozen brown rice in the freezer. This is perfect to use it for.

        Reply
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  36. Angelo

    This recipe is delicious! I have made this twice already and it is perfect for a cold winter night alongside a lentil burger or lentil loaf. I absolutely love this casserole!

    Reply
  37. Julia

    I love this casserole with quinoa, but do you think this sauce would taste good in a vegan macaroni and “cheese”? This is the tastiest, most cheese-like dish I’ve made and I’ve been looking for awhile to satisfy my savory cravings.

    Reply
  38. Ellie

    I’m making this for easter tomorrow. I substituted 2 cups of the broccoli for cremini mushrooms and HOLY CRAP IT’S GOOD. My husband asked if I could make a second batch just for us to have for dinner tonight. :p

    Reply
  39. Tina

    Was a great recipe very tasty added a little turmeric for health and colour and topped with bread crumbs before I out in oven and some crispy onions on top when served . I actually wanted more salt so don’t be afraid of the amount already in recipe . I will def make this again but I think a little garlic and more onion will kick it up a notch 🙂

    Reply
  40. Diane

    Wow, this was one awesome bowl of deliciousness!! It took all my strength not to devour the entire batch standing over the oven. I, too, added tumeric since I heard it had health benefits and have been looking for excuses to use it. The color was match anyway! Will def make this again, maybe with the brown rice pasta instead of quinoa for variety. Thank you for showing me something new!

    Reply
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  43. Penny O

    It’s in the oven right now. I used garlic powder instead of onion powder (1/2 the amount) and used chopotle powder as the chili powder. I also accidentally used a lightly colored-flesh potato, bit the extra tumeric helped with the color. Thanks for another great, easy, quick recipe!!!

    Reply
  44. Michelle

    My Husband and I made this last night. We loved it! And…drum roll please… I was able to pass it off as real cheese to the pickiest child ever and he liked it!!

    Reply
  45. Anne

    I made this last night but added smoked paprika instead of chili powder which gave it a lovely smoky cheesiness. So easy to make and I’ll be having it for dinner again tonight… Yummy!

    Reply
  46. Jenee

    Megan thanks so much for this recipe. Broccoli rice casserole was one of my signature dishes for Thanksgiving. Once I went dairy free I made the dish for everyone else but myself. (sadness-I know) But your recipe is great and has now been in my Thanksgiving rotation for the last two years! I double it so we have enough to eat on two days.

    Reply
  47. Laura

    Can you subsitute butternut squash instead of sweet potato? I am allergic to sweet potato and also avoid dairy.
    Thank you! Looks scrumptious!

    Reply
  48. Jeny

    My daughter is a vegan and just had a baby, so I am stocking her freezer with freezer meals. This was super delicious!

    I have a recipe for a hearty potato casserole I always make after Easter that includes shredded has browns, leftover ham, broccoli and A LOT of dairy. My mom is dairy free, so I used this sauce to go my casserole instead. My mom is in heaven.

    I also made a large enough batch of the sauce for my mom to freeze later. My mom is in heaven. She misses cheese. I froze it in 2 cup servings and she is dreaming up new ways to use the cheese sauce.

    Reply
  49. Katie

    This is just delicious, seriously so tasty! On to making your vegan mac n cheese next. Was my first time cooling with nutritional yeast! Thanks!

    Reply
  50. Elena

    Wow, this was just amazing! I will definitely be using the “cheese” sauce again, what great idea 🙂 Thank you so much for this recipe !

    Reply
  51. Amanda

    Super easy to prepare and delicious! Using one large potato, I could have eaten the “cheese” sauce by itself – a touch more of nutritional yeast and a splash of almond milk made it perfect. Will definitely make again. Thank you!

    Reply
      1. Judabaker Jenifer

        Alexis – Just FYI if you’ve never used Nutritional Yeast, it’s not the same as regular yeast that you use for baking bread. Nutritional Yeast is a product that vegetarians use to add a cheesy flavor to food, so it’s very forgiving – meaning you could add as much or as little as you want. It’s loaded with B vitamins – can find it in a health food store – at the store I go to, it’s by the bulk foods.

        Reply
  52. Judabaker

    There are so many recipes for “mashed sweet potatoes”, made with cream, various sweeteners, etc. My initial thought is to simply roast the sweet potato and mash it up without anything added. What are we after here?

    Reply
      1. Jenifer

        Made this last night – so delicious. Next time I might try roasting the broccoli as my electric (ugh) cooktop hates me – and I ended up overcooking the broccoli/onion mixture.

        Will definitely be making this again.

        Reply
  53. Shira Pomeranz

    Made last night. Had no sweet potatoes so I used acorn squash. Was so wonderful my four grown boys and husband and I gobbled it up. Hard to find something so good for vegan husband, and my gluten free, sugar free and dairy free. Its been printed and placed with my “make again” recipes. Thank you. Am definitely keeping your site as a favorite.

    Reply

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