This casserole reminds me of my childhood.
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)
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
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
5 cups broccoli florets
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.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot! Serve immediately, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
"Cheesy" Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole (Vegan)
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
- 1 cup dry quinoa , rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion , chopped
- 5 cups broccoli florets
- 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.
- Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot! Serve immediately, and store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Per Serving: Calories: 250, Fat: 4g, Carbohydrates: 44g, Fiber: 8g, Protein: 11g
Reader Feedback: What was your favorite childhood dish?
Questions and Reviews
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!
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.
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
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 🙂
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!
I’m allergic to nutritional yeast. Is there something I could use to replace it and keep it non-dairy?
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!!!
A delicious, satisfying meal that was easy to make. Thank you!
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!!
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!
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.
do you think this sauce would freeze well? if so, for how long?
Can you subsitute butternut squash instead of sweet potato? I am allergic to sweet potato and also avoid dairy.
Thank you! Looks scrumptious!
Hi Megan! This looks great. Just wondering, should I freeze this before baking or after? Thanks!
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.
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!
Wow, this was just amazing! I will definitely be using the “cheese” sauce again, what great idea 🙂 Thank you so much for this recipe !
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!
How much more yeast did you use?
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.
This recipe is a semi-frequent one at our house! My 3yr old loves it!
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?
Yes, you’re right! There should be nothing added– just cooked and mashed sweet potato.
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.
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.
Just finished making this and it was wonderful. I have a little one with a dairy and egg allergy and she has always enjoyed everything I’ve made from your site. Thank you so much!
Your cookbook recipe for this leaves out the part about baking in the oven for 30 minutes. The first step tells you to preheat the oven but never tells you to put everything in a baking dish and bake. Thankfully this recipe is online so I can finish it!
Yes, sorry about the typo in the cookbook. I actually meant to omit the oven instructions in the cookbook version, because you can make it faster by just heating it all together over the stove top. (The book is already going to reprint, so it will be corrected in future copies.) But, either way works well!
This was delicious! To the cheese sauce I added garlic powder and some pepper. So glad I made this. My carnivore boyfriend also loved it!
I am completely in love with this casserole, and this delicious cheese sauce is the easiest I’ve found. I’m excited to make nachos with it now that its football season (finally). I’m even more excited that my lactose intolerant toddler can have nachos too! Thank you a million!!!
Absolutely delicious! My husband and daughter raved about this – could not believer that it was cheesiness! Definitely a keeper!
This is amazing. Added garlic to the sauce. Just tossed a clove into the vita mix while mixing my sauce. It is amazing! I can’t say that enough.
Fyi step 5 in your no excuses detox book does not say to put in oven for 30 mins. Step 1 says preheat oven but recipe never mentions puttinginto oven. I wrote it in after reading it here. I looked it up because I was confused as to why I turned the oven on. Love everything I’ve tried so far. Thank you
I did the laziest version of this possible and it was incredible. I microwaved my sweet potato to “bake” it before mashing, also microwaved my broccoli in a covered bowl with a little water to “steam” it. I at least followed the quinoa’s cooking directions. But the SAUCE. I was blown away. You could put anything in this sauce and it’ll be so good you’ll cry. Mine came out great even with my shortcuts so thank you for building an absolutely incredible, fool-proof recipe for a fully balanced veggie/protein/grain meal.
I forgot how good this is! I made it a few times years ago and will be bringing it back again 🙂 I added some more spices (paprika, turmeric) and topped it off with some breadcrumbs – broiled it at the end to crisp them up.
I enjoyed this recipe although I wouldn’t consider it “cheesy “I also would recommend that you make the sweet potato prior to making the recipe to save time.