Nostalgic Broccoli and Rice Casserole

My mom used to make this when I was growing up. Comfort food? Here ya go!

This is a great meal on its own or as a side dish. There are also many variations. I have made this vegetarian as well as vegan and it's still just as tasty. I like that this one does not use condensed soup because, 1. gross and 2. I don’t have to make my own. I have made my own condensed soup in the past, and while probably better for you, it’s another step that I just don’t have time for anymore. (I tend to fall down the rabbit hole with trying to make everything myself) 🤪

My mom used to put cream of mushroom soup in hers. So to try to recreate that, I would add minced mushrooms to the cheese mixture.

Use your imagination! For a dairy free option, consider using vegan butter; milk alternative, such as soy or oat milk (I think these are creamier than others) but any will do; cream cheese alternative (my go to is tofutti) and there are several others; instead of cheddar cheese consider making this cheese sauce. This cheese sauce is my go to recipe and I use it for several different things, including dip for chips.

(see my notes for alternative suggestions)

Nostalgic Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Adapted from: Spend with Pennies

Original Recipe: here

PREP TIME 20 minutes COOK TIME 35 minutes TOTAL TIME 55 minutes SERVINGS 8 servings AUTHOR Holly Nilsson COURSE Side Dish CUISINE American

This Broccoli Rice Casserole is made from scratch (and contains no condensed soup).


  • 6 cups fresh broccoli cut into bite sized pieces

  • 2 cups cooked white or brown rice


  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter

  • ¾ cup onion diced (about 1 small)

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 2 cups milk alternative

  • ¼ teaspoon each garlic & black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • salt to taste

  • 3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese

  • 1 batch vegan cheese sauce


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • Cook onion and butter on medium-low heat until softened and translucent. Stir in flour, garlic powder and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes.

  • Gradually pour in milk while whisking. Continue whisking over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add dry mustard, paprika, cream cheese and 1/2 cheese sauce recipe. Stir until combined.

  • Blanch broccoli in boiling water for about 2 minutes. You still want it slightly crisp as it cooks more in the oven.

  • Stir together rice, drained broccoli and cheese mixture. Place in a greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese sauce and bake covered with foil 35 minutes or until bubbly.


My favorite Cheese Sauce:

1 cup carrots

2 c potatoes

(Boil in water until soft)

*Reserve cooking liquid

Combine veggies +

1/2 c nutritional yeast

1/3 c olive oil

1/2 c cooking water

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t onion powder

1 T lemon juice (or to taste)

1 t salt

Purée in a well powered blender until smooth. Add more cooking liquid as needed (for consistency). This can be made ahead of time and frozen – but will need to be re-blended once thawed.

Could add jalapeño for a nacho flavor

* Add minced mushrooms with the onion to recreate that mushroom flavor!

Dairy free options:

Milk- Soy, Almond, Cashew, Rice, Oat, Hemp, Flax

Butter- Earth Balance, Melt

Cream Cheese- Toffuti, Kite Hill, Daiya