Cheesy Cauliflower Rice & Broccoli Bake

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Ceramic baking dish with our gluten-free vegan Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake recipe

Consider this my healthier, vegan homage to a cheesy broccoli rice casserole.

However, I don’t like the words “casserole” or “hot dish.” Hearing them conjures up images of church basements and mystery potlucks. So, instead, why don’t we call this a bake? Glad you’re on board.

Broccoli, cauliflower, and vegan parmesan cheese for making healthy vegan comfort food

This recipe screams fall and the holidays. Am I jumping the gun on fall-themed dishes? I say no.

Cauliflower and broccoli are in my part of the world at the moment and I’m putting them to good use recreating one of my favorite side dishes.

Anything with broccoli covered in “cheese” (in this case, vegan parmesan – aka gold dust and my go-to mac ‘n’ cheese sauce) is a winner in my book.

Whisking together cheese sauce for our Amazing Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake

This recipe is easy to make, requiring just 10 ingredients and simple methods. Plus, it comes together in just a little more than an hour.

Stirring together ingredients for our gluten-free plant-based Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake

The base is lightly sautéed cauliflower rice and steamed broccoli tossed in vegan parmesan cheese and my super velvety mac ‘n’ cheese sauce.

Then it’s poured into a baking dish, topped with more vegan parm, and baked! A short 30-45 minutes later you have a bubbly, golden brown masterpiece on your hands.

Ceramic baking dish filled with our amazing Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake

I hope you love this recipe! It’s:

Savory
Cheesy
Comforting
Satisfying
Vegetable-packed
Surprisingly healthy
& Super tasty

This is the perfect side for weeknight meals or to bring along to holiday gatherings. People won’t believe this is dairy- and gluten-free.

Bonus tip! To make this dish entrée-worthy, add in 1 cup cooked chickpeas for even more fiber and protein.

If you try this dish, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Ceramic baking dish with Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake for a gluten-free plant-based side dish

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice & Broccoli Bake

Savory, cheesy cauliflower rice and broccoli bake with just 10 ingredients required! The perfect healthy, comforting side dish for holidays and every day!
Author Minimalist Baker
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Baking pan filled with a batch of our Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Bake for a simple vegan dinner
4.78 from 72 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4 Days

Ingredients

VEGETABLES

SAUCE

  • 4 Tbsp olive, grape seed, or avocado oil (or vegan butter)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~2.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (if not gluten free, can sub all purpose flour)
  • 2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (can sub rice)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt + black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)

MIX-INS optional

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas or quinoa for added protein
  • 1 cup chopped curly kale

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly grease a 9×13 inch (or similar size) baking dish (adjust number/size of pan if altering batch size).
  • Prepare your cauliflower rice (either with the shredding attachment on your food processor or a box grater). Set aside.
  • Lightly steam your broccoli – just until it has a slight bite – either in the microwave in 45-second increments or on the stovetop using a steamer basket in a saucepan with 1-2 inch of water). Place in refrigerator for later.
  • Next prepare your sauce. Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown, then add arrowroot starch and whisk – cook for 1 minute.
  • Slowly add almond milk while whisking, then cook for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. The sauce will likely look a little clumpy – that’s OK! We’re going to blend it.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender, along with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan cheese and blend on high until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed – you want it pretty well salted + cheesy, so don’t be shy with the nutritional yeast, salt, and vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Return sauce back to skillet from earlier and cook over low heat until warmed and slightly thickened – about 2-3 minutes – whisking occasionally. As it warms back up, it will thicken (see photo). For a thicker sauce, leave it as is. To thin slightly, add almond milk 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Turn off heat if it starts bubbling too aggressively or gets too thick.
  • Heat a separate skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and cauliflower rice. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Then cover and let cook/steam for 2 minutes. Remove cover, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more or until slightly softened. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the steamed broccoli to the mixing bowl and season liberally with salt, pepper and half of the vegan parmesan cheese (1/4 cup as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). This step is important to infuse plenty of flavor into the dish. Stir to coat. If adding chickpeas or kale, add at this time (optional).
  • Add all of the sauce to the mixture and stir to coat. Then transfer to your greased baking dish and top with another sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F (190 C) for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake at 400 degrees F (190 C) for 5-15 minutes more or until bubbly and slightly golden brown. You are looking for golden brown edges and a bubbly center.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then serve as is or with a garnish of more vegan parmesan cheese and/or fresh chopped parsley for some color – optional.
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 4 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F (176 C) until warmed through.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 231 Carbohydrates: 14.5 g Protein: 6.6 g Fat: 18.4 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 490 mg Fiber: 4.8 g Sugar: 3.5 g

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  1. Eden says

    I’ve made this before following the recipe exactly and loved it. I made it again last night but was short on time and ingredients so made the following subs:
    Omitted vegan parmesan and added extra nutritional yeast
    Used cashew milk
    Used garbanzo/fava flour-it wasn’t as thick, but tasted fine.
    Added some hemp hearts to the sauce for protein
    I ended up just making this a saucy skillet meal and the whole fam loved it-esp my 2 year old, so that’s a win!
    I love how your recipes are always good even if I have to make some subs!

  2. Lindsay says

    I used 1 cup of rice instead of cauliflower, added sautéed onion and 1/2 of a jalapeño to the sauce before blending and OMG! I couldn’t stop “sampling” it before even putting it in the oven. This recipe is absolutely delicious and the cheese sauce is pure gold. I can’t to remake it already…I know my guests are going to LOVE it.

  3. Marie says

    Delicious and comforting! I added the optional chickpeas and wasn’t shy on the salt or nutritional yeast as instructed. I didn’t have vegan parmesan so I just used extra nutritional yeast and salt. Used an immersion blender in my skillet since I did 1.5X the recipe size. It was awesome, thanks for a nutritious and yummy fall meal!

  4. Sherri Neil says

    Another winner. I did not have have garbanzos, so I used black beans. I was also able to sneak the kale in without my husband even noticing it was in there. Yummy

  5. judy says

    I just saw today’s post for the broccoli hashbrown casserole. Wondering whether I could sub that cashew cheese sauce for the sauce in this one since I don’t eat potatoes. If yes, would the proportions be th same with just a swapping of the sauce? Thanks so much for your creative, delicious recipes.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It should work, but if memory serves me right this recipe yields slightly more sauce! So reduce quantity slightly if using for the newer recipe you’re referring to.