This healthier broccoli cheese casserole is made with a dairy-free cheese sauce and lots of vegetables! It’s paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and AIP.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

What is Broccoli Cheese Casserole?

Broccoli cheese casserole is a serious comfort food classic that’s perfect for a cozy winter side dish, or serving for the holidays. Though the exact ingredients may vary, the general idea always remains the same. It’s made with steamed broccoli, a creamy cheese sauce, and finished off with a crunchy topping in the oven. Yum, right?!

Though this is a cheese-based dish, there’s still an option for those who are dairy-free! This healthy version is made with a dairy-free and nut-free cheese sauce that’s packed with hidden vegetables, and still has the classic broccoli base and crunchy topping. It’s the dish you’ve been looking for to bring to holiday dinners that everyone will love regardless of their dietary restrictions!

How to Make This Healthy Broccoli & Cheese Casserole Recipe

  • Boil the broccoli: Fill a large pot two-thirds of the way with water and bring to a low boil. Add the broccoli and cauliflower and boil until fork tender and the broccoli is bright green. Strain and set aside.
  • Cook the cheese sauce: Using the same pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato and carrots and saute for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly fork-tender. Pour in the coconut milk, broth, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes. The vegetables should be soft. Carefully spoon out about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot starch until fully dissolved and the mixture is thick. Pour back into the cheese sauce mixture and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a high-speed blender to blend the cheese sauce. The mixture should be fully liquid and creamy. Set aside.
  • Add in the cheese sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a 9×13″ casserole dish. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the dish, and pour in the cheese sauce.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

  • Mix well: to evenly disperse. Top the casserole off with the crushed plantain chips and transfer to the oven.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

  • Bake: in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and warm. Allow to cool slightly before topping with parsley and serving.

 

Can You Make this Broccoli Cheese Casserole Ahead of Time?

You can! I would make all of the components separately and combine it and finish in the oven right before you’re ready to serve it to make it as fresh as possible.

Can You Make This Casserole Coconut Free?

Technically, yes! You can use other dairy-free milk alternatives in place of coconut milk.

Can you omit the crunchy topping? What about using another ingredient?

Sure! Though I think it really adds a lot! I haven’t tried other alternatives for the topping other than plantain chips, but you can likely use other options like crushed crackers or breadcrumbs that fit your dietary needs.

Can you add a protein?

This obviously wouldn’t make it vegan, but you can for sure add some bacon to this casserole.

Can you omit the nutritional yeast?

This ingredient makes the recipe taste cheesy. You can omit it, but it will result in a less cheesy tasting dish.

Can you omit the arrowroot starch or use a sub?

The arrowroot helps to thicken the sauce. There are other thickeners you can use, but I think the arrowroot works best!

The Ingredients for the Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Broccoli & cauliflower 

I like to use both broccoli and cauliflower to add more nutrients and variety to this casserole. You can also use just broccoli.

Sweet potato & carrots

These are the hidden veggies in the cheese sauce that help add more flavor, body, nutrients, and color!

Coconut milk & broth

These are the liquids in the cheese sauce.

Nutritional yeast

This adds the cheesy flavor to the casserole!

Plantain chips

I like to use a food processor to crush the plantain chips. You can also add the chips to a bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

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Healthy Broccoli Cheese Casserole (Paleo & Vegan)


  • Author: Michelle
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup broth (chicken or vegetable broth of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp-4 tbsp nutritional yeast (adjust to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 cups plantain chips, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1.  Fill a large pot two-thirds of the way with water and bring to a low boil. Add the broccoli and cauliflower and boil until fork tender and the broccoli is bright green. Strain and set aside.
  2. Clean out the pot. Using the same pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Add the sweet potato and carrots and saute for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are slightly fork tender.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, broth, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes. The vegetables should be soft.
  5. Carefully spoon out about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the arrowroot starch until fully dissolved and the mixture is thick. Pour back into the cheese sauce mixture and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Use a high-speed blender to blend the cheese sauce. The mixture should be fully liquid and creamy. Set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly grease a 9×13″ casserole dish. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the dish, and pour in the cheese sauce. Mix well to evenly disperse. Top the casserole off with the crushed plantain chips and transfer to the oven.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and warm. Allow to cool slightly before topping with parsley and serving.

Notes

Adjust nutritional yeast to taste. Also, adjust salt to taste as all plantain chips have varying sodium content.

All nutritional information are estimations and will vary. Estimations do not include optional ingredients.

  • Category: Sides
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 298
  • Fat: 17.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.5g
  • Fiber: 5.5g
  • Protein: 6.6g

Keywords: Broccoli cheese casserole

Broccoli Cheese Casserole