How to Crush a Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Broccoli cauliflower casserole is the wood-paneled station wagon of hearty dishes for a reason. It’s easy, satisfying, and delicious. But it’s also a dangerous flatbed for bacon, butter, breadcrumbs, bacon, and bacon. While these are tasty vehicles for broccoli cauliflower casserole, they’re usually flaming wrecks of unhealthy sludge.

Surely there’s a way to make this stalwart dish that’s healthy, delicious, creamy, vegan, and gluten-free.

Meet Your New Favorite: Creamy Gluten-Free Vegan Cauliflower Sauce

You can thank New Orleans. Actually, you can thank Susan Spicer, owner and head chef of Bayona’s who developed a recipe for cauliflower sauce published in her 2007 masterpiece, “Crescent City Cooking.” It’s used as a savory, silky base for plating fish or beef just like you would a cream sauce. If you’re vegan, this sauce will change your game.

However, Spicer’s version isn’t vegan. She uses cream and butter which makes a delicious sauce, but it just won’t work for a plant-based diet. Fortunately for us, coconuts exist. I swapped coconut fat and coconut milk for the butter and cream and voila, an alabaster, velvety sauce you’ll want to drink right out of the pan. But don’t. It’s hot.

Broccoli is a Magical Anti- Cancer Superfood

Broccoli is a Swiss Army Knife ingredient. You can roast it, fry it, steam it, grill it, and puree it into a silky soup. Like zuccinni and brussels sprouts, broccoli undergoes an alchemical transformation in the oven (or on the grill). The Maillard effect brings out the latent sugars to brown while the tips of the florets get crispy and if you’ll just wait a minute I’m going to go eat some right now.

Broccoli is delicious—if you like broccoli. Some people hate this vegetable so much they have to leave the kitchen when you cook it. It could be genetic. This is too bad because broccoli and its army of cruciferous greens are loaded with nutrients and fight cancer. Or course, broccoli hatred might come from a history of eating overcooked broccoli, which tastes and feels like a mouthful of erasers.

You Can Make This Heavenly Recipe 3 Ways

There are three reasons why broccoli cauliflower casserole is a household staple for busy families and newbie cooks: it’s easy, it’s tasty, and it’s cheap. You can get a nice head of broccoli for less than a dollar. Same with cauliflower. (OK, $4 tops.)

Busy families often have challenging dietary restrictions and preferences but this broccoli cauliflower casserole covers them all. The base recipe for creamy cauliflower sauce is vegan and gluten-free, but with simple substitutions or additions, it will satisfy vegetarian and keto diners, too.

If you make the vegan version, you’ll please even the pickiest paleo people. Back it up to the vegetarian recipe and you’re still serving a filling, smacktacular main that carries itself well as a proud leftover. Dial it all the way back to the Keto dish and you’ve got a killer side—even a main—that’s carb neutral and fat forward.

All are gluten-free.

1. Start with preparing all the ingredients for the sauce: Cauliflower, shallots, garlic, broth, coconut cream and salt and pepper.

2. For the base of the cream sauce, saute the chalets in olive oil and coconut oil until transparent. Add the garlic and then the cauliflower. Simmer for a couple of minutes, add the coconut cream, along with salt and pepper, last, and simmer for 2 more minutes. Let cool and then blend until smooth.
Steamed broccoli over sauce Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
3. Once you’ve steamed your broccoli, ladle 1/4 cup of sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Place most of the broccoli on top and cover it with the remainder of the cauliflower sauce. Place the rest of the broccoli on top.
topping ingredients Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
4. Gather the ingredients for the casserole topping. Almonds, spices, Gluten-free Panko bread crumbs, and olive oil. Combine and sprinkle evenly over the casserole. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
4. Let the casserole rest for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole

  • Author: Bull Garlington
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This vegan version of broccoli cauliflower casserole looks like creamed broccoli but the cream sauce is actually the cauliflower.



For the cauliflower sauce

  • 1 T of coconut oil
  • 1 T of olive oil
  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower (about the size of a large grapefruit), steamed and cut coarsely
  • 2 c. vegetable stock or water
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper

The casserole

  • 1 large head of broccoli


  • 1/4 c. roasted slivered almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 c. Gluten-free panko bread crumbs
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cauliflower Sauce

  1. Sauté the shallot and in the coconut and olive oil in a medium pan until it is translucent but not browned. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the stock or water and bring to a boil.
  4. Lower the heat, add a pinch of salt, simmer for 10 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender and the liquid has reduced by half.
  5. Add the coconut cream and simmer for about two more minutes
  6. Remove, pan from heat, allow to cool, pour into a blender and blend until the sauce is creamy and velvety
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning
  8. Set aside

The casserole

  1. Cut broccoli into individual florets and steam until tender.
  2. Cover the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish (I use an 8 inch round ramekin that’s about 3 inches deep) with about two tablespoons of the cauliflower sauce.
  3. Spread the broccoli on top.
  4. Salt and pepper the broccoli
  5. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the broccoli (allow some of the broccoli florets to poke up through the sauce to brown).
  6. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, almonds and cayenne with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
  7. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the sauce is bubbly



Replace the coconut oil with butter and the coconut cream with actual cream to pull this dish out of vegan territory. 


Replace the vegetable stock with chicken stock, the coconut oil with butter, and the coconut cream with actual cream. Add 1/4 c. grated parmesan to the panko breadcrumb topping, or go extra cheesy and top the casserole with 1 c. grated cheddar cheese before you add the breadcrumb topping. 

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegan broccoli cauliflower casserole, creamy gluten-free vegan cauliflower sauce, vegan cauliflower sauce, vegan cauliflower cream sauce

© Photos / Health Food Radar

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Bull Garlington

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