We’re all about fast and easy meals at the end of a busy workday — preferably something tasty enough to keep us out of the takeout line. This cheesy vegetarian casserole with brown rice is a staple in our house because it is healthy, super satisfying — and simple. Packed with easy-to-find vegetables—broccoli, cauliflower and carrots—and topped with just enough cheddar cheese to make it seem indulgent, it’s a kid-pleaser, too.
A Comforting Veggie-Rice Combo That’s Healthy and Tasty
If you are trying to get more cruciferous vegetables in your diet — important because of their anti-inflammatory properties among other important health benefits — this cheesy vegetarian casserole is for you. Broccoli and cauliflower are stars of the cruciferous family. Add in the whole-grain goodness of brown rice and you have a guilt-free dish that is both delicious and satisfying.
How to Make Cheesy Vegetarian Casserole
For this casserole recipe, we mix three cups of cooked brown rice with steamed broccoli and cauliflower florets and steamed sliced carrots.
Short-grain brown rice gives this casserole its slightly nutty flavor and hearty, chewy texture. This makes the casserole feel like more of a meal than a side dish. We prefer brown rice over white rice because it is a whole grain. Brown rice not only has more fiber than white rice but it contains more magnesium and B vitamins.
Speed tip: Invest in a good quality rice cooker — it doesn’t have to be electronic — so you can work on other things while the rice is cooking unattended.
While the rice is cooking, you can steam all the vegetables in the same pot. Steaming is fast. It is one of the healthiest ways to prepare vegetables because it uses no oil and steaming keeps more nutrients intact than boiling. This is especially true for broccoli.
Just be sure to cut the broccoli and cauliflower into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. For this recipe, the carrots should be cut no larger than half an inch so they cook as fast as the two cruciferous veggies. Any larger and they’ll be too crunchy. Beware not to steam the veggies for too long — in fact, they should be slightly undercooked at this stage because they are going to cook for a bit longer in the oven once the casserole is composed.
This particular veggie trio is popular for its color combination and taste — so popular in fact, you can find it prepackaged and ready to go at most grocery stores. (Just another reason this recipe is our go-to!)
Once you combine the veggies and rice, you season the mixture with salt and pepper and spoon it into a casserole dish. For the final touch, top with grated cheddar cheese. Then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated all the way through.
Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese — A Classic Comfort Food
This cheesy vegetarian casserole has broccoli and cheddar cheese, the classic comfort food combination — adding brown rice, cauliflower and the sweetness of carrots is surprisingly satisfying and delicious. And you can get all that goodness in less than an hour!Print
Packed with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots—and topped with just enough cheddar cheese to make it seem indulgent — this quick and easy veggie and rice casserole is a weeknight go-to recipe (and a kid-pleaser, too).
3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
8 oz. Broccoli florets
8 oz. Cauliflower florets
1 large carrot, sliced into half-inch pieces
Salt and Pepper
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated (Vegan cheddar can be substituted)
- Cook brown rice according to package directions.
- Steam the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots together until “almost” done, 3-5 minutes. A fork or knife should be able to pierce through the vegetables but they should not be too soft or mushy. Cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine the rice, vegetables and approximately 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt and a pinch of pepper.
- Spoon the rice mixture into an 8- or 9-inch square or round casserole dish.
- Top with the grated cheese. Sprinkle evenly.
- Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly but not brown.
The casserole makes a complete meal but is also delightful with a small side salad and a loaf of crusty bread. For meat eaters, the casserole makes an excellent side for roast chicken.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minures
- Category: main dish
- Method: steamed, baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: vegetarian casserole, broccoli, cauliflower, kid-friendly casserole, brown rice and veggie casserole
© Photos/Health Food Radar
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