This vegan broccoli and cauliflower rice hemp casserole is the perfect vegan-friendly twist on a traditional holiday classic side dish. I love a good broccoli cauliflower casserole. Probably because it was a traditional holiday side dish growing up in the Lydon household. Only the version I had as a kid was swimming in Velveeta cheese and covered in Ritz crackers. It tasted great at the time but the thought of it today makes me cringe a little. As I’m writing this, I started to ask myself is Velveeta even still around? I mean it’s not like I’m ever looking for at the grocery store. And the last time I saw it was probably in my grandma’s fridge…like 18 years ago :). Well in case you were curious too, you can now sleep soundly at night knowing it is still on the market and good ol’ Kraft is referring to it as “liquid gold” in their marketing on their website. If it’s liquid gold, then why can’t I seem to find the nutrition facts for it on their website? Hmm….I wonder.
So a few years ago, I revamped the family recipe to be sans Velveeta and sans margarine and Ritz by using real cheddar, Greek yogurt and whole-wheat breadcrumbs – you can get the recipe for that vintage broccoli cauliflower casserole here (as long as you promise not to laugh too hard at my pictures back then – okay, you can laugh – they were pretty awful).
But this year I’m making a vegan version of this classic holiday side dish that all your plant-based friends and family members can enjoy. And this version features a delicious thick and creamy cashew cheese sauce. It also features cauliflower rice! If you’ve never heard of cauliflower rice, you’ve got to try it. It’s crazy easy to make and it’s a delicious alternative to rice or couscous. Plus, it’s just one more way to up your vegetable game. All you do is pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they’re couscous-sized granules and then toss them in a sauté pan to heat it up and season to taste. This casserole is topped with cauliflower rice instead of breadcrumbs.
And for an extra nutrition boost, it’s packed with hemp seeds! The hemp seeds add a little nuttyness to the cashew cheese sauce, not to mention extra protein, omega 3s, and fiber! They’re such an easy way to add a little more nutrition to a dish.
This casserole is hearty, filling, “cheesy” and packed with flavor. Even vegan-fare-averse-Steve, my main squeeze taste tester, loved it!
- 1 small head cauliflower, quartered, cores removed, and broken into florets
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least one hour
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- ¼ cup Hemp Hearts
- ½ tablespoon white miso
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cup hot almond milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 medium heads broccoli, cut into 2-inch pieces, quickly steamed
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse until broken down into couscous-sized granules.* Set aside.
- In a food processor, add cashews, nutritional yeast, vinegar, garlic, salt, white pepper, Hemp Hearts, miso, lemon juice, and ½ cup almond milk and pulse until smooth and creamy.
- In a large saucepan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and let cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add flour and whisk until oil is absorbed and onions are coated, about 60 seconds. Add milk and whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in cashew cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Add broccoli to a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Pour cashew cheese sauce over broccoli and mix to evenly distribute. Sprinkle 1 cup “cauliflower rice” over top.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until cauliflower rice starts to turn golden brown and sauce is bubbling.
*Some florets may not break down. Pull these out and set aside. Transfer cauliflower rice to another bowl and reprocess the larger cauliflower pieces.