Whether broccoli is eaten raw with a yummy dip, steamed with a light seasoning, drizzled with olive oil, or cooked into a broccoli casserole, this healthy vegetable can be surprisingly tasty. According to Health, just a cup of uncooked broccoli provides almost 250 percent of a person’s daily need for vitamin K, 135 percent of vitamin C, and a whole host of additional health benefits. It’s chock-full of fiber, and is even believed to help fight cancer. In addition, broccoli is good for your heart, boosts brain health, strengthens bones, helps prevent inflammation, offers antioxidants, and assists the body in detoxing (via Health).
So, why aren’t we eating more of this superfood? Well, not everyone is a broccoli fan, and if you aren’t, this amazing broccoli casserole just might change your mind. If you do happen to enjoy broccoli, you’ll love adding this dish to your repertoire of recipes. Recipe developer Kristen Carli infuses plenty of flavor into this casserole, and it’s sure to become a favorite.
Gather the ingredients for healthy broccoli casserole
This delicious dish calls for 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ½ yellow onion, 1 cup of brown rice, 3 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cups of broccoli florets, a 15-ounce can of chickpeas, ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese, ½ cup of shredded Mexican cheese, and 1 teaspoon of salt. The recipe yields four servings and takes just 10 minutes to prep and 45 minutes of cook time.
Be sure to select extra virgin olive oil for sautéing the veggies in this recipe. "Otherwise, avocado oil works well. I typically will avoid butter and coconut oil when possible, due to the high saturated fat content," Carli says. "Any veggie broth will do just fine. I used to make my own veggie broth by pressure cooking (Instant Pot) my veggie scraps with water, and then straining. That is also an option."
As far as the broccoli’s concerned, Carli says, "In this dish, fresh works best to achieve that light steam and resulting tender crunch. Frozen broccoli is a great option, but not the best for this dish." The fresh broccoli will cook up quite well in this casserole — plus, it’s smothered in cheese.
Cook your veggies and rice in a large skillet
Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet. Bring the oil to medium heat, add ½ yellow onion, diced, and sauté until translucent, which will take approximately five minutes. Add 1 cup of brown rice and 3 cups of vegetable broth. Bring this mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Then, add 2 cups of broccoli florets and the contents of one 15-ounce can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. Cover, and continue to cook for five more minutes.
Add the cheeses
Once everything has cooked thoroughly in the skillet, add ½ cup of shredded Mexican cheese and ¼ cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Carli says she tends to prefer Tillamook for her shredded cheeses because she "trusts their quality." Parmesan cheese lends a nutty, Italian taste to the dish, while the Mexican cheese blend gives it some kick.
Carli notes, "This dish is a healthy and hearty one-pot meal — everything I look for in a weeknight meal."
This is the perfect dish to prepare for Meatless Mondays
Carli says she loves to whip up this broccoli casserole for Meatless Mondays, a campaign where meals prepared and served on Mondays don’t contain meat. Sid Lerner kicked off this movement in 2003 in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. According to The Monday Campaigns website, "Eating less meat and more healthy plant-based foods can help reduce the incidence of chronic preventable diseases, preserve precious land and water resources, and combat climate change."
The fact that this casserole uses vegetable broth instead of a meat-based broth and doesn’t contain any meat makes it a great option for Meatless Mondays in your home, too.