There are few things that bring as much joy as biting into some homemade comfort food. But if you’re watching your weight, carb intake, or calories, most comfort foods can seem out of reach — but that’s not so with this healthy broccoli rice casserole. Low in fat and carbohydrates, our casserole dish retains all the creaminess and cheesiness of the original. And better yet, it’s easily hack-able for those who are short on time.
This healthy broccoli rice casserole is essentially a keto variation of the classic Southern broccoli rice casserole. But instead of mounds of butter and sticky, overcooked rice, you end up with a light and filling casserole dish that’s easy on the waist and the wallet.
A healthy broccoli rice casserole is also the kind of dish you can bring to a potluck or a summer picnic because it’s perfectly portable and tastes great cold or reheated, says food blogger & photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant’s Table. The recipe is also a great leftovers-for-lunch option to have at home, with a green side on the side to really round out the meal.
So let’s make this casserole — you’ll be truly amazed at how much taste this adapted keto recipe has!
Gather the ingredients for this healthy broccoli rice casserole
For this healthy broccoli rice casserole, you will need a head of broccoli and a small head of cauliflower. We recommend getting ready-made cauliflower rice; otherwise, just cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse those in the food processor until it’s broken down to pieces as small as a grain of rice.
If you don’t want to deal with cutting up a head of broccoli, you can also buy precut broccoli florets. Feel free to use fresh or frozen broccoli and cauliflower rice for this recipe!
Other than the main vegetable ingredients, the other vegetables in our keto broccoli rice casserole are garlic cloves and lemon zest. Do not skip the lemon zest — it adds a ton of flavor to this dish, setting it apart from other "healthy" dishes that can taste a bit bland. As an option, you can also top your casserole slices with finely minced fresh thyme, parsley or cilantro, but it’s not necessary.
Finally, the remaining ingredients in this casserole are eggs, low fat sour cream or yogurt, and a low-fat grated cheese of your choice. To save on time, you can buy your cheese pre-grated as well.
Prep veggies and cheese for the keto friendly broccoli casserole
If you bought your broccoli cut into florets and your cauliflower riced, then you’re in for an extremely short prep time! Otherwise, here’s what you have to do to get a few steps closer to a delicious, bubbling casserole.
Chop one head of broccoli into small, bite-sized florets — each floret should be about one to two inches in size. They should be big enough to be tasted but not so big that they’ll bother you when you’re eating.
To rice cauliflower, cut the cauliflower into florets of a similar size, and pulse them in the food processor until they’re broken down to rice-sized pieces.
Mince the garlic finely. Grate the cheese. If your cheese was also pre-grated, then you really didn’t have to do anything in this stage at all — that’s what we call smart shopping!
Microwave riced cauliflower and broccoli florets for your healthy broccoli casserole
Combine the riced cauliflower and broccoli florets in one microwave-safe mixing bowl. Add one-fourth cup of water, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the vegetables. What you’re doing here is essentially steaming your veggies in a way that allows them to retain all the nutrients but makes their texture much more palatable and enjoyable. It also considerably shortens the cooking time of the casserole.
Microwave the broccoli and cauliflower rice for 3 minutes, and then leave covered for another 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and fluff with a fork.
Make egg custard mixture for the healthy broccoli casserole
In a bowl, combine eggs, low-fat sour cream or yogurt, salt and black pepper. Whisk it all together. You can use a fork or a whisk to do so.
The eggs and creamy component serve as binders for the vegetables. They also add protein and fat to our dish, ensuring that it’s actually a filling meal while also being healthy. And of course, they give the dish that creamy, delicious quality of a traditional broccoli rice casserole, but without the loaded calories.
You can use either low fat sour cream or Greek yogurt in this dish: Both are sufficiently thick to act as a proper binder and add a good dose of flavor.
Combine ingredients for the keto-friendly broccoli casserole in a baking pan
To an ovenproof, casserole-style baking dish, add the cauliflower rice and broccoli mixture. Top with minced garlic cloves, the zest of one lemon, one teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper. Stir with a spatula until it’s all well combined.
Pour the egg-yogurt mixture overtop the broccoli-cauliflower mixture, and gently stir with a spatula to combine. You should see clumps of broccoli florets in a mixture of cauliflower-thickened yogurt and eggs. There shouldn’t be too much liquid; if your broccoli looks like it’s "drowning" in the liquid, you may need to add more broccoli florets or cauliflower rice.
Top with grated cheese and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
Bake your healthy broccoli casserole at 400 degrees for 30 mins
Congratulations — you’re mere minutes away from a deliciously healthy meal!
Cover the casserole dish with a lid or with aluminum foil, and then, insert it into the oven to bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. The casserole will all come together during this time, while cooking the eggs and creating a sliceable dish that you can even wrap up for lunch to go.
After 20 minutes, remove the cover and broil the casserole, uncovered, for another 10 minutes in the oven. That’s what will give us that beautiful, bubbling cheesy crust — but even if your dish doesn’t look perfectly golden-brown, it’s still going to be yummy!
Serve your healthy broccoli rice casserole
Serve your healthy broccoli rice casserole immediately for the perfect cheesy taste, gooey texture and comforting flavor. You should taste a little bite of garlic and some zing from the lemon zest while also noticing the creamy, perfectly cooked texture of the broccoli. The cauliflower rice shouldn’t be particularly noticeable, as at this point it has mixed with the other ingredients to create a cushioning for your vegetable bits. And of course, you’re going to notice that fantastic melted cheese!
If desired, you can top the casserole dish or each slice with fresh herbs (parsley, thyme or cilantro would do nicely). We also like to dollop a bit more low fat sour cream or yogurt at each serving.
If packing for later, your healthy broccoli rice casserole will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for five days.