This easy broccoli and rice casserole is a great recipe to have on hand when you need a quick and delicious dish. It makes a nice side for any meal and can serve as an entrée when you want a lighter, vegetarian dinner.
The casserole can be adapted in a variety of ways and become as cheesy as you like. Inside, use either shredded cheddar, Cheez Whiz, or Velveeta. You can also top the casserole with as much cheese as you like and add breadcrumbs, pimentos, or garlic to make it even more interesting.
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- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
- 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 2/3 cup Cheez Whiz (or 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese)
- 1 cup rice (cooked)
- 1 (10-ounce) package broccoli (frozen, cooked, and drained)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
- Optional: 1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, for topping)
- Optional: 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs (plain)
- Optional: 1/2 cup red bell pepper (sliced)
Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C / Gas Mark 4).
Butter a 1- to 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
In a skillet or sauté pan over medium-low heat, sauté the onion in butter until it becomes translucent.
Add the cream of mushroom soup and the Cheez Whiz or cheddar. Continue cooking, stirring, until the sauce is smooth and the cheese has melted.
In a large bowl, combine the hot cooked rice and cooked broccoli with the cheese sauce and freshly ground black pepper. Gently stir to combine.
Spoon the broccoli mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Bake the casserole for about 20 to 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly around the edges.
If using, top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese followed by half of the breadcrumbs, the red bell pepper slices, and the remaining breadcrumbs. Continue baking for a few minutes, just until the cheese has melted.
Glass Bakeware Warning
For premade casseroles or leftovers that are in a glass baking dish and have been refrigerated, do not place directly into a hot oven as the glass can shatter. Instead, place any cold glass bakeware into a cold oven to warm up while it preheats. Or, allow the bakeware to rest outside of the fridge for 30 minutes to reach room temperature while the oven preheats.
- If you don't have Cheez Whiz but want a similarly creamy and flavorful result, you can make a substitute with Velveeta or cheddar cheese. Combine 4 ounces of Velveeta cheese or cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon of butter, a dash of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard. Add a dash of cayenne pepper or Tabasco sauce, if desired. Stir over low heat until the mixture has melted.
- To thaw frozen broccoli, place it in a colander under cool running water until thawed. If you prefer fresh broccoli, use about 10 to 12 ounces of florets. To cook either, put the broccoli in a saucepan with 1 inch of water or in a steaming basket over 1 inch of water. Steam for about 5 minutes, or until just tender.
- This casserole can be frozen for later. Before baking, wrap very well and freeze. Before baking, defrost in the fridge and add a few minutes to the baking time.
- Add a buttered breadcrumb topping to the casserole. Toss 1 cup of fresh soft breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the casserole just before it goes into the oven. Grated Parmesan cheese and toasted almonds are other great toppings.
- Add a few tablespoons of drained, chopped pimentos to the broccoli mixture for some extra color and flavor.
- Rub the cut side of half a garlic clove over the inside of the casserole dish or add 1 finely minced clove of garlic to the butter along with the chopped onion.
- Make the casserole with half cauliflower and half broccoli.
- Cooked white rice or brown rice will work for this recipe.