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Guest Recipe: Cheezy Broccoli Rice Casserole by Bianca

When I saw that Bianca’s new book, Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South, had come out I knew it would be filled with casserole dishes I grew up loving. My favorite dish of all time, which was required by my grandmother to make at every holiday, was Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Casserole. Looking back at the ingredients it was a pretty unhealthy dish; white rice, cream of mushroom soup, frozen broccoli and a tube of Velveetta cheese. Is that even real cheese?

I was super excited to find out she had her very own version of this childhood favorite. And today we share it with you! Keep an eye out for an interview with Bianca and a giveaway for her awesome cookbook!

Cheezy Broccoli Rice Casserole

(from Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South)

1 head broccoli

2 tablespoons soy margarine

1/2 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup Vegan Cream of Mushroom soup (recipe follows)

1 cup Basic Cheezy Sauce (recipe follows)

2 cups cooked brown rice

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside. Cut the broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. Peel the tough skin off of the stalks using a knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Melt the margarine in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Add the broccoli and soy sauce and stir to coat. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli just begins to soften. Remove from heat. Stir together the cooked brown rice, the cooked broccoli, and the Vegan Cream of Mushroom soup. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the rice/broccoli/mushroom soup mixture into the casserole dish. Spread the Basic Cheezy Sauce over the top to cover the entire mixture. Distribute the breadcrumbs evenly over the top.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off and turn the broiler onto high. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to brown.

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Yields 2 cups

2 tablespoons soy margarine

1 8-ounce package whole mushrooms, sliced (about 12 to 14 whole mushrooms)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cups unsweetened soymilk

Melt the margarine in a medium-sized pot. Add the mushrooms, salt, thyme, marjoram, and tarragon. Cook until mushrooms wilt down slightly, about 7 to 10 minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch into the soymilk in a measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the cornstarch and soymilk mixture to the pot and stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Leave as is if you’d prefer a chunky mushroom soup. If you’d prefer a smooth, creamy soup, wait for the soup to cool slightly and transfer, in batches, to a blender.

Basic Cheezy Sauce

Yields 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk

3/4 cup water

1 tablespoon soy margarine

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Stir together the nutritional yeast, flour, salt, and garlic powder in a medium saucepan. Add the soymilk and water, using a whisk to incorporate. Turn on medium heat, and whisk constantly for about 7 to 10 minutes or until the mixture forms a thick, gravy-like consistency. Turn off the heat and stir in margarine and mustard.

Bianca Phillips is the author of Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South, and she blogs daily at VeganCrunk.blogspot.com. She’s also the associate editor at the alt-weekly paper, The Memphis Flyer.

Posted in My Blog on 11/28/2012 12:28 pm
 

5 Comments

  1. Christy, I made your sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving and it rocked my face off- my whole family loved it! This dish looks amazing, too. Cheezy sauce!? Yes, please…

  2. This looks soooo good!

  3. I am soooo making this. It will definitely be on my holiday table this year. Thanks for veganizing an old classic. :)

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