Broccoli rice casserole is a comfort food side dish that is packed with the nutrients of dark green veggies. The cheesy flavor will be an instant family favorite.
What kind of rice do I use?
For this broccoli rice casserole, I use white Jasmine or Basmati rice. However, you could also use brown rice.
- Basmati rice- this is considered to be the best quality white rice available. It is grown in the Hymalian foothills and has a unique fragrance. When cooked, the grains stay separate and are light and fluffy.
- Jasmine rice- This is sometimes called Thai fragrant rice. It has a distinctive floral aroma. These grains are a little sticky after being cooked.
- Brown rice- Often called whole grain rice, this has very little of the grain removed from the outside. Only the inedible hull is stripped away. That’s why this variety of rice takes longer to cook and soften. It is dense and nutty when cooked. Plus, it keeps much of its nutritional value. The only downside to using brown rice in a dish like this is that, due to extended cooking time, your broccoli will end up a little mushy.
How to make broccoli rice casserole in one dish
This dish is not only easy to make but easy to clean up. Only one dish is used for all of the baking.
- Put rice on the bottom layer
- Add broccoli on top
- Pour the sauce over it all, making sure everything is submerged
- Sprinkle with cheese
What substitutions can I make in this casserole?
We all love the traditional broccoli rice casserole, but to put it in your regular rotation (and you will because it’s so easy!), you may need to switch up some ingredients.
- Change the kind of rice you use based on the guide above
- Add protein – chicken, ham, and turkey all taste great in this. And it’s a great way to use up leftovers.
- Use any kind of cheese you like. Swiss and cheddar are just recommendations.
- Add other veggies. Cauliflower, carrots or other veggies that can stand up to baking are great to add.
How do you make your own broccoli rice casserole sauce?
You will notice that you don’t use any canned stock or condensed soup in this casserole. Instead, in just a minute, you can make your own rich, preservative-free sauce to cook the entire casserole in.
You will need broth. Any kind you prefer is fine. Use mushroom or veggie if you are keeping it a vegetarian dish. Feel free to use chicken or beef broth if you want a deeper flavor.
The other ingredient you need is creme fraiche. The original creme fraiche that you would find in France is unpasteurized cream that has thickened. It is tart and buttery. Because of regulations in the United States, creme fraiche is made with pasteurized cream that has been fermented with either buttermilk or sour cream.
You could substitute sour cream if you needed to, but creme fraiche is thicker and has a richer flavor, even without added thickeners in sour cream.
Best mains to serve broccoli rice casserole with:
Broccoli Rice Casserole
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 1.5 cups white Basmati or Jasmin rice
- 2 crushed and sauteed cloves garlic - or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2.25 cups boiling hot broth - chicken, vegetable, mushroom all work
- 1-3 Tbsp crème fraîche
- sea salt
- 100-150 g melty cheese - Swiss, Cheddar, Gruyere
- fresh thyme - optional
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Wash and chop broccoli into small bite-sized florets.
- Add rice, garlic, and lemon zest to a baking dish and stir to combine.
- Add broccoli florets on top of rice. Set aside.
- In a bowl of jug whisk boiling hot broth with crème fraîche and season with sea salt and pepper until well combined.
- Pour broth over rice and broccoli, then use a spatula to submerge broccoli as well as possible in the broth.
- Sprinkle everything with cheese, then cover the baking dish with either a baking sheet of aluminum foil if your baking dish isn't flat on top. It's important that there is a tight seal and broth cannot evaporate.
- Bake for 15 minutes covered, then remove the cover and broil for 5 minutes for the cheese to brown.
- Sprinkle with a little fresh thyme is desired and serve.