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Fresh Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole Without Soup

Sneak Preview: This easy Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole Without Soup starts with a homemade mushroom and vegetable cream sauce. No canned soup (with too much salt) is needed.

Instead of canned soup, this recipe calls for a simple, do-it-yourself cream sauce. You control the salt and avoid the preservatives. Your reward is a fresher flavor customized to your needs and tastes.

broccoli cheese and rice casserole on a plate with sausage

You may be familiar with versions of Broccoli-Rice Casserole that use cream of mushroom, celery, or chicken soup. Some call for Cheese Whiz, too. Yikes! Not my style–although I’m not opposed to keeping a few cans of soup in the pantry for emergencies.

Recipe tips for Broccoli Casserole without Soup:

1. If you are feeding reluctant broccoli eaters, chop the broccoli finely.

How large or small you chop the broccoli has a pronounced effect on the final product. Larger pieces will keep the broccoli more defined and not as soft. I like larger pieces for textural interest, as seen in the picture above.

You might have more luck in pleasing picky eaters or kids if you chop the broccoli finer. The broccoli bits will be softer (less crunchy) and not as well defined. See the picture below.

broccoli and rice casserole using finely chopped broccoli and white cheddar
Broccoli Casserole Without Soup–broccoli is chopped finely. Better for picky eaters.

2. What to do if the sauce in the broccoli casserole seems too runny or too thick:

The sauce should be somewhat thin when you pour the broccoli-rice mixture into a baking dish. It will thicken as it bakes. If it seems thick enough to hold a shape before baking, stir in another 1/4 cup of milk.

Likewise, if the prepared casserole sits very long before baking, you might consider adding a 1/4 cup of half and half or milk. Rice is a sponge!!!

3. Any variety of rice will work.

Jasmine is my favorite. However, I frequently use long-grain, basmati, or even brown rice.

Whenever I make plain rice, I freeze the leftovers. These leftovers work perfectly in this recipe.

4. Evaporated milk or heavy cream + milk keeps the cream sauce from curdling.

I don’t recommend substituting fat-free or low-fat milk. If you want to avoid dairy, try using chicken broth and leaving the cheese out.

image of a leaf
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5. Don’t overcook the broccoli.

uncooked broccoli vs broccoli cooked in microwave
Left: Fresh broccoli Right: Cooked broccoli should be bright green when added to other casserole ingredients.

6. Using a microwave:

Besides cleaning and chopping the broccoli, the sauce is the most labor-intensive step. Use your microwave to make the sauce, and you’ll be amazed.

I make many sauces in my microwave–for example, Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup, Condensed Cream of Celery Soup, and cream pie fillings. Consequently, I don’t have to worry about burning or sticking. See the microwave instructions in the notes of the recipe.

Regarding using a microwave oven: I know many chefs and restaurants are negative about them. Still, I think they are a modern miracle for the home cook when used correctly and carefully.

Consequently, I have two of them in my kitchen. Microwaves are one of my best kitchen secrets because they help make healthy eating convenient–a priority for me.

How to make a Broccoli Rice Cheese Casserole Without Soup:

fresh broccoli..some of it chopped
Chop broccoli into small pieces. Cut the stems into tiny pieces.
broccoli steamed in pyrex dish using a microwave
Cover and steam chopped broccoli in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on High. No water is needed.
squeezing lemon over cooked broccoli
Squeeze half of a lemon over the cooked broccoli and set aside.
Frying onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms until softened
Sauté onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms in butter for about 3 minutes until softened.
evaporated milk or cream added to veggies
Add flour and heat for 1 minute, stirring to cook the flour. Stir in evaporated milk or cream/milk.
Cheese added to cream mixture
Add all but 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
Adding broccoli and rice to cheese and cream sauce
Add rice and broccoli. Stir.
cheese sprinkled over top of unbaked casserole
Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake.
Broccoli and Rice Casserole out of the oven

More recipes you might enjoy:

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Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at saladinajar.com.

Hope to see you again soon!
Paula

Fresh Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole Without Soup Recipe

Traditional Broccoli-Rice Casserole with mushrooms but no canned soup. See microwave directions in the Notes below.
Paula Rhodes
4.76 from 49 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Vegetables and Side Dishes
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh broccoli florets and stems, chopped - (stems should be finely chopped) 285 gr
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter - 28 gr
  • ¼ cup chopped onions - 36 gr
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • 1 stalk celery - chopped
  • ¾ cup minced mushrooms - 60 gr
  • 1 tablespoon flour - 8 gr
  • ½ teaspoon salt - 3 gr
  • teaspoon white pepper - a pinch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes - optional
  • 1 12-ounce can regular evaporated milk - (or 3/4 cup heavy cream and 3/4 cup whole milk) 340 gr
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese - 170 gr
  • 1 ¼ cup cooked rice - 250 gr

Instructions
 

  • Steam or microwave (about 3 minutes on HIGH) chopped broccoli and stems until tender but still bright green. Squeeze lemon over broccoli.
  • Melt butter in skillet. Add onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms and saute until softened. Stir in flour and cook about one minute to take away the raw flour taste. Whisk in milk and continue whisking until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1-1/2 cup cheese and stir to melt.
  • Combine broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce. Turn into 1 1/2 quart greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350˚ F until bubbly (around 30 minutes).

Notes

  1. If not baking immediately, add 1/4 cup of milk (maybe more) to compensate for the moisture the rice absorbs while it sits.
  2. We like 1-2 tablespoons of chopped jalapeños added to the cream sauce.
Microwave directions:
  1. Steam or microwave (about 3 minutes on HIGH) chopped broccoli and stems until tender but still bright green. Squeeze lemon over broccoli.
  2. Add butter, onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms to a 2-quart batter bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Add flour to vegetables and stir. Whisk in milk and cook uncovered on HIGH for 6-7 minutes. Whisk after 4 minutes and once a minute after that to even out the cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cup cheese and stir to melt. The sauce will thicken more as it sits.
  3. Combine broccoli, rice, and cheese sauce, then pour the mixture into a 1-1/2 quart greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 350˚F until bubbly (around 30 minutes).

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 133kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 255mgPotassium: 171mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 469IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 144mgIron: 1mg
Keyword broccoli, homemade cream of mushroom soup side dishes, how to make broccoli-rice casserole, rice, vegetable casserole, vegetable side dish, vegetarian
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Barry Shandley

Friday 26th of March 2021

Is there any chance of hving ingredients in either pounds and ounces or grammes please?

Paula

Friday 26th of March 2021

It's done, Barry. Happy to do it upon request for any recipe you find on my website.

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

Lynda

Saturday 12th of January 2019

Thank you for posting. I was looking for a "by scratch" casserole for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law normally makes the broccoli casserole, but she is out of town this Thanksgiving, so I volunteered. This is my first attempt at making the casserole and was so disappointed to see all the canned food in most recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!

Vinita

Saturday 12th of January 2019

Delicious, healthy and easy! What more could I ask for? Just made it and loving it-hoping the kids love it at dinnertime too! Thanks!

Tami

Saturday 12th of January 2019

I too, am so happy to find your recipe for BRC without the soup! We've had this dish at family gatherings for over 35 years...all with soup! Ha! So, needless to say, I'm anxious to give this a go. I also love that the sauce can be made in the micro. I always make custard from scratch, mind you, in the microwave. I mix the milk, sugar, corn starch and egg yolks in a bowl and nuke it at one minute intervals, stirring with a whisk after every minute. In about 10-15 minutes I have a lovely smooth custard for puddings or pies. (amazing what you can get done in between those minute intervals!) Anyway, thanks for the recipe! --Tami