Fresh Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole Without Soup

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

broccoli cheese and rice casserole on a plate with sausage

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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.

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.

Ingredients and common substitutions:

  • Broccoli: Fresh broccoli tastes and looks the best, but frozen broccoli is the next best choice.
  • Lemon: Broccoli and lemon juice always go together nicely. Lemon provides a yin and yang for the mild sauce and rice. In keeping with the fresh theme, fresh (or frozen) lemon juice is superior to bottled lemon juice.
  • Butter: Butter (salted or unsalted) becomes part of the sauce. Margarine or vegan butter will fill the bill.
  • Onions: Yellow or white onions are ideal. Frozen chopped onions are convenient. Dried, minced onions are my last resort.
  • Garlic: Note that one clove is specific. Garlic lovers might want more. Garlic powder will not have the same punch or freshness. Pick your priority.
  • Celery: One can never eat too many vegetables, right? Celery and broccoli are often buddies, and they work together here, too. If you don’t have celery, use celery salt and cut back on the regular salt.
  • Mushrooms: I like fresh mushrooms the best (quartered, not sliced). But if all you have are canned mushrooms, drain and rinse them well. Cut or chop them first if the pieces in the can are large.
  • Flour: Use bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour.
  • Evaporated Milk: Substitutes include heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk.
  • Cheese: I like mild shredded Cheddar cheese the best, but medium or sharp Cheddar serves the purpose, too. Leave the cheese out if you are feeding non-cheese-lovers.
  • Rice: Cook the rice first, or use leftover rice. I use whatever variety I have on hand, usually long-grain rice, Jasmine rice, or Basmati rice. Use white rice or brown rice. Even cooked Minute rice will suffice.

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 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–the broccoli is chopped finely in this picture. 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 an additional ¼ cup of milk.

Likewise, if the prepared casserole sits very long before baking, you might consider adding a ¼ 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.

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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.

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, Condensed Cream of Chicken 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. Nevertheless, 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 this Broccoli Rice Casserole recipe:

fresh broccoli..some of it chopped
Chop broccoli into small pieces. Cut the stems into tiny pieces. Place in a large bowl that is microwave-safe.
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.
sauteing veggies in a skillet
Sauté onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms in butter in a large skillet over medium heat 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 ½ 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

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you cook broccoli before putting it in a casserole?

Yes. Cooking forces water out of broccoli. If you don’t cook it first, this dish may be watery.

Why is my broccoli rice casserole dry?

If your casserole sits very long, the rice will act like a sponge and absorb moisture. If you need to make this recipe in advance, add extra liquid to the sauce, knowing that the rice will soak it up.

Can I make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it to save time around the holidays?

Yes! That’s a great idea. I make it ahead of time and fill a small zippered bag to store in the freezer. Don’t be alarmed if it looks curdled when you first thaw it. A little milk or cream will fix it.

Parting Thoughts: If you were afraid you would never get to enjoy this casserole again due to dietary restrictions, this is your lucky day. Nearly every ingredient is negotiable. Enjoy!

If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately to 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.
5 from 54 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 a large skillet. Add onions, garlic, celery, and mushrooms and saute until softened. Stir in flour and cook for 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

Nutrition Facts
Fresh Broccoli Cheese and Rice Casserole Without Soup Recipe
Serving Size
 
1
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
133
Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
8
g
12
%
Saturated Fat
 
5
g
31
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
24
mg
8
%
Sodium
 
255
mg
11
%
Carbohydrates
 
10
g
3
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Author: Paula Rhodes
Course: Vegetables and Side Dishes
Cuisine: American
Keywords: broccolihomemade cream of mushroom soup side disheshow to make broccoli-rice casserolericevegetable casserolevegetable side dishvegetarian
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156 Comments

  1. A great dish and a great post! I love broccoli, although I’ve never had the cheesey-broccoli Campbell’s soup. 🙂 This looks like a terrific side dish (and not just for Easter). I need to try some rice milk – that will be a first! My microwave is a beast – it has 2 oven racks and a myriad of cooking buttons. I heat water for espresso, melt chocolate (on low – otherwise I burn it), warm potatoes, defrost frozen egg whites, defrost chicken (and a pair of icy gloves once). I’ve never actually cooked a dinner (per se) in it though…. I need t look at the manual. Oh – it makes GREAT pastry cream!

  2. This looks fabulous! I’m definitely gonna give this a try soon.

  3. Very nice ! Always nice to leave out the ‘processed’ – makes things taste so much better 🙂

  4. Michelle @ Italian Mama Chef says:

    This looks and sounds great. I detest those cream soup recipes and have been searching for a suitable alternative. Thanks for posting this.

  5. I really like the idea of not used canned soup- it’s always sad (and gross) to see soup come out in a glop. Also I definately use the microwave to cook because I live in a dorm at school and the only time I have access to a stove/oven is at home!

  6. This looks good, I’ll have to try it – it looks like something Allen would really enjoy. For some reason, I prefer cooking on the stove rather than in the microwave, although I should probably try more microwave cooking. I do cook sweet potatoes in the microwave, and last week cooked potatoes in the microwave for potato salad. I also make tapioca pudding in the microwave. Other than that, I generally use it for reheating food.

  7. Broccoli is my favorite vegetable – so I’m looking forward to trying this, without the gloppy and heavy-sodium canned soup!
    I’ve never practiced using my microwave to actually cook most foods, so I don’t have a lot of confidence. I do love it for steaming veggies, melting chocolate & butter, heating leftovers, etc. I enjoy seeing instructions for using the microwave and the bread machine. Both are very under-used in my kitchen.

  8. Could you make this ahead? I too am having Easter dinner after church – will be cooking the potatoes when i get home – thought I could have this made up and cook at the same time. How well do you think it would hold up in the fridge over night? Or is it quick enough to make when we get home using the microwave instructions?

  9. You can make this ahead then refrigerate or freeze. Wrap well. Just be careful not to overcook the broccoli in the beginning.

  10. I like the idea of using the microwave for as much as possible, but it’s definitely not a method of cooking that I would first think to use. I’m learning from you though, and trying to incorporate more microwave use into my meal prep.

    Having not utilized the microwave for anything other than reheating leftovers until I began frequenting your site, I don’t have much cookware well suited for microwave use (Love your glass batter bowl with lid, I need to find one of those).

    For example, I’ve started making your greek yogurt at least twice a week (God bless you for sharing that recipe, by the way!!!!!!!!!!) and I always use one of my big ceramic mixing bowls (covered with cling during the incubation stage in the oven). But, the bowl is really too tall in the microwave to be able to reach a spoon into it and stir. I think I’d enjoy using the microwave a bit more if I found a few pieces of suitable cookware.

  11. sounds yummy! i will have to give this a try sometime. for now, i’ll enjoy yours on easter! 🙂

  12. This looks marvelous! LOVE that there’s no condensed soup 🙂

  13. Looks fabulous! We love broccoli here and I can’t wait to try this for dinner one night.

  14. This looks great. I have been looking for a recipe that does not have canned soup!! I will br trying the recipe today. Thanks for the post

  15. Thank you so much! I have terrible food allergies- (soy, corn, yeast, etc.) all of which are in those “cream of…” soups in a can. But this is one of my favorite dishes, and I’ve been missing it. Now I can make an even better version! Yea!

  16. good post….nice recipe….looks yummy…..i’ll try it soon.

  17. Ann Baker says:

    Can anyone please tell me approximately how many adults this would serve as a side dish? We are having a dinner party for 8 this weekend and were planning on serving this as part of our “70’s” theme night. Thrilled to find a version of this recipe that doesn’t use canned soup and processed cheese!

    1. I would plan on it serving 6-8. Kinda depends how much other food you have. If it’s a party with lots of food. It would easily feed 10.
      Hope you enjoy.

  18. Thank you! I usually cook broccoli casserole at Thanksgiving, and I’ve been on the hunt down for a canned soup-less, velveeta-free recipe. I can’t wait to try this!

    I also love that you included microwave directions. I’ll be living in a dorm for the next two years, and have been looking for some things I can cook without a stove or oven. It seems like everyone thinks college kids are meant to live off of Ramen and Easy Mac.

  19. Shirley Binner says:

    A few years ago I started cooking about 95% organically, I had been using fresh & homemade for a long time–avoiding preservatives and artificial ingredients. I used to cook everything in the microwave–from baking hams to cooking rice. Then my friend pointed out the controversy over microwave cooking destroying nutrients. After some internet research, I decided to stop microwaving completely, even to boil water or warm up food. That was almost two years ago, and I don’t “miss” my microwave at all. I keep my two year old granddaughter, and I don’t want to risk losing nutrients for her (or my husband and I). Thanks for the recipe, and I love that you have a Bible verse posted. Christmas blessings to you!

    1. I haven’t used my microwave in a year after finding the same information. I agree, the microwave is convenient, but not a good idea if you are trying to be healthy.

      1. I tossed my microwave right after college. Four years later and I don’t miss or regret it. In fact, it’s opened me up to so many different cooking styles and methods; it also forces me to plan my meals in advance as I can’t do a quick defrost. Love it. But, I definitely get weird looks when people find out. I think some people think it’s a judgment and are waiting for me to “attack” when I mention it. No judgment, here — just personal preference. 🙂

        1. Hi Minnie,
          Love your attitude. Not everybody is as tolerant. Enjoy cooking without a microwave and I’ll enjoy using mine and we’re both happy. Thanks for writing.

  20. Mike Hirsch says:

    I am going to cook this at DOG (Dutch Oven Gathering) for our Christmas Party on Sunday. I will do it all in our cast iron dutch ovens using charcoal to fuel them. I hunted until I found a recipe without canned soups. And I am very much with Shirley Binner (Posting from 12/14) in that I do not use microwaves very much for the same reasons she has completely eliminated hers. I occasionally warm some butter in mine or heat up a quick leftover but our microwave runs less than 5 minutes a week I would think.

  21. Thanks for this. I loved this as a kid, but when I grew up and read the ingredient list I’ve never made it. Now, I’m very excited to try! Thanks!!

  22. Thanks so much for a homemade version of this casserole. I try to serve gluten free; fresh dinners and all the other recipies use canned soup which contain wheat. Trying it tonight, Thanks!

  23. Ok! the family loved this. Made a few small changes due to what was in the pantry…subsituted 1/2 cup chicken broth for 1/2 cup milk. No mushrooms (hubby’s request) and added gf bread crumbs to the top instead of extra cheese. The kids, 6 and 3 both had seconds. Thanks so much. This one’s a keeper.

    1. The changes you made sound wonderful. Will try them myself–except for the mushrooms which I love. But I’m sure there are many people like your husband regarding the little fungi.

  24. I love that you added a microwave recipe! I too use my microwave instead of my oven as much as possible, and unless I tell people they never know the difference; Even the ones who swear they hate the taste and texture of microwaved foods. It’s all about knowing what works and what doesnt.

    I haven’t tried this recipe, but I make something similar and was looking for a sauce recipe- and this one looks great! Thanks again!

  25. Yum Yum! Thank you for posting a recipe using natural ingredients (sans Cheese Wiz & condensed soups)!!! My husband and I really enjoyed it & our 17 month old even ate a few bites!

  26. Great idea!!! So yummy, another website for me to be obsessed with 🙂

  27. I am so excited to try this recipe. I do not like cooking with canned soup so this is great. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Hey I love this! My husband and I are on salt resticted diet, so this is perfect! I can just adjust the amount of salt for us! I love using the microwave for whatever I can!! I am just starting to cook again after cooking very little when my 4 kids left home! I can actually cook something and no kids to complain!!

  29. This sounds great. Would you happen to know the nutritional information for this recipe?

    1. Eryka, I have added nutritionals for this dish. Serving size is everything, of course.

  30. This looks great. Will make it this week for dinner but will sub in Quinoa for rice to add more protein to the meal.

  31. The only thing that’s a faster turn-off for me than canned soup in a recipe is Cheez-Whiz. I’m so tickled to find a broccoli-rice recipe that doesn’t use either. Thanks for sharing – I’m making this tonight!

  32. looks delish! what is the serving size for the nutritional info?

  33. I’m confused. It says to add flour and 1 1/2 cups of cheese to the onion and garlic, etc. Then it says to add it again later in the recipe in the microwave. So the ingredients don’t match up with the amount in the recipe!!! Was something repeated twice by accident?

  34. Ha! Nevermind, I just realized that it was the microwave/stove versions, sorry!

  35. 5 stars
    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!

  36. I’m so thrilled to find a recipe that’s NOT using processed foods!!! I’m making this as part of our Christmas dinner!!! Can’t wait!!

  37. Although convenient, the problem with microwaves is that they destroy most of the nutrients…especially in vegetables. Steaming is still best.

    1. Hi Beverly, Thanks for dropping by. As you can imagine, I disagree with your stance on microwaves from several angles but we each have to study and read to discern who to believe on the issue since few of us have the resources or knowledge to actually determine the risks and benefits ourselves. Since my degree is in Home Economics, i have completed several nutrition courses which does not make me a scientist but does make me leary about a lot of things I see, hear, and read, epecially on the internet. I could get on my soapbox but I have a feeling we may have to agree to disagree on this one. Cordially, paula

  38. Paula, It’s so nice to find a recipe without canned soup in it…you are so right about eliminating the heavy sodium by making the soup base yourself. I DO NOT have one can of soup in my pantry….it’s easier to make than driving to the mega mart to buy it…BUT, I wanted to tell you that I have read that microwaves not only destroy vitamins (but so does cooking conventionally) but it also destroys ENZYMES….tell me what you know about that so I don’t have to feel guilty for using my microwave.
    Love your website
    sincerely yer nu fren Janet….(I didn’t misspell that, I’m from the Ozarks)

    1. Anything cooked hotter than 115 degrees kills enzymes. to avoid killing vitamins and killing enzymes you need to go on a raw food diet

  39. Hi Janet, Perhaps you read my previous comment on this post to another reader so I won’t go over it again. I would just say in response to your question about enzymes….frankly, I’ve got better things to worry about. For me, I eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies (like salad in a jar) and avoid eating out too much. If I lose a few enzymes, I don’t really care. The microwave actually allows me to eat much healthier in general. Because it is so fast, I can make my own food from scratch that most people buy already processed in the store or just go out to eat because the stove-top method is too difficult or time-consuming. I could go on about the inconsistencies of most people in their diet choices but I’ll stop since I have several myself. We’re complicated, aren’t we? Thanks for writing.

  40. Hi Paula,
    Thanks for the good advice..I also eat plenty of fruit and salads…..and I absolutely love your website, thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with all who venture outside the box (or soup can). Looking forward to all of your future postings.

    yer fren

  41. 5 stars
    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!

  42. 5 stars
    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

  43. P.S. Pinning this recipe on Pinterest!

  44. 5 stars
    I made it gluten free by using corn starch instead of the flour. You will need to boil the milk then add the cornstarch mixed with a little liquid. I also used almond milk instead of the milk and american/swiss/provolone for the cheese.

    1. Karen, Thanks for your suggestions to make this gluten-free. I always have almond milk in the house, too, so will try that. Thanks for writing. pr

  45. This is amazing!!!!!

  46. 5 stars
    Paula,
    I just subscribed to your website. Ha, I don’t even know the right terminology- but let’s just say I am excited about it!!! I made this casserole last week and made it again today. I buy broccoli florets from Schwann’s (because they have only florets and are top quality). They come in steamable baggies. Well…usually I have leftover- and usually trash them after a day or two. WELL, then I found your recipe. I modified it only slightly (leaving out the mushrooms because I didn’t have any on hand). It is wonderful! THANK YOU!

    1. Scarlett,
      Glad to hear from you. My mom used to buy from Schwann’s when I was a kid. They had the best ice cream. Didn’t know they had good broccoli. Anyway, glad you like the casserole. It’s adaptable as you have already figured out. paula

  47. That looks really good! And I love your photo montages. : )

  48. Thanks for this recipe. “No can soup” Looking forward to making it

  49. 3 stars
    I just made this last night, using the stovetop directions. I was able to use twice the amount of rice, and it turned out tasty. I used regular evap milk for the first time, and won’t do that again, as I realized it is quite high in fat. Has anyone tried this using regular milk? Next time I think I will use brown rice, and cover the dish while baking for at least half the time, as the cheese got quite brown before the rice was completely hot.

  50. 5 stars
    Hi!
    I was looking for a good side dish to go with ham tonight and I found your blog.
    Just assembled this to bake later and I have to tell you, it is good right out of the pan before you even bake it!

  51. This is a fabulous dish. Tried making it a couple of months back and will be trying it out again today. Instead of using rice, I used penne pasta. I also substituted the celery with blanched spinach leaves. And I added some mozarella (for the stringy texture) just before baking. Works out just as good!

  52. 5 stars
    Not only was this delicious!This was a fast and easy dish to make! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Christine says:

    5 stars
    I made it with regular milk. Very tasty!

    1. Christine,
      Glad to hear it and I’m sure others will be glad too. Thanks for reporting back. pr

  54. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I refuse to use canned soups in recipes and have taught my daughters to find options in order to avoid using condensed soups.

    One old recipe for this casserole uses Velveeta!

    I am going to try this recipe tonight.

    Thanks again,

  55. Your recipe says 1 1/4 cup cooked rice. Does that mean to cook a cup and a quarter of dry rice, resulting in roughly 5-6 1/2 cup cooked servings, or really does this only use a cup and a quarter of cooked rice? I’m posting this WAY past the original date, so maybe I’ll experiment and post my results 🙂

    1. Hi Marie, The rice should already be cooked when you measure 1-1/4 cup. I nearly always use leftover rice so didn’t think about how much it would be uncooked.

  56. 5 stars
    This is great. I added some cubed, cooked chicken breast and it made a very good one dish meal. Definitely will make again.

  57. 5 stars
    I am very pregnant, and this recipe was just what I needed–combination of carbs, cheese, and of course broccoli! It is refreshing to find a “comfort food” recipe nowadays that does not contain processed foods in its list of ingredients. I omitted the mushrooms since I am allergic and added a little extra celery. I am curious to try the microwave method, but I am so accustomed to the stove and our microwave is a crusty, temperamental hand-me-down. Easy and delicious! Many thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Brooke,
      Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your new baby!

      I’m so glad you liked the broccoli and I like how you modified it to suit your own needs and tastes. Have you seen this recipe?

  58. Mrs. Rags says:

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it was really good! I followed recipe exactly adding a sprinkle of panko on top of the cheese before cooking. I used brown basmati rice. I will be making this again and maybe using cauliflower combined with broccoli. Thank you so much!

    1. Brown basmati? I must look for that. The cauliflower idea sounds good too. Thanks for coming back to comment.

  59. Jynger Morris says:

    I just made this as a make-ahead for tomorrow night as I know I have to work late. I, of course, sampled a smidgen and it is delectable! So yummy. I didn’t have celery on hand, so I used a bit of celery salt and add 1/4 c minced (to hide it from the kids and my picky hubby) carrots for extra nutrients. It’s awesome and I will definitely be making this again. A super healthy meal paired w/ grilled chicken or some broiled fish. Thanks so much for a canned soup-less recipe!

    1. Jynger,
      You’re welcome. Love your personal touches.

  60. The only thing about using the microwave for this recipe, especially since you are using milk, is that the radiation destroys your B-vitamins (particularly riboflavin). Yes, it literally destroys them as in no more; it is more than being merely diminished as with all cooking methods. I will give it a shot using the good ol’ stove method.

    1. Hi Jenn,
      Thanks for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the broccoli and rice.

  61. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday and it was fabulous. I did use regular milk and skim milk at that. I used a stove top-one bowl method. I sauteed all the veggies (except broccoli) with 2 TBSP butter in a pan; I like my broccoli nice and crisp so I didn’t precook it and I used 3 large heads. Then I mixed everything together in a large bowl (1 cup skim milk, sauteed veggies, 2 cup sharp white cheddar and monterey jack cheese mix, broccoli and 2 cups of precooked rice). I did cook the rice in chicken broth, sage, and basil to give it more flavor. I find that your dry white rice at least doubles when cooked; 1 cup will make at least 2 cups. The rice used was Lundberg’s Organic long grain white rice; I always get comments on this rice and people swearing it’s basmati or something fancy but it’s just a nice quality white rice! I did mix in 2 TBSP of cornstarch instead of flour. I spread it in a 9X13 and baked at 350 for 30 minutes. DELISH! Thanks for the motivation, Paula!

  62. 5 stars
    I’m “retooling” our diet to gluten-free, and this is just what the doctor ordered. Literally! Thank you so much! It’s great to know that I can add another “favorite” to our list, and now much healthier and tastier!

  63. If making this ahead of time, should you go ahead and cook it and then reheat it, or just prepare it and cook it later in the day?

    1. Fran,
      I would prepare it and cook it later in the day. BUT, be sure to add extra liquid to the sauce because the rice will soak it up when it sets very long whether you have cooked it or not.

  64. Tamra Mendelson says:

    5 stars
    Yum!!! This was delicious! I followed the directions exactly, dish was covered while baking. Yum. Yum. Yum. It’s going to be my new potluck dish.

    1. Oops! I actually forgot–I left out the mushrooms. So I didn’t follow it exactly. But anyway, yum. I can still taste it in my head.

      1. Thanks Tamra,
        Love hearing that you tried it and loved it.

  65. Virginia Baldwin says:

    Hello there! I am so glad that I came across this recipe as well as your fabulous blog. I have Celiac disease, thus I’ve got to steer clear of gluten- which almost always is in canned soup. So this recipe shouts YES to me! Both on the fresh healthy note, the GF-note, and of course the “anything-cheesy” note. So, Thank you!! (and good luck to your daughter-in-law if she takes on the challenge) 🙂
    -Virginia

    1. Thanks Virginia,
      Hope it turns out well for you and that you like it.

  66. Virginia Baldwin says:

    Hello there! I am so glad that I came across this recipe as well as your fabulous blog. I have Celiac disease, thus I’ve got to steer clear of gluten- which almost always is in canned soup. I just used all-purpose gluten free flour in place of regular flour. So this recipe shouts YES to me! Both on the fresh healthy note, the GF-note, and of course the “anything-cheesy” note. So, Thank you!! (and good luck to your daughter-in-law if she takes on the challenge) 🙂
    -Virginia

  67. Hi,
    This looks so good!
    I just have a little question… When you say 1 1/4 cup of rice, the mesure is taken uncooked I assume?
    Thanks for clarifying 🙂

    1. I just checked and the recipe calls for 1-1/4 cup cooked rice which means the rice is measured after it is cooked. Hope that helps.

  68. I noticed this is an older post but I just had to say thanks for a great recipe! I am trying to avoid canned soups and cheese whiz isn’t exactly my style either, so this is perfect! I plan to make it this next week. I looked through the comments but maybe I missed it…what serving size is the nutritional information based on?
    Thanks! 🙂

  69. Hey looks to be a good recipe i will use it tonight. I am a chef of 11 years now and to give my $0.02 about microwaves i do not like them, yes they are convenient and real handy for some jobs but I believe that they cook the nutrients out of the food. Should be fun to cook i may change it some to fit my ingredients but the fun part is i get to write a descriptive paper for school while I’m doing it =)

    1. Hi Shawn,
      A descriptive paper? Not sure what that is but any excuse to cook is a good thing.

  70. Sally Cevasco says:

    5 stars
    Hi Paula,

    I love your site and just followed you on Pinterest too!

    I’ll be making your broccoli casserole today for a party later. So glad you came up when I did a search because I won’t use recipes with canned soup in them.

    I have a cooking site too and am known as “Dial-a-cook” amongst my family and friends. So great to find you and looking forward to sharing more of your recipes too. I’ll bookmark and follow your blog now.

    All the best,
    Sally

    1. Thanks Sally. Hope your party was a success as well as the broccoli casserole.

  71. 5 stars
    This was yummy! I am trying to get away from using processed/canned foods, so I appreciate anything I can make myself! I used half n half instead of evaporated milk, and it turned out fine. I left out the mushrooms, cuz I have weird kids…lol Thanks! Five stars from me!

  72. I tried this recipe and everyone loved it! It was super easy and delicious. Loved not having to use canned soup! Thank you so much for sharing. Is there a way you can make it so I can repin this recipe on Pinterest?

    1. Hi Karina,
      I just added a Pinterest button to that page–just for you. 🙂

  73. I will be making this recipe for my vegetarian daughter and the rest of the extended family for Thanksgiving Day meal. My daughter is pregnant, I’m diabetic, brother and nephew have heart conditions, so I’m very happy to find a good vegetable recipe that stays away from high sodium canned vegetables and soups.
    Thank you! May your holidays be happy and healthy.

  74. Oh I am in love with this recipe! BRC is one of two casseroles I look forward to every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I stopped cooking with canned soups this year, so I am so happy to find this alternative. My mom was going to make it her usual way, with canned soup and cheese whiz, but I asked if I could bring it this year. I added a cup of cooked quinoa per husband’s request, and it blends right in while giving a little nutritional punch. I only had skim milk on hand, and it’s wonderful as is. I can’t wait to share it tomorrow! Thanks!

  75. Please get educated on microwave’s: bad for food, you and the planet! Would love to see them all gone one day!

  76. Please stop encouraging people to use the microwave. Do some homework on the subject and see how it is not good for food, people or the environment! Believe I have research the subject well. And oh, do not go to mean stream media to get the answer.. Have not had microwave in my house for over 10 years and never miss it. But I sure cook a lot! Your recipes are great, pictures wonderful and a very good site. Thank you for that!

    1. Kristina,
      Thank-you for your input. pr

  77. Exactly the recipe I’ve been looking for. I am sooo excited. Like others have mentioned it will be so easy to make gluten free too. Yay!

  78. Love this recipe! I used extra broccoli and celery instead of mushrooms. Didn’t have evap milk, so I used half and half and milk. Thanks for the recipe!!

  79. Will be adding leftover cooked chicken to this recipe for hopefully a terrific staple one dish meal to make for my family. Any recommendations or additions you feel would be helpful? Thanks! Love this blog!

  80. This sounds perfect! My 2-year old aughter LOVES brocolli, we all LOVE cheese, and I want the best for my family. We ONLY get Christmas day off this year, so, although I don’t have a lot of time to squeeze everything into just one day, I certainly don’t want it to be an excuse to use a bunch of processed foods! I think I will try it with brown rice…more to come!

  81. I just made this and it’s in the oven. If the lick of my spoon was any indication, the recipe is a keeper! To be honest though, I forgot the lemon juice, and I used fat free evaporated milk.

    1. Very nice job Lizzy. Love your picture AND recipe adaptation.Thanks for the link.

  82. Kris Kalinic says:

    This was excellent! I made it for dinner tonight and I will be saving this recipe!

  83. This dish came out beautiful, thank you very much.
    I completely skipped the baking and steamed the broccoli longer and kept the sauce on longer too. Personally, a slight bite on vegetables is best.

    I try and keep microwave usage to a minimum, but your reasoning that overall it helps you eat healthier struck a chord.
    My problem with microwave is that meat specially white meat comes out a little dry and fibrous. I avoid even re- heating my white meat in a microwave. There may be a trick to it which I do not know about. I remember re-heating the most heavenly cabbage- tomato soup in a microwave and it tasted like hay.

    1. So glad you like the broccoli-rice casserole.

      As you have figured out, cooking meat in a microwave can be tricky. I don’t much. When it comes to meat, I’m mostly just thawing or reheating. Love it most for sauces.

  84. I made this tonight &it was fabulous…I didn’t have evaporated milk so I used regular milk instead…thank you for your recipe…it will be added to my permanent recipe book

  85. I love the convenience of microwaves but despise the damaging properties that occur when using it.

    “Microwave ovens heat food through a process of creating molecular friction, but this same molecular friction quickly destroys the delicate molecules of vitamins and phytonutrients (plant medicines) naturally found in foods. One study showed that microwaving vegetables destroys up to 97% of the nutritional content (vitamins and other plant-based nutrients that prevent disease, boost immune function and enhance health).

    In other words, eating raw broccoli provides you with natural anti-cancer medicine that’s extremely effective at halting the growth of cancer tumors. But microwaving that broccoli destroys the anti-cancer nutrients, rendering the food “dead” and nutritionally depleted. There’s even some evidence to suggest that microwaving destroys the natural harmony in water molecules, creating an energetic pattern of chaos in the water found in all foods.”

    This is the first article that popped up when I wanted to give you a more “scientific” opinion rather than my own concern from research in the past! Thank you so much for your recipe!! Excited to try this out tonight!!!

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/021966_microwaves_microwave_ovens.html#ixzz2Rg6mKcEJ

  86. This was a delicious! I changed it just a little. I increased the rice and broccoli and added chicken. Instead of cooking the aromatics in butter, I covered them with veggie broth and cooked until tender. I used 1% milk instead of evaporated because I didn’t have any on hand and used a sharp cheddar and fresh grated parmesan mix for the cheese. My husband, who doesn’t particularly care for chicken, rice, or broccoli went back for seconds… I was stunned! 🙂

    As far as using a microwave oven… I rarely use mine but don’t judge you for using yours. Anything that is going to help someone eat healthier is a good thing. The only caution I would say is please don’t microwave your food in a plastic container, or with plastic wrap covering it. There are SO many awful chemicals that will leach from the heated plastic into your food! When we do use ours, it’s always with glass.

    Thank you very much for this great recipe. I will definitely be making it again!

  87. Thanks for this recipe. I was looking for one that does not use cream of whatever soup and velveta, yuk! I will be using the microwave to make the sauce. I use my microwave to make all my sauces. It’s so easy and they don’t burn. I also make tapioca pudding in the microwave and last Christmas I used it to make eggnog. The eggnog turned out perfect.

  88. Thank you for his recipe I have been searching for a recipe that does not use canned soup.there is too musch sodium in xanned soups .

  89. Tina Bradow says:

    This casserole looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try your recipe. I too find processed canned soups and fake cheese repulsive. You can’t beat the taste of food made from scratch with unprocessed fresh ingredients. I’ll make this recipe stove top style. While I do use my microwave on occasion, I’m not comfortable with the amount of radiation it exposes us to so I use it as little as possible. Thanks so much for giving instructions for both methods of cooking. You are much appreciated. God Bless. Tina

  90. I just used up my mushrooms yesterday, but can’t wait to try this as soon as I venture out to the grocery store again 🙂 I am so happy to have stumbled across your website. I have a picky toddler and it can be hard to get veggies into his little body, so I’ve been trying to find casserole recipes but everything online is full of canned soup and processed cheese! Blech. As for microwaves – I love mine more than ever now that I’m a mom. I find it especially great for cooking smaller winter squash (in 5 minutes!)

  91. I just found this recipe, looks like a really great base recipe to go a little crazy on!

    I gave up my microwave over 10 years ago when my small kitchen forced me to choose between it and my food processor. I haven’t missed it, though I’m sure my kids and husband would eat more leftovers if we had one.

    What I am most impressed with is your tolerance for others point of view, and the grace in which you respond to some pretty hostile comments. I applaud your decorum.

  92. Marilyn Kay says:

    Enjoyed a healthier back to basics recipe. Didn’t have white rice so used a brown and wild rice blend. Tasted really good, kinda nutty flavor, and everyone enjoyed it.

    1. Love your variation with the brown and wild rice. Thanks for writing.

  93. Sherri Barton says:

    I made this tonight for Easter dinner tonight and it was a fabulous! I searched and searched for a healthier version of broccoli & rice casserole and yours was the only one I could find. Thank you sharing, I will definitely be keeping this and making it again.

    1. Hi Sherri,
      Glad it worked out for you. Variations abound. Have fun with it.

  94. Thank you for the recipe. My wife prefers to cook such kind of dishes in the oven.

    But we avoid to use the microwave which we consider not so healthy method for cooking. However, it’s my and my family’s opinion and preference.

  95. Can you use fresh milk in place of the evaporated? I’m trying to not use any canned or preserved ingredients.

  96. Pat Brown says:

    Thank you for a recipe without soup. My hubby has kidney issues so the salt in soups are unacceptable.
    You asked about microwave cooking. In the 70’s I worked for Whirlpool designing recipes for the microwave oven. I have made almost everything in a microwave including a leg of lamb. Microwave ovens of the past were larger.
    One year I volunteered to make fudge for a nonprofit to sell..I made it all in the mw. Boy, many when very upset when they heard I cheated. I made over 20 pounds in just a couple hours.

    1. Hi Pat,
      Fun to hear about your microwave experience. I taught microwave cooking schools in the early 80’s and have also tried many things…but never a leg of lamb. Anyway, I think it is crazy that people would ever think using the microwave is cheating. That’s like saying that riding in a car is cheating even if most people still use a horse to get places. Silly!

  97. This casserole was very good. I doubled it for a family Christmas party and they scraped the bottom of the dish.
    Interesting that you, also, did work with microwave ovens. I used to demonstrate onstage with a mirror. Crazy times..I went on to demonstrate Panasonic, Tappan and Whirlpool. I was asked to interview to be the nationwide consultant for Tappan, but I lived in Illinois, married and prego.
    I taught American cooking in Beijing for 5 years while my husband worked at Motorola in China.
    Looking forward to some more tasty recipes.

  98. Thank you for the recipe! I substituted white rice flour for the flour and I did the stove top method. It turned out fantastic! Thank you!

  99. Oh MY! I made the cheese sauce with one 12 ounce can of evaporated milk, 1 tbsp of gluten free flour, and 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar. Then I added one can of Rotel!!! So yummy! Thank you, thank you! My husband was so happy to have a treat of cheese dip. I was worrying what I could put out as snacks for my family who is traveling half way across country to visit us this Christmas. We are gluten free and follow a particular whole foods way of eating. As a treat, this is so wonderful! Fyi, I made it in the microwave. It came out perfect. I am a new mom to a preemie who was born 2 months early at only 3 pounds. I need easy! Thank you so much again!

  100. Has anyone tried adding cooked shredded chicken to this before it’s cooked?

  101. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved it!! On the plus side, I always have all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge!!

    1. Thanks Camryn! Glad to hear from you.

  102. 5 stars
    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!

  103. 5 stars
    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!

  104. 5 stars
    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

  105. 5 stars
    I made it gluten free by using corn starch instead of the flour. You will need to boil the milk then add the cornstarch mixed with a little liquid. I also used almond milk instead of the milk and american/swiss/provolone for the cheese.

  106. 5 stars
    Paula,
    I just subscribed to your website. Ha, I don’t even know the right terminology- but let’s just say I am excited about it!!! I made this casserole last week and made it again today. I buy broccoli florets from Schwann’s (because they have only florets and are top quality). They come in steamable baggies. Well…usually I have leftover- and usually trash them after a day or two. WELL, then I found your recipe. I modified it only slightly (leaving out the mushrooms because I didn’t have any on hand). It is wonderful! THANK YOU!

  107. 3 stars
    I just made this last night, using the stovetop directions. I was able to use twice the amount of rice, and it turned out tasty. I used regular evap milk for the first time, and won’t do that again, as I realized it is quite high in fat. Has anyone tried this using regular milk? Next time I think I will use brown rice, and cover the dish while baking for at least half the time, as the cheese got quite brown before the rice was completely hot.

  108. 5 stars
    Hi!
    I was looking for a good side dish to go with ham tonight and I found your blog.
    Just assembled this to bake later and I have to tell you, it is good right out of the pan before you even bake it!

  109. 5 stars
    Not only was this delicious!This was a fast and easy dish to make! Thanks for sharing!

  110. Christine says:

    5 stars
    I made it with regular milk. Very tasty!

  111. 5 stars
    Thanks for this recipe. I refuse to use canned soups in recipes and have taught my daughters to find options in order to avoid using condensed soups.

    One old recipe for this casserole uses Velveeta!

    I am going to try this recipe tonight.

    Thanks again,

  112. 5 stars
    This is great. I added some cubed, cooked chicken breast and it made a very good one dish meal. Definitely will make again.

  113. 5 stars
    I am very pregnant, and this recipe was just what I needed–combination of carbs, cheese, and of course broccoli! It is refreshing to find a “comfort food” recipe nowadays that does not contain processed foods in its list of ingredients. I omitted the mushrooms since I am allergic and added a little extra celery. I am curious to try the microwave method, but I am so accustomed to the stove and our microwave is a crusty, temperamental hand-me-down. Easy and delicious! Many thanks 🙂

  114. Mrs. Rags says:

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it was really good! I followed recipe exactly adding a sprinkle of panko on top of the cheese before cooking. I used brown basmati rice. I will be making this again and maybe using cauliflower combined with broccoli. Thank you so much!

  115. 5 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday and it was fabulous. I did use regular milk and skim milk at that. I used a stove top-one bowl method. I sauteed all the veggies (except broccoli) with 2 TBSP butter in a pan; I like my broccoli nice and crisp so I didn’t precook it and I used 3 large heads. Then I mixed everything together in a large bowl (1 cup skim milk, sauteed veggies, 2 cup sharp white cheddar and monterey jack cheese mix, broccoli and 2 cups of precooked rice). I did cook the rice in chicken broth, sage, and basil to give it more flavor. I find that your dry white rice at least doubles when cooked; 1 cup will make at least 2 cups. The rice used was Lundberg’s Organic long grain white rice; I always get comments on this rice and people swearing it’s basmati or something fancy but it’s just a nice quality white rice! I did mix in 2 TBSP of cornstarch instead of flour. I spread it in a 9X13 and baked at 350 for 30 minutes. DELISH! Thanks for the motivation, Paula!

  116. 5 stars
    I’m “retooling” our diet to gluten-free, and this is just what the doctor ordered. Literally! Thank you so much! It’s great to know that I can add another “favorite” to our list, and now much healthier and tastier!

  117. Tamra Mendelson says:

    5 stars
    Yum!!! This was delicious! I followed the directions exactly, dish was covered while baking. Yum. Yum. Yum. It’s going to be my new potluck dish.

  118. Sally Cevasco says:

    5 stars
    Hi Paula,

    I love your site and just followed you on Pinterest too!

    I’ll be making your broccoli casserole today for a party later. So glad you came up when I did a search because I won’t use recipes with canned soup in them.

    I have a cooking site too and am known as “Dial-a-cook” amongst my family and friends. So great to find you and looking forward to sharing more of your recipes too. I’ll bookmark and follow your blog now.

    All the best,
    Sally

  119. 5 stars
    This was yummy! I am trying to get away from using processed/canned foods, so I appreciate anything I can make myself! I used half n half instead of evaporated milk, and it turned out fine. I left out the mushrooms, cuz I have weird kids…lol Thanks! Five stars from me!

  120. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved it!! On the plus side, I always have all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge!!

  121. Barry Shandley says:

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

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