Broccoli Cheese Casserole

December 10, 2010 · 57 comments

This is my favorite vegetable dish, and it’s even better as leftovers.  It’s so easy, too.  It kills me to think that for YEARS I made this with Velveeta “Cheese-like product”, EWWW!  I’m taking this to our annual bible study potluck Christmas dinner next week.

By the way, do you have any Christmas parties to plan this year?  Have you checked out the Real Food Party Planning Guide yet to lower your stress levels?

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

(I put a bunch of recipes together to make this version with only Real Food.)

Start by making a white sauce or “roux”:

IMG_0150Cook and stir for about a minute.  Add in:

  • About 1 c. of milk – keep stirring and adding more milk as it thickens, up to about 4 c. total
  • Stir in 1 1/2-2 c. cheddar cheese, or more if you prefer
  • Stir in 1 organic can of cream of mushroom soup or homemade cream of mushroom soup (This can actually be left out, the last few times I’ve made this I just used the cheese sauce and it was still great!)
  • Add sea salt, pepper, and garlic (crushed or powder) to your taste and a pinch of sugar – taste test as you go to see what it needs.  If you get this right, the whole recipe will be delicious.

IMG_0147Keep stirring as it thickens.

Meanwhile, get your broccoli cleaned and ready – I usually cut parts of the stems off leaving mostly just the flowers.  Often I will also add in cauliflower and/or carrots, which I will lightly steam before assembling to bake, just until they are crisp-tender.  (Frozen broccoli doesn’t need to be steamed first because it gets done enough for my taste just in the oven – if it’s fresh broccoli or if you like it really soft, you could steam it for a couple minutes; I like my carrots to still be just a smidge crunchy when they’re IMG_0148done, so I only steam them for a short time, too.)  You’ll need a total of about 4 c. vegetables.

Butter a 8 1/2 x 11 glass baking dish.  Place vegetables in the bottom and pour cheese sauce over the top.  Bake 20-30 minutes at 350*.  Meanwhile, melt 8 Tablespoons butter (or more if so desired!) and stir in about 1 1/2 c. IMG_0149bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (along with some herbs to your taste if desired – I’ve done it with and without and like both).  When the casserole has about 10-15 minutes left, sprinkle this on top and finish baking until crumbs are golden.

What’s your favorite hot vegetable dish?  We all need new ideas for those, right?


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    { 57 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 kmb December 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Kelly, that looks really yummy! You asked about favorite hot vegetable dishes. Ours family favorite would have to be Carrie VItt’s Carrot Souffle. She brought it to my house for Thanksgiving about 8 years ago…we try to eat according to a Weston Price diet, so I changed the sweetner for my family. When she got on board w/eating well, she perfected the recipe using maple syrup and sucanat. It’ll be in her cookbook, Deliciously Organic (named after her blog), coming out at the end of December. SHe has a great blog as well! Everyone who eats it at a potluck asks for it…pure YUM! Thanks for your great blog as well!


    2 Jackie @ Crest Cottage December 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Totally trying this. We make a macaroni version of this, basically mac and cheese with broccoli, with a slightly thicker cheese sauce, but this sounds awesome! Great for those days when you just aren’t feeling like having grains.



    3 Julie December 10, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Looks and sounds delicious. I want some now!


    4 Martha December 10, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thanks Kelly! This one looks like a good one to take to pot lucks at church. I never know what to take as a vegetable.


    5 Robin December 10, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Kelly-I make a broccoli casserole similar to this but without the can cream soup. Just saute a little chopped onion (about 1/2 cup) in 2 T butter, then stir in 3 T flour. Stir in 1 1/2 cups hot milk, stirring until thickened and bubbly, then stir in about 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar. I then add to approximately 2 heads of chopped broccoli (I quickly steam first) and top with buttered fresh bread crumbs. Yum! I first got this recipe from my SIL, with the standard topping of crushed Ritz crackers, but I’ve found that buttered fresh bread crumbs makes an awsome substitute for the Ritz (as I’ve used this trick in other casserole recipes as well).

    As far as my favorite hot veggie dish? I love many, but I really do love them hot and cheesy, so I really love gratin dishes in general (as in scalloped/gratin potatoes). You can really make a gratin out of just about any veggie-Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) has an awesome zucchini gratin recipe (found on which can play host to a number of veggies (I added carrots to the zucchini, but you can probably mix and match at will). And I recently made a brussel sprout gratin (kind of winged it based on a recipe I’ve used before by Tyler Florence for Scalloped Potato Gratin, again on which was out of this world amazing. I mean, people claim to hate those poor brussel sprouts, but I’m convinced ANYONE would eat them covered in cream and parmesan like that!!


    6 kr December 10, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I love those kinds of vegetable comfort foods, they are so good. I recently made carrots the way that Matt @ 180 kitchen demonstrated in a video. They were soooo good. Most of the carrots were homegrown though, and I could totally taste the difference between those and the store bought carrots. But, either way, delicious!


    7 Alyss December 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    This sounds delicious, but I also would omit the can of soup. Even “organic” canned soup is going to have preservatives and thickeners that I don’t really want… or need. Adding a little more milk and/or chicken stock would provided the added volume and sauteeing some mushrooms in the butter before adding the flour would give the mushroomy flavor if you want that. No matter how you make it, a creamy cheesy baked veggie dish is pretty amazing :)

    My all time favorite hot vegetable dish is my dad’s creamed pearl onions. He just simmers peeled pearl onions in heavy cream until it is thick and the onions are cooked. Holy wow! My other favorite hot veggie dish is a simple roasted root vegetables. I like a mix of potatos and sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, turnips and whatever else you think looks good. Chunk them into uniform pieces, toss with some oil and salt and pepper and roast at 400 or 450 until they are soft. Sometimes I like to serve this with a harissa sauce – a middle eastern chile/cumin/coriander sauce – but ranch is pretty good too.

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!


    8 Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama December 10, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I like fried potatoes with broccoli and cheese sauce. :) That recipe is on my blog. So good! I also like carrots cooked underneath chicken though (but NOT cooked otherwise; if it’s not with meat they’re no good to me). Hmm…. Cheesy potatoes (w/ or w/o broccoli) is good. I have perfected my cheese sauce and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it on or with anything. :)


    9 Stanley Fishman December 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Awesome looking recipe, Kelly. I am going to try it.


    10 Mary December 11, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    My favorite hot veggie recipe isn’t really a recipe. I cut up red potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic cloves, brussels sprouts and whatever other veggies, toss with olive oil and sea salt and pepper and roast. it is soooooo gooood.


    11 KitchenKop December 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    The simplest things are the best sometimes aren’t they? :)


    12 Melissa at Dyno-mom December 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    My kids love the NT carrots vichy and my own pan roasted broccoli. In a wide, low skillet heat over high enough grapeseed oil to cover the bottom in a thim coat. Drop in broccoli florets (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) and brown slightly. Mix a 1/2 C of water with a good pinch of salt and several grinds of pepper and pour over broccoli and cover immediately. After one minute, turn off heat and carefully remover cover, there will be a lot of steam. Remove broccoli to serving dish and eat happily!

    Please visit me at my little blog.


    13 Sara December 18, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for the awesome recipe, Kelly! I made this last weekend for a family Christmas party and it was a definite hit! It’ll be a regular dish at our house, for sure! I shared it on my blog with links back to yours.. . Thanks again!


    14 Sue E. December 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Well, I was at that Bible study Christmas party to which Kelly said she would bring this dish, and I tell you, it is fabulous!!! The crumb topping was so crispy, buttery, and such a great compliment to the veggie dish itself. I loved it, and so did everyone else! You can’t go wrong with this one!!!
    Sue E.


    15 Leah September 7, 2011 at 5:17 am

    8 T of butter…WTH?

    That is a full stick of butter in a veggie dish, i made it, and it was so buttery it is gross. No offense, but you are the only person on the internet making this with a entire half of stick of butter..Good Lord, if you are over-weight or have clogged arteries, I can see why. I love butter, but this is overkill and ruined the entire dish. Should have went w my gut when I read 8 T in this lil dish.


    16 Kelly the Kitchen Kop September 7, 2011 at 10:27 am

    There’s actually more butter than that in the dish, don’t forget the butter that goes into the crumb topping! :)


    17 dani September 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Hahaha, no such thing as too much butter! You’re definitely not the only person using this much butter. And I guess Leah hasn’t done too much reading about the health benefits of butter, huh?


    18 kellie hunt September 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Lord is there such a thing as too much butter? This person must ave never had home churned cow butter.That crap ya get outa the store IS NOT butter.


    19 Nissa September 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Leah, it’s possible that your cheese split. That can happen sometimes when making a cheese-based sauce. If that happens, you get a lot of oily fat floating on top. The way to fix that is to stir it back down like mad – not unlike stirring up natural peanut butter.

    The recipe calls for a 1-to-1 ratio for the roux which is exactly right. The flour absorbed all of the butter. That makes me suspect that cheese was the culprit. It has happened to me before and it is disappointing, but easy to fix if you catch it.

    OTOH, if it splits after you’ve baked it, you can’t do much but switch brands of cheese and try again. :/


    20 PattyLA September 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Mmmmmm….. butter… good.
    Lucky for me it’s a great source of healthy fats! I love healing my family with yummy foods!


    21 Cheryl September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Mmmmm Butter….Never felt healthier and more energy since I started eating a lot of real butter. Funny thing is dental check ups have gone a lot better too as well as blood work at the doctor is better (not that it was bad before) as well as losing weight without trying by eating real food with lots of meat and butter. Bring it on :)


    22 Nicole September 12, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Please! A stick of butter is nothing! Dinner this afternoon was a roast- with a mushroom beef broth reduction that contained 1 stick of butter, plus garlic broccoli what was cooked in ANOTHER stick of butter. You know what? My husband and kids and full of energy, and less sick—–now that I put the butter back in their food!


    23 Bethany September 12, 2011 at 7:39 am

    way too funny…. no such thing as too much butter. I fed my daughter a TBS of butter off the spoon yesterday and then she ate dinner of broccoli marinated in garlic butter, and chicken sauteed in butter and a veggie mix swimming in butter. :-)


    24 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

    to each his own! LOL Looks yummy!


    25 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

    LOL! I loved your response, too :-D


    26 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I like how you told her, it was actually more butter than she thought!!! Butter Rocks!


    27 Nichole September 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Sounds like your reader needs to get her a copy of Nourishing Traditions, and quite using disgusting processed food to start enjoying the benefits of butter from grass-fed cattle. lol! Butter, bad for you?? That’s SO old-school (false) news on the health front! haha!


    28 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Looks yummy! I think that some people forget what the real stuff tastes like. I know I did and am glad to be going back to the real stuff and not processed things (trying real hard at it).


    29 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

    She must not use much butter if she doesn’t know 8T is a whole stick either! I think it sounds amazing, this will be next on my list after i attempt scalloped potatoes!


    30 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Butter is awesome. I eat hunks of homemade grass fed cow butter, nothin better than butter, new slogan!!!


    31 sheree September 7, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Wow! Leah, it looks like you need to stop listening to the USDA & FDA and start seriously researching what is good for you and what is not. You can start with Nourishing Traditions and go to the Weston A. Price Foundation website and you will learn that it is not butter, lard, olive oil, coconut oil or any of the other healthy oils that are clogging your arteries and making you fat. Your margarine and canola oil are clogging your arteries and those plus things like skim milk and low fat dairy are what is making you fat. Time to wake up and smell the butter!


    32 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    wake up and smell the butter. LOL.


    33 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Eh, you are going to get a whole lot of nurse and health care type people who get all up in arms because they believe the complete opposite of what you teach and they are not going to be nice. Its par for the course I guess. I loved your response tho! It was perfect! Haha.


    34 Tina~ September 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Not to mention the comment about you being overweight…lol…
    she must not know you very well!


    35 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

    I’m a butter lover….mmmmmm. Looks like a yummy recipe!


    36 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    rotfl! It sorta makes you wonder how she even ended up on your site. She is obviously oblivious what you’re all about! Hahahah


    37 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

    if you don’t have anything nice to say…. :) Must have been her first trip to a real food site


    38 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I am a nurse, a butter lover as well as a grass fed beef & whole milk lover. lol


    39 Alison September 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

    can you make that into a t-shirt please? make it RAW milk….i’m a nurse, butter lover, beef and RAW MILK advocate-lover! :) great post!


    40 L.S. September 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Could someone pass the butter, please? ;-)


    41 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I loved that response! It probably confused her, bless her heart. God help the clueless people.


    42 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    “…the only one on the Internet…” LOL!!!


    43 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Happened to watch a little rachel ray show yesterday and she had one of the Dr’s on from thier show. She was saying how you should eat lots of olive oil (ok) and not eat animal fats….OMG all of the people that follow those shows like lemmings.


    44 Cecilia September 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

    We make a variation of this for holiday dinners – pimentos and french fried onions, swiss cheese and sour cream – BUT not quite so much butter ;o)


    45 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I used to be friends with a lady who freaked over all the butter in Pioneer Woman’s recipes. I would absolutely love love love to see her reaction to real foods LOL!!


    46 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I love butter!! Can you recommend an alternate topping that is grain-free, though? The only thing I can think of is a layer of grated parmesan on top.


    47 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:40 am

    How about an almond flour topping? Or are you nut-free, too? BTW, butter is yummy. Bring it!


    48 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I always want someone to say something like that to me about eating so much saturated fat and being over-weight. We eat plenty of butter, lard, eggs, etc. and I am 125 pounds at 5’4″ and my husband is 190 at over 6 feet!


    49 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    @Cheryl, about Rachel Ray, I KNOW, this drives me crazy, too. SO sad that she doesn’t get it.


    50 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    @Alice, parmesan would be great! I like Laurie’s idea too. :)


    51 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Oh I need to make this! Do you know how it freezes?


    52 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    You all make me smile, you’re so all over it! As many people who DON’T get it, it’s awesome to find all of you who DO!!!!


    53 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    @Jen, I have frozen this before and it comes out great!! If it’s been in there a while, the only thing is that it may be a bit watery if any ice has built up. Mine is not frozen long enough for that to happen, though, because I always want to eat it again soon after making it, it’s so good!


    54 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks! I was planning cinnamon French toast for dinner, but have the veggies (and time!) today, i might have to sneak a few tastes before it gets in the freezer.


    55 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Think it would be yummy if I doubled the butter? ;)


    56 %kelly the kitchen kop% via Facebook September 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm



    57 Jo Schoeneck September 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    In reply to butter #15: Well, Kelly, at least you have a huge claim to fame–“the ONLY person on the internet…” !! And she must spend hours perusing the internet to have a basis to say that! Love your blog and your recipes. Keep it up!


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