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Versatile Broccoli Casserole

One of my family’s favorite comfort foods is a steamy plate of cheesy, broccoli casserole. Of course, the version I grew up eating was made with Cheese Whiz (seriously). As an adult, I adapted it into a main course by adding cut up chunks of sausage. Then, as a Real Foodie, I adapted it further by creating my own easy cheese sauce. Lately, as a low-carber, I’ve been adapting it even further by cutting out the rice and using grated cauliflower.

I’m going to let you guys in on how to make it — with any meat or no meat, rice or cauliflower. After all, it’s the cheesy broccoli part that truly makes the dish. AND, I’m going to let you in on how to make it in a single skillet, no hot oven necessary.

Versatile Broccoli Casserole

The Players

The How-To

1. In a large (12-in), deep skillet, melt 2 tbsp. of butter and add the broccoli, onions, and optional cauliflower (if not using rice). Cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until veggies are tender. Add cooked meat (if using meat) and cooked rice (if using rice).

2. Scoot the cooked vegetable medley off to the edges of the skillet, creating a well in the middle, just over the burner. Reduce heat to medium low. Melt 2 more tbsp of butter in the well, then quickly stir in flour to make a hot roux. When the roux is mixed & bubbly, pour in cold milk and continue stirring, raising heat to medium.  As the mixture thickens, begin stirring the vegetables into the sauce.

3. Evenly distribute the cheese over the whole skillet, and continue stirring the contents. Once cheese is melted, remove the casserole from heat. Stir in sour cream, and add salt & pepper to taste.

4. Enjoy!

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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28 Responses to Versatile Broccoli Casserole
  1. Jim Purdy
    May 20, 2010 | 9:55 pm

    “Versatile Broccoli Casserole” — I like that name. “Versatile” and “casserole” are two words that belong together.

    My recipe for a casserole is just to combine any odd ingredients that I have in my refrigerator or pantry. I eat a lot of those dishes, and they vary a lot, depending on what I have handy.
    .-= Jim Purdy´s last blog post …If you register your site for free at =-.

  2. realfoodmedia
    May 20, 2010 | 10:26 pm

    New post: Versatile Broccoli Casserole

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. Liana
    May 20, 2010 | 10:31 pm

    You’ve made me hungry! Thanks for the great recipe…my 2 year old will love it.
    .-= Liana´s last blog post …If you register your site for free at =-.

    • KristenM
      May 21, 2010 | 12:21 pm

      It’s definitely a hit with the kids. :)

  4. PJsGirl
    May 20, 2010 | 11:29 pm

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Primal Toad
    May 21, 2010 | 5:57 am

    This looks so delicious! I used to love pouring heaps of cheese on my broccoli!

    While I do not eat much dairy anymore, I enjoy raw cheese here and there. And, I LOVE broccoli!! I will have to use cauliflower instead of rice though since I live primally :)
    .-= Primal Toad´s last blog post …Barefoot Sprint Intervals Outside In My Backyard =-.

    • KristenM
      May 21, 2010 | 12:21 pm

      It is *really good* with the cauliflower. You won’t be disappointed.

  6. Daphne Blumenthal
    May 21, 2010 | 12:13 pm

    Looks great. I’ve always wondered when a recipe calls for a little bit of flour – can the flour be replaced by something like arrowroot or kudzu?

    • KristenM
      May 21, 2010 | 12:20 pm

      Daphne —

      Great question. My first instinct is to say yes, because I use arrowroot powder for just such a purpose when I make queso (Creamy Mexican Cheese Dip). Anyhow, it seems like it may not work as a roux (because a roux really ought to be fat + flour), but that you could use the technique I outlined in that recipe to create the base for the cheese dip to also create a base for this cheesy sauce.

  7. Kelsey Byron
    May 21, 2010 | 1:55 pm

    Oh my–you had me at “one skillet!” This looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing it. On another note: have you been to the new CP farmers’ market just south of you? It is amazing. I am so impressed!

  8. Jenn
    May 21, 2010 | 5:06 pm

    Quick question. What sort of sour cream do you use? Do you make it from raw milk? If so can you point me in the right direction?
    .-= Jenn´s last blog post …Girl Hero Deb =-.

    • KristenM
      May 21, 2010 | 7:11 pm

      Jenn — Two kinds. The first is one I make from raw cream. It’s so easy you’ll kick yourself: basically you just let it set out on the counter (covered) until it turns into sour cream. (Takes about 2 days). You can facilitate the process and give the good bacteria a great head start by adding a tablespoon or two of real cultured buttermilk into the mix. The second is store-bought brands, and I basically buy whatever’s available that’s organic & contains live cultures. So, at my nearest grocery store, that amounts to Horizon brand’s full-fat version.

  9. Karen C.
    May 21, 2010 | 8:09 pm

    This looks so awesome! Do you mean italian sausage or breakfast sausage or other? Link or bulk?

    • KristenM
      May 21, 2010 | 8:11 pm

      Karen — I’ve used both, but I normally use link sausage cut up into bite-sized pieces.

  10. winetrends
    May 21, 2010 | 10:15 pm

    Versatile Broccoli Casserole | Food Renegade: #cheese

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. FoodRenegade
    May 24, 2010 | 8:44 am

    Also, this is a super-versatile broccoli casserole — a hit w/the kids! #realfood #primal #lowcarb

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  12. Virginia
    May 24, 2010 | 3:19 pm

    Yeehaw, this looks yummy! Funny, I just saw a recipe for cheesy spinach casserole (and Evernoted it), but this looks even better. Mouth watering. :)

  13. Melodie
    May 28, 2010 | 12:17 am

    Yummy! I appreciate the gesture that one could go meatless with this too. :)
    .-= Melodie´s last blog post …Vegetarian Foodie Fridays: Lotus Land Linguine =-.

  14. LeahM
    July 2, 2010 | 5:37 am

    Made this a few weeks ago with broccoli from my CSA box, raw milk cheddar and chopped Tasso ham from the local farmer’s market and it was oh-so-tasty! Seems like a great basic recipe in which you could substitute a number of veggies for the broccoli or the rice, such as the cauliflower mentioned above, as well as cabbage, chard or spinach, also. Maybe even turnips too? Because anything is better with cheese!!

    • KristenM
      February 7, 2012 | 2:40 pm

      YES! Hence the “versatile” in the title. Veggies + Meat + Roux + Cheese = Dinner.

  15. Kim
    August 28, 2010 | 12:50 pm

    This is the way i like recipes, add what you want or not what you want. i can picture this with zucchini and summer squash, and i do love Cabot’s Seriously Sharp.
    .-= Kim´s last blog post …Brown Sugar Peach Pie =-.

  16. kmillecam
    January 20, 2011 | 4:33 pm

    This looks so wonderful! I’m a big fan of broccoli, so this is perfect. My skillet probably isn’t big enough, but I can take the veggies out while I make the sauce and then add everything back in.

  17. Jeanette
    July 28, 2011 | 9:09 pm

    I made a version of this dish tonite. I had to make do with supplies on hand, like a frozen broccoli medley instead of fresh broccoli. Sauteed some chicken in butter, then browned some onion after I removed the chicken; added some fresh cubed zucchini that I needed to use up. I used a cheese medley called Mexican blend and since I did not have any sour cream on hand I used kefir. It was glorious! This will definitely be one of my go-to one dish meals.

    • KristenM
      July 28, 2011 | 9:13 pm

      Now THAT’S what I’m talking about. It’s versatile! Once you get the basic idea down, it’s so easy to just create, create, create with whatever you’ve got on hand or crave.

  18. Shannan
    February 10, 2012 | 11:29 pm

    We’ve made this before and it is awesome. I’m wondering if anyone has tried freezing it??

  19. Aubrey R
    February 24, 2012 | 3:08 pm

    I found this recipe in ‘Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food’ and just made it for lunch. Yum! Thank you!

  20. Mara
    March 7, 2012 | 7:53 pm

    I am definitely making this one this week…maybe tomorrow. YUM! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Sierra
    May 3, 2012 | 5:53 pm

    Just made this and it was AMAZING! I did have a slight problem getting the broccoli tender enough but I’m pretty sure that was operator failure :-P Can’t wait to have it for leftovers tomorrow!

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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