Irresistible Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Fresh Broccoli Recipe

Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it’s so good for you that he’s been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.

Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it's so good for you that he's been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.

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Why I Love This Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Fresh Broccoli Recipe

There’s something inherently comforting about a casserole. It’s the dish we turn to when we want to feel the warmth of home, or when we’re tasked with preparing a dish that’ll impress a crowd. This recipe has double the cheesy goodness, using cheddar cheese soup as a creamy addition.

You can pair this broccoli and cheese casserole with any main dish (try our Baked Scrod), or add chicken or rice for a complete meal.

Spotlight on Ingredients: More than Just Green and Cheesy

  • Fresh Broccoli: Using fresh broccoli ensures a crisp texture and an authentic, earthy taste. For those who want a low-carb variant, cauliflower is a great substitute. You can also use frozen broccoli.
  • Cheese: While cheddar is our choice, feel free to experiment with gruyere or vegan cheese options for those with dairy sensitivities.
  • Buttery Crackers: These add a delightful crunch. For a gluten-free variation, try crushed almond flour crackers or omit altogether.
  • Whole Milk & Mayonnaise: These ensure a creamy consistency. Lactose-intolerant folks can opt for almond or oat milk.

The Broccoli’s Backstory: A Nutrient Powerhouse

The star vegetable in our dish: broccoli. This green veggie is not just about adding color and flavor to the plate. Packed with vitamins like C and K, dietary fiber, and minerals like iron, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. Furthermore, the antioxidants present can help support a healthy immune system. So, when you indulge in our broccoli and cheese casserole, know that you’re also treating yourself to a boost of nutrition.

Why Fresh Broccoli Beats Frozen

Using fresh broccoli can truly elevate your dish. Fresh broccoli retains a crisp texture, brighter color, and often a richer flavor compared to its frozen counterpart. It’s not just about the sensory experience, though. Fresh broccoli, when stored and cooked appropriately, may also preserve more of its vital nutrients, ensuring you get the most out of this green gem.

But if frozen is all you got, it’s okay, too.

Cheese Choices: Beyond Cheddar

While cheddar is a classic choice for our broccoli and cheese casserole, don’t hesitate to get creative. Feel like adding some tang? Throw in a bit of feta. Seeking a creamier texture? Melt in some Gouda or Fontina. The beauty of this dish is its versatility. Mix and match cheeses to discover your perfect cheesy blend.

Master the Casserole: Tips and Tricks

Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it's so good for you that he's been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.
Photo by Amir Hanna on Unsplash
  1. Blanch Your Broccoli: By parboiling your broccoli, you ensure it retains its vibrant green color. You can also zap it in the microwave if the packaging is BPA free.
  2. Use Block Cheese: For extra goodness, shred your own cheese so it’s fresh. (Pre-shredded cheese is often filled with other stuff, like oil.) But, the cheddar cheese soup also takes care of anything, so however much you want to put into this casserole is okay!
  3. Blending is Key: Blending the ingredients correctly ensures even cooking and optimal flavor.
  4. Add a Pinch of Spice: A little paprika or cayenne can add a delightful kick to your casserole.
  5. Choose the Right Casserole Dish: A good ceramic or glass dish distributes heat evenly.

Serving Styles: Presentation Matters

Presentation can transform a simple dish into a gourmet experience. Consider serving the casserole in individual ramekins for a personal touch during dinner parties. Or, if it’s a casual family dinner, sprinkle some extra cheese on top and broil for a couple of minutes to get a golden crust. Garnishing with fresh herbs can also add a pop of color and an aromatic twist.

Beyond the Casserole: Pairing Suggestions

  • Wine: A crisp white wine like Chardonnay complements the creaminess of the casserole.
  • Salad: A fresh arugula or spinach salad with a light vinaigrette balances out the richness.
  • Bread: A slice of garlic bread or a baguette is perfect for scooping up any leftover cheese.

Staying Fresh: Storage and Longevity Tips

  • Cool Before Storing: Let your casserole come to room temperature before refrigerating.
  • Airtight is Right: Use an airtight container to retain moisture and flavor.
  • Reheat Properly: Use an oven or toaster oven for reheating to retain the casserole’s crispy top.

FAQs: Everything You Wanted to Know

  1. Can I use frozen broccoli? Absolutely, though fresh broccoli offers a better texture.
  2. How long does the casserole last in the fridge? Ideally, consume within 3-4 days.
  3. Can I freeze the casserole? Yes, but ensure it’s wrapped tightly.
  4. Is there a vegan version? Absolutely! Swap out dairy ingredients for plant-based alternatives, like oat milk.
  5. How do I know when my casserole is done? The top should be golden brown and the mixture bubbly.
  6. Can I add meat? Grilled chicken or bacon bits can be added for extra protein.
  7. Is the casserole spicy? Not inherently, but feel free to add spices to taste.
  8. Can kids eat this? Absolutely, it’s a kid-friendly favorite.
  9. How many does this serve? This recipe serves about 6-8, depending on portion size.
  10. What if I don’t have Dijon mustard? Regular mustard works, but Dijon adds a unique flavor.

A Broccoli Bonanza: Casserole Cooking Night

Gather your family or friends and host a casserole cooking night! Allow each person to add their twist to the casserole, creating a delightful tasting event. It’s not just about the food, but the memories made.

Kids Corner: Making it Kid-friendly

Let’s face it. Sometimes, the little ones can be picky eaters. To make the broccoli and cheese casserole more appealing to kids, consider adding a fun-shaped cracker crust (like Goldfish!) or involve them in the preparation process.

You can even introduce a storytelling element, calling broccoli the “green trees” and cheese the “golden snow.” Making food fun can be the first step in fostering a love for diverse flavors in children.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Fresh Broccoli

Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it's so good for you that he's been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.

Dive into the comforting blend of fresh broccoli and melty cheese with this irresistible casserole, perfect for family dinners or gatherings. Make ahead to give yourself a rest before the big day.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh broccoli florets
  • Water for boiling
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 10.5 ounces cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups rectangular buttery crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a medium-sized casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the fresh broccoli florets. Boil for about 3-4 minutes or until slightly tender but still retaining a crisp texture. Drain the broccoli and set aside. Alternatively, zap in the microwave using the bag's instructions.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, ensuring the garlic doesn't burn.
  4. Gradually whisk in the all-purpose flour, ensuring no lumps form. Slowly pour in the milk while continually whisking to keep the mixture smooth.
  5. In the same saucepan, stir in the cheddar cheese soup until well combined with the onions and garlic. Let the mixture simmer until it starts to thicken.
  6. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  7. Gently fold in the parboiled broccoli florets, ensuring they are well-coated with the cheese mixture.
  8. Pour the broccoli and cheese mixture into the prepared casserole dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 45 minutes.
  9. In a separate bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix in the crushed buttery crackers and flat-leaf parsley until the crumbs are evenly coated. Sprinkle more shredded cheddar cheese into the mixture, if desired.
  10. Remove casserole from oven. Evenly distribute the buttered cracker and parsley mixture over the cheese layer.
  11. Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 15 additional minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
  12. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to sit for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the flavors to meld and the casserole to set slightly.

Notes

  • If using frozen broccoli, adjust the cooking time to ensure it doesn’t become too soft.
  • For optimal flavor, use block cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese can have anti-caking agents that might affect the meltiness.
  • If you don’t have Dijon mustard on hand, regular mustard works, but Dijon adds a unique richness.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 818Total Fat 64gSaturated Fat 26gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 33gCholesterol 120mgSodium 1190mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 5gSugar 9gProtein 24g

Nutritional values automatically generated.

The Final: Irresistible Creamy Broccoli and Cheese Casserole with Fresh Broccoli Recipe

 Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it's so good for you that he's been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.

Try this broccoli and cheese casserole with fresh broccoli recipe if you want to bury the icky taste of broccoli! So, I hate broccoli. So does The Husband. But it's so good for you that he's been forcing himself to eat it. My two cents: smother it in cheese. Lots and lots and lots of cheese. Cheese makes everything so good. You know what could make this even better? Bacon! You could throw some of bacon in this casserole, too. But this casserole features cheese and broccoli, lots of both.

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