A Classic Comfort: Broccoli-Cheese Casserole

by Sara on November 15, 2011

When I was young, I really loved peas.

According to my mother, I would eat my peas by wrapping a pinky finger around one at a time, locking it in place, then shoveling it into my mouth.

Unless, that is, I was offered pureed peas. Then I’d smear them all over my face.

I like to have fun with my food! May I pretty peas have more?

But I digress.

For a long time, peas were the only vegetable I enjoyed eating. I even turned my nose up at carrots, every kid’s favorite healthy snack.

But broccoli was in an entire league of its own. Just the smell alone triggered “But Mooooomuuh, I’m not hungry!” excuses.

That is, until my mom began disguising the green under the gold.

Oh yes. She knew the way to her cheese-loving daughter’s heart.

There’s something special about the broccoli-cheese duo. Not only is it a classic flavor combination, but for me it invokes nostalgia and comfort; memories of 6pm weeknight meals prepared with love.

I’ve tried to replicate mom’s recipe for Broccoli-Cheese Casserole over the years with limited success. The main problem: the consistency of the broccoli is never quite right; it’s either too crunchy or too mushy.

So when I was offered the opportunity to sample a bag of Green Giant Steamers vegetables as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program, I immediately jumped on board!

Tender crisp broccoli? Yes please!

I wanted to create a dish that could stand alone as a main meal, so instead of following my mom’s recipe, which consists solely of cheese, broccoli and one beaten egg, I created a Broccoli-Cheese Casserole reminiscent of a creamy quiche. Except without the crust.

And super cheesy, just the way it should be. :-)

*Broccoli-Cheese Casserole*

prepared with lots of love

serves six

1 12-ounce bag Green Giant Steamers broccoli florets

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

1 t. garlic paste or a good dash of garlic powder

1 cup Egg Beaters (I prefer the organic variety) OR 6 large eggs

3/2 cup evaporated milk OR 3/4 cup half-and-half*

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 t. salt

6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.

2. Prepare broccoli according to package directions. Cut off stems and pat dry with paper towels, making sure to remove excess moisture. Chop into small pieces.

3. Meanwhile, saute onion in a little bit of olive oil until slightly browned.

4. Whisk together garlic paste, eggs, evaporated milk,Β  nutmeg, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in most of the cheese, setting aside about 1/4 cup for the topping.

5. Arrange broccoli in an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish and top with sauteed onion.

6. Pour filling into an 8 x8 or 9 x9 casserole dish and add broccoli, then sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and Parmesan.

7. Bake quiche until custard is just set, 45 to 50 minutes. (Center will tremble slightly; filling will continue to set as it cools.) Cool at least 10 minutes.

Serve quiche warm or at room temperature.

*Using half-and-half will yield a richer, yet dare I say, even more delicious casserole. If you’re looking for a slightly indulgent treat, go with half-and-half; if you’re looking for a light satisfying meal, use the evaporated milk.*

This meal is one of my go-to recipes uring hectic holiday season, as it can be made ahead an stored in the refrigerator up to a day ahead. AND, it’s a classic crowd pleaser.

Oh, and speaking of classics…

Chanel Peridot nail laquer.

Sparkly gold, with a glimmer of green.

Love it. AndΒ  like Broccoli-Cheddar Casserole, it’s a classic perfect for the holiday season. :-)


Were you a veggie-eater when you were young? What’s your current favorite/least favorite vegetable?

What are you wearing on your nails right now?

Disclaimer: I received a coupon for Green Giant Steamers as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program. As always, all reviews and opinions are my own.


  • http://www.cinnamonbums.wordpress.com Natalie

    Oh my gosh, you were an adorable baby! Love that photo! Haha.

    And your casserole looks soooo good! I’m definitely going to try this. Broccoli and cheese really is comforting!

    Chanel nail polish is the best; I just wish it wasn’t so expensive!

    Favorite veggie: can’t choose! But I love kabocha squash and spinach a little bit more than the others. :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Ooh I love kabocha squash and spinach too–they’re definitely some of the very best veggies out there. :)

      And I agree–Chanel polish is a bit too pricey!

  • Julie

    Sara, this looks SO delicious! Thanks for the recipe. Love the baby photo! I used to eat lots of peas when I was little too. And that nail color is awesome! Definitely perfect for the holidays (just like your Broccoli Cheese Casserole!) :-)

  • http://glitzglamgranola.com/ Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    Ohh this looks amazing!! I love how you took your Mom’s comfort recipe and made it a little more appropriate for a full meal! And your nail polish is gorg! Sadly my nails are unpainted right now, but I will fix that tonight! And I loveeee any kind of squash but butternut is my fave and always has been. My mom used to make it as a kid and I was the only one in the family who would eat it!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      LOVE butternut squash! I’m also a huge kabocha fan, but it can be tricky to find!

  • http://www.eat-spin-run-repeat.com Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

    Precious photo, Sara! Your casserole looks scrumptious. I’ve actually never tried a broccoli-cheese casserole, so I’m curious to give this a try.

    I love Chanel nail polish too. I’ll be on the lookout for Peridot! xoxo

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      I think you’ll love it! Let me know what you think!

  • http://sweatlikeapig.com/ Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    I know in normal situations this would look good, but I’m sooooo over eating broccoli! I just have it steamed with a little bit of salt, and a side of dry chicken breast πŸ˜‰ Oh the joys of contest prep… My favourite vegetable is potatoes!! Or corn! But I’ve read that neither of those can actually be counted as vegetables because their carb amount is so high. Whatever – I stand by my choices!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Haha, I stand by your choices 100% too! I loooove potatoes and grilled corn on the cob. Contest prep food sounds a bit blah, but think about how amazing everything will taste once you’re finished! Talk about a major food celebration!

  • Stephanie @ Mr and Meatless

    Yummy casserole!! My mom makes a banging broccoli-cheese casserole too. But honestly, yours looks better! And I bet it’s healthier too!

    LOVE that nail polish!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      I bet you could healthify your mom’s version!

  • http://sobersingledc.blogspot.com TheSingleship

    I would eat an old shoe if it was covered with enough cheese! Okay, maybe not, but you know what I’m saying.

    Your recipe looks tasty!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Haha, hmm…I think I’d just eat the cheese on top of the shoe. πŸ˜‰

  • http://www.anutritionisteats.com emily (a nutritionist eats)

    I’m painting my nails RIGHT now!!! OPI: Honk if you love OPI! :)

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      HONK! πŸ˜‰ OPI and Essie are my two favorites!

  • http://thisitalianfamily.wordpress.com/ Rach

    Mmmm… yum!

  • http://twitter.com/jessgobananas Jess @jessgobananas

    I don’t remember hating veggies that much…but I do remember slathering them with butter! lol Great recipe!

  • http://fashionfitnessfoodie.com fashion fitness foodie

    i dont remember disliking veggies but i dont remember liking them. ill eat anything covered in cheese though πŸ˜‰

  • http://healthifulbalance.blogspot.com/ Shannon (Healthiful Balance)

    Aww what a cute picture! :)
    That casserole looks great, thanks for sharing!

    I was not a veggie eater when I was younger, but now I love them!

  • Soo @ Little Miss Fitness

    Girl, you are the cutest baby ever!! :)

    What a great way to use frozen broccoli…looks amazing! My fav veggie right now is asparagus. I think my husband’s pretty sick of it actually. :)

  • Sally

    Your broccoli cheese casserole looks yummy…wish I could have joined you for dinner! And that baby photo (at Gramma’s) is one of my favorites! I’ve been eating brussel sprouts a lot lately…not like me!!

  • http://www.juliegolean.com julieee

    OMG obsessed with this. although i hate mac n cheese because of the dreaded sloshy sound haha this recipe is fabulous especially because i’m obsessed with roasting broccoli in parm cheeese! and um that chanel nail color is so chic!

  • http://veggiecouture.com Gina

    Yum-o I want that casserole- broccoli and cheese go together like PB & jelly :)
    I’m currently wearing OPI Over the Taupe on my nails. I really wish I owned some Chanel though!

    I love you and miss you and I’m anxiously awaiting yours and Katie’s visit to NYC :) xoxo

  • http://veggiecouture.com Gina

    Yum-o I want that casserole- broccoli and cheese go together like PB & jelly :)
    I’m currently wearing OPI Over the Taupe on my nails. I really wish I owned some Chanel though!

    I love you and miss you and I’m anxiously awaiting yours and Katie’s visit to NYC :) xoxo

  • Kate www.healthydivaeats.com

    Your baby pic is SO cute Sara! I wish I had more pics of me when I was little, but at least I take a ton of Anthony and always have, so he will have lots!

    Ooooooh this looks good! Love brochure and cheese! You could make this as a side for thanksgiving!!!

    I am SO beyond excited for NYC!! Love u!!!!!!!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      SO SO exctied too!! Love you!!! xoxo

  • Jamesabyad

    I too have always loved broccoli and cheese! I think my favorite veggies now are squash or zucchini stuffed with rice and meat!! And some yogurt on top. Middle Eastern and SO good!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      YUM! Do you ever make it at home?

  • Marcee ….. Illinois

    Oh. Yummers …. just absolutely perfect food! I’d like to make this casserole one day this week …. serve w/pasta.

    Earlier today, I made a fairly healthy green-bean casserole. Adding a container of plain Chobani gives the dish protein punch. Extra mushrooms also. Came out excellent. You can also use nutritional yeast for a cheesy-flavor.

    Sara, is a “friendly print” available so we can enjoy your recipes?

    Wow ….. what a gorgeous little gal you were! AND are! I’ve always loved peas too. Carrots were a second fav. Many babies/kids do not care for peas though.

    Your posts are really enjoyable.

    HNY 2012!

    • http://www.nourish-and-flourish.net Sara Stewart

      Your healthy green bean casserole sounds delicious! Might you be willing to share the recipe? :-)

      Like the email subscription, I plan on adding a “print friendly” tool to the blog soon! So sorry if it’s an inconvenience! I’d be happy to send you the recipe in a document, if that would make printing it easier!

  • http://www.facebook.com/laaul Lori Aul

    I am definitely going to try this Broccoli-Cheese Casserole, it looks so yummy! :)
    I currently am wearing OPI’s Rich Red nail color, it is the perfect red for the holiday’s.
    I just came across your blog & am delighted to find such wonderful healthy recipes, especially the gluten-free ones. I was just told by my Chiropractor that I should eliminate gluten from my diet because my moods tend to go up & down a lot. This seems like a huge change & it is kind if daunting. Knowing that other people are living without flour & pasta products, somehow makes it seem more doable. Your gluten-free recipes look very good& I look forward to trying them. If you or any of your followers can recommend any great brands or food items that are gluten-free. If you can recommend helpful web sites for this gluten-free way of eating, I would appreciate it!

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