Here is a warm cheesy comfort food casserole without the calories! It’s made with a fat free vegan cheese sauce and packed with nutrients for your family. This meal was created for my preschooler because her favorite foods are rice, cauliflower, and cheese!
For this recipe you start by cooking your short grain brown rice. I cook ours in the instant pot. You can use any kind of rice you prefer but we love short grain brown because its fluffy and similar to white rice but it’s a whole grain with the bran intact. The rice takes about 40 minutes to cook. I like to prep the rice earlier in the day or batch cook it in advance. It’s okay if it’s cold since you will be heating it all together in the oven.
For the cheese sauce you will need to boil some veggies in a small pot. That takes about 10 minutes until tender. And then blend.
Then you bake all the yumminess together and the cheese gets all gooey and deliciously sticky!
Okay here’s your ingredients and reference pics…
Makes: 9×13 sized deep casserole
Cooking Time: about 45-60 minutes baking time +45 min for the rice to cook (tip: prep rice prior)
- 6 cups cooked short grain brown rice
- 1 small to medium head cauliflower (chopped into small florets)
Cheese Sauce: (makes 4 cups)
- 3 small yukon gold potatoes
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups starchy water from boiling veggies
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 3 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder
- 2 Tbs tapioca starch (must be tapioca for the cheese to get sticky when baked)
- Rice: cook rice according to package. If using instant pot. Make 3 cups dry rice with 3 cups water. Pressure cook for 24 minutes (for short grain brown) and natural release (takes about another 20 minutes).
- Cheese Sauce: boil quartered potatoes, chopped carrots, and quartered onion, and garlic for about 10 minutes until tender. With a slotted spoon transfer veggies to blender plus 2 cups of the cooking water. Add the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and blend.
- Casserole: preheat oven to 425°F. layer the ingredients adding cooked rice, cauliflower florets, cheese sauce. Make sure you cover the entire casserole with all that cheesy goodness all over the top so it’s well coated. Then, cover the whole thing tightly with foil. Bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check cauliflower tenderness at 45 minutes. Season with salt to taste.