• Prep Time -
  • Cook Time -
  • Serving For 6-8 people
  • Difficulty Easy, Normal

Recipe Description

Broccoli rice casserole is one of the classic side dishes in the American Southwest. Unlike the rest of the US where wheat, corn and potatoes are the dominant staples, the southern states grow and eat more rice than other states. So it came as a surprise for me when I went to study in Texas that rice dishes were a staple in many homes that I had visited. This is also probably because of the Mexican influence on the cuisine of Texas and Louisiana.

The final topping of the cheeses and breadcrumbs is crucial in creating that au gratin finish that this dish is famous for. It is very much like the cheesy rice dish that we see at Hong Kong restaurants, but I think this is better because it’s all-natural.

The first time I tasted this dish, I was blown away by its simplicity and flavour. The combination of rice, cheese and broccoli was one that I thought I could easily replicate. Then, I found out that most restaurants cheated by making the cheese sauce out of canned cream of chicken soup. Thus, I began my quest for an all-natural recipe that doesn’t depend on this relic of 1940s wartime conveniences.

The most basic ingredient is the cooked rice of which long-grain rice or jasmine rice is most ideal. Unless you want to keep this dish vegetarian, you may cook the rice in chicken broth, which gives it a flavour similar to making the sauce with canned soup. You may just use plain rice as I have done in the video and it still tastes amazing.

The broccoli is chopped in the version that I’m used to eating, but most recipes online call for it to be cut into florets and then parboiled. I find that the broccoli in this method loses some of its flavour so I chop them to cook in the sauce for all the flavours to meld together. Adding a bit of mustard powder also enhances the inherent taste of mustard in the broccoli but it may be omitted if you want a milder flavour.

Because all the ingredients are already pre-cooked, do not bake for too long or the rice will get mushy. Remove from the oven when the sauce starts bubbling and the topping turns browned and crusty. Then allow it to cool a little before serving on its own or garnished with a few slices of smoked salmon, the perfect dish during this period of Lent.

Recipe Ingredient

  • Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked white rice or chicken rice
  • Sauce
  • 45g butter
  • 1 bulb yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 115g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¼ tsp salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper to taste
  • Topping
  • 90g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 75g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


  1. Cook onion and garlic in butter on medium-low heat until soft and translucent, not brown.
  2. Stir in flour and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour in milk while whisking over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  4. Remove from heat and add dry mustard, paprika, cream cheese and cheddar cheese.
  5. Stir until melted and add in broccoli to cook in the residual heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir together rice and cheese sauce. Place in a greased casserole dish.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes or until bubbly and toppings turn slightly brown and crusty.

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