This Brussels sprout casserole is pure bliss! Bake tender sprouts with a white cheddar cheese sauce and top with crunchy breadcrumbs.
Here’s a rich and delicious side dish that will have everyone talking about it: this perfect Brussels Sprout Casserole! Because what’s better than making Brussels that taste like mac and cheese? Bake up those tender sprouts with a rich and creamy white cheddar cheese sauce, then top it with crunchy breadcrumbs toasted until they’re golden brown. It’s truly sublime (and we’re not just saying that!). This is our go-to for a cozy homey side dish that everyone will go crazy over.
Ingredients in Brussels sprout casserole
This Brussels sprout casserole has three basic elements that make its magic: sauteed Brussels sprouts with shallots and garlic, a white cheddar cheese sauce, and a crunchy breadcrumb topping. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any festive fall or winter meal. Use it as a side dish or even a vegetarian main dish! Here’s what you need:
Brussels sprouts, shallotsand garlic
Salt and pepper
Onion powder and garlic powder
Pecorino Romano cheese: an aged cheese like a saltier version of Parmesan! If desired, substitute Parmesan cheese and another pinch of salt
How to prepare the Brussels sprouts
For this Brussels sprouts recipe, you’ll to slice the Brussels sprouts into quarters. Here’s why, and a few tips:
Slicing into quarters makes them easier to saute. The first step is to make sautéed Brussels sprouts, and they cook faster and more evenly in smaller pieces.
Got super large Brussels sprouts? We’ve gotten some massive ones at the store. Cut them in half, then into thirds to make sixths. Very small Brussels can likely just go in half. The goal is to have everything in similar sized pieces.
Remember the weight for the sprouts is off the stem. It’s easiest to buy them in bags from the store: usually you can find one pound bags.
Making the white cheddar cheese sauce
This Brussels sprout casserole features a white cheddar cheese sauce that’s made like a traditional mac and cheese sauce using a roux. A “roux” (pronounced “Roo“) is a way to thicken sauces by cooking equal parts flour and butter. It results in a thick and creamy sauce. There are a few important things to note about making a roux:
Measure out your ingredients in advance (mise en place). The cooking process goes fast, so you don’t want to be distracted by measuring. The French way to say measure out all your ingredients is mise en place, which “means everything in its place”.
Don’t leave the stove, and watch closely. The flour and butter can burn easily! Stand by the stove and start adding milk right when the flour turns golden brown.
Add the milk gradually. Pour in the milk and constantly whisk, adding it little by little, until it forms a smooth sauce. Then add the cheese and stir until it melts.
Ways to serve Brussels sprouts casserole
There are so many ways to serve this Brussels sprouts casserole: it works as a side dish or a main dish! It’s just like mac and cheese but using Brussels sprouts instead of pasta, so it’s the ideal vegetarian main dish. Use it in the following ways:
As a side with roast chicken, fish, or a vegetarian main
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan cheese, with an extra pinch salt)
½ cup plain panko (or breadcrumbs)
Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chop: Slice off the tough ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them into quarters, discarding any discolored outer leaves (cut any very large sprouts into sixths). Thinly slice the shallot. Mince the garlic.
Sauté: Heat the olive oil in oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and fragrant. Add the Brussels sprouts, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper and sauté on medium high heat for 3 minutes. Add ¼ cup water and continue cooking until tender and starting to brown, another 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce: Grate the white cheddar cheese (if necessary). Measure out the butter, flour, milk, ⅛ teaspoon salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat; when it melts, stir in the flour. Heat the mixture for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. When the color starts to turn light brown, immediately reduce the heat to low. Add the milk very slowly: whisking constantly until the mixture is completely smooth before adding more. Then add the salt, onion powder, and garlic powder and continue cooking on low heat for about 2 minutes, whisking frequently. Gradually add the sharp cheddar cheese and Pecorino Romano cheese, and keep stirring until it is fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
Bake: Stir the cheese sauce into the cooked Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with panko and bake 20 minutes until golden brown. If desired, dust with a pinch of paprika. Serve warm.
Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole! It’s broccoli cheese flavor, easy to make, and a healthy spin that’s heavy on whole foods. Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole that’s cozy and all about whole foods! Why relegate this healthy whole grain only to wild rice soup? There are plenty more ways to serve it, and this one is truly spectacular. It’s broccoli cheese flavor, flecked with savory bits of broccoli, gooey white cheddar, and a creamy easy-to-make filling. While it’s got a vaguely 1970’s vibe, this one is all whole foods and heavy on the plants. (Nope, there’s no cream of mushroom soup!) Ready to get cooking? What’s in this wild rice casserole? This broccoli cheese wild rice casserole is all about comfort food! At the same time, Alex and I have tried to keep a healthy spin: it’s got all whole foods, just enough cheese, and no rich roux sauce. Here’s what we’ve got in this vegetarian and gluten-free casserole: Perfect Wild Rice: Here we’ve used our favorite method of cooking this grain, simmered with vegetable broth, onion and celery. It comes out perfectly moist and tender! Broccoli: It’s chopped into small florets and sauteed […]
Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole! It’s broccoli cheese flavor, easy to make, and a healthy spin that’s heavy on whole foods.
Here’s a modern spin on wild rice casserole that’s cozy and all about whole foods! Why relegate this healthy whole grain only to wild rice soup? There are plenty more ways to serve it, and this one is truly spectacular. It’s broccoli cheese flavor, flecked with savory bits of broccoli, gooey white cheddar, and a creamy easy-to-make filling. While it’s got a vaguely 1970’s vibe, this one is all whole foods and heavy on the plants. (Nope, there’s no cream of mushroom soup!) Ready to get cooking?
What’s in this wild rice casserole?
This broccoli cheese wild rice casserole is all about comfort food! At the same time, Alex and I have tried to keep a healthy spin: it’s got all whole foods, just enough cheese, and no rich roux sauce. Here’s what we’ve got in this vegetarian and gluten-free casserole:
Perfect Wild Rice: Here we’ve used our favorite method of cooking this grain, simmered with vegetable broth, onion and celery. It comes out perfectly moist and tender!
Broccoli: It’s chopped into small florets and sauteed simply on the stovetop with a few spices. It’s our favorite way to eat it as a side dish: which we stole here for this casserole!
Sour Cream: Who wants to dirty another pan to make a cheese sauce? You’ll stir sour cream right into the rice to make it creamy.
White Cheddar Cheese: A sharp white cheddar cheese is perfect here. You can use aged cheese to get even more flavor.
Parmesan Cheese: Adding shredded Parmesan brings just right right complexity!
Did you know wild rice isn’t really…rice?
Did you know that wild rice is not actually rice? (Mind blown, right?) It’s actually the seed from a native grass that grows in lakes and streams in the Northern US and Canada. But since it looks a lot like rice, wild rice is treated as rice in most cuisines! Wild rice was an important staple to Native Americans in the upper Great Lakes area of the US. I’m from Minnesota originally, so wild rice was part of the heritage and history of where I lived growing up!
Wild rice vs brown rice
Though they’re not truly related, wild rice is often compared to brown rice. They are often served in similar ways, and wild rice is a great substitute for rice (like in a wild rice casserole!). Is wild rice healthier than brown rice? Here’s how they stack up:
Wild rice has less calories than brown rice, about 66% less! 1 cup of cooked wild rice has 166 calories and 1 cup brown rice has 248 calories. (Source)
Wild rice has slightly more protein than brown rice. 1 cup cooked wild rice has 6.5 grams protein vs 5.5 grams in brown rice. (Source)
Both wild and brown rice have the same amount of fiber, about 3 grams per 1 cup cooked.
Make ahead tips!
Wild rice takes about 45 to 55 minutes to cook…which is why Alex and I used to avoid it in our recipes! But we’ve learned it’s absolutely worth the time. To make this wild rice casserole seriously simple to prep, here’s what you can do:
Make the wild rice in advance. Make the rice in advance and refrigerate until serving! The day of serving, mix it with the hot broccoli in a bowl, which should reheat it.
The day of, make the broccoli while the oven preheats. Saute the broccoli while the oven is preheating, then mix it with the wild rice to reheat it.
How to serve wild rice casserole
This wild rice casserole can be served as a side dish or a vegetarian and gluten-free dinner main dish! What could you serve with it to make it into a meal? Here are some ideas:
Lemony Steamed Green Beans These zesty steamed green beans are the epitome of an easy side dish: they take just 10 minutes to put together.
Best Ever Sauteed Mushrooms This wild rice casserole doesn’t have mushrooms, so why not serve them as a side! They’re meaty and would add a nice contrast.
Fennel Orange Salad Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.
Make the rice: Make the Perfect Wild Rice. (Meal prep tip: Make this in advance and refrigerate until serving. The day of serving, reheat it to warm, or mix with the still-warm broccoli in step 2 to reheat it.)
Cook the broccoli: Meanwhile, chop the broccoli into small florets. Thinly slice the green onions. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the broccoli florets and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (the broccoli will lightly brown in parts). Stir in the green onion, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until crisp tender but still bright green. Taste and add a few pinches of salt if needed (make the flavor pop!) and fresh ground pepper. Remove to a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix the casserole filling: When the wild rice is done, drain it and add the additional salt to taste as part of that recipe. Then place it in the bowl with the broccoli. Mix in the sour cream and 3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese. Taste and add additional salt if you’d like (we added 1/4 teaspoon more).
Bake: Pour the filling into a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.