Confession: lately this cheese-loving lady has been putting a cashew-based, completely cheese-free ‘cheese’ sauce on everything.
Everything, I tell you.
I’ve drizzled it over baked potatoes and sweet potatoes, pasta, soup, roasted veggies, tacos, nachos, and burrito bowls -even pizza- you name it, I’m putting faux cheese sauce on it. And it’s not just me loving it- Kevin is all about this cheese sauce, too.
Why, you may ask? Because it’s downright tasty, vegan or not. And it somehow seems easier than making a traditional cheese sauce, since there’s no cheese to be shredded or roux to be whisked.
If you follow me over on Instagram you already know this, since I tend to share pictures of what we’re eating on my stories, and there’s been an overabundance of the aforementioned cheese-less cheese sauce lately. So, after weeks of receiving Instagram messages from people who watched my stories and couldn’t possibly live another moment without that luscious cheese sauce in their lives, I finally decided to make a recipe featuring this golden goodness.
And let me tell you, this Cheesy Broccoli + Quinoa bake is pretty much my idea of the perfect winter meal: hot, bubbly, cheesy, cozy, veggie-loaded, packed with protein (there’s over 80 grams of protein in this whole dish, thanks to the power of quinoa, cashews, and nutritional yeast!), and oh-so-comforting.
Since the reality is that the two of us can’t possibly eat all of this in one sitting, I ended up eating leftovers for lunch all last week and LOVED having something quick, easy, and cheesy to pop in the microwave for lunches on busy days.
To make this mysteriously cheesless cheesy goodness, all you need to do is
- Make the cheese sauce. I adapted it from my Best Ever Salsa Con Queso, but left out the jalapenos and salsa. Onions and garlic get sautéed then dumped into a blender or food processor with soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and spices, then pureed until silky smooth and utterly perfect.
- Cook a cup of quinoa and chop up a mountain of broccoli.
- Stir everything together in a big casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 30 minutes.
I think you’re going to love this Cheesy Vegan Broccoli + Quinoa Bake as much as we do!
It would make the perfect cozy weeknight meal for a hungry family of four, or could easily serve a larger crowd as a side dish.
I mean really, just look at that thick, creamy, cheesy goodness. Trust me, you need this plant-powered comfort food dish in your life!
If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below, or taking a picture and sharing it with me on Instagram!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 very large or 2 small broccoli crowns
- 1 small onion (yellow/white)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in cold water overnight or boiling water for 30 minutes)
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, for topping (optional)
- 1. Turn on oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- 2. While quinoa cooks, cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces (about 1-2 inches in size), and peel and dice the onion and garlic.
- 3. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and add onion and olive oil. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are slightly brown. Add garlic and cook another minute before turning off the heat and dumping the onion, garlic, and olive oil mixture into the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender.
- 4. Add all remaining ingredients to the food processor (except breadcrumbs) and puree on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more salt or pepper, as needed.
- 5. Put cooked quinoa, diced (raw) broccoli, and cheese sauce into an oven-safe dish (at least 8-cup capacity) and stir well to coat everything in the sauce. Top with breadcrumbs (if using) and add an extra pinch of salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
- 6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately, or let cool completely and store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- This recipe makes a lot of food; definitely enough to feed 4 as a complete meal, or 8 as a side dish. I loved having leftovers in the fridge for quick + easy lunches all week long!