This creamy, cheesy baked broccoli has just FIVE INGREDIENTS and comes together in under an hour. It's my favorite GF Thanksgiving side dish for this year and is absolutely replacing traditional broccoli casserole (much as I love all casseroles!). This cheesy broccoli wins the side dish game again and again.
Well, HELLO. We're starting Thanksgiving side dish recipes!!
(no one asked, I realize this)
When I started working on Thanksgiving foods for this year, I had several criteria, developed on a long beach walk with Jay back in July. It's not a THEME, necessarily, but guidelines for how we're liking life right now.
First: very few ingredients. very normal ingredients. REGULAR stuff.
Second: classic flavors. I want regular foods, found on regular Thanksgiving tables, made extra simple and done really well.
Third: small dishes. I know, I know. "It's a personal choice whether or not you want to participate in the spreading of a deadly virus during a global pandemic." THAT'S TRUE! It's your choice. But, I know of several people that are choosing to have smaller Thanksgiving gatherings for 2020, and this is for you.
That's it! That's the rules. Easy stuff, short ingredient lists, not a ton of effort on anyone's part.
So, this broccoli recipe!
It's kind of like gluten free broccoli au gratin (is that a thing), less casserole and more "creamy stuff dumped over raw broccoli). That's part of my hang up with casseroles. It seems that to get an ideal creaminess, we either use cream of xx soup (nothing wrong with that), or make a roux and deal with thickening dairy products and honestly that can not always go great.
I don't cook with canned cream of whatever soups a lot, but I think they have a great place in our society. I just didn't want this particular broccoli recipe to be that kind of casserole.
(however, if you're into cream of mushroom soup and similar, my baked chicken spaghetti is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods ever ever ever)
The ingredients for this dish are so simple. Raw broccoli. Cream, glorious cream. Not half and half. Salt and mustard for flavor, something grainy or brown or spicy, whatever. Cheese. That's. it.
I actually tried this once with blanching the broccoli first and the end result was weird and watery, no good at all. Starting with raw broccoli saves a step AND works better, win win win!
Step By Step Instructions
Start by placing the pieces of broccoli in a baking dish - 8x8 square or equivalent, this is the little oval roasting pan that I have in my shop! I use it alllllll the time. This is also a fabulous place in your life for bagged broccoli florets if you don't feel like chopping up your broccoli. One bag or two medium heads of broccoli is what we're going for here.
Put half the broccoli in the baking dish, then half the cheese, then repeat with the rest of the broccoli and the cheese, just to spread the cheese into the broccoli nicely.
Then, stir together the cream, salt, and mustard. Pour that evenly over the broccoli.
To bake, preheat the oven at 425F and bake the dish for 30-40 minutes until the broccoli is just tender and the edges brown a bit.
Make This In Advance
This is so simple, for a weeknight dinner I'd get the broccoli started and then make rice and chicken or similar to go with it.
If you're making this as a Thanksgiving side dish, you could make the entire dish in advance and keep it in the fridge for a few days, then reheat it uncovered. The cheese won't have the same ooey gooey meltiness, but it will still be delicious.
To prep this dish, measure/mix the cream ingredients, grate the cheese, and chop the broccoli, then store the components separately. Assemble and bake right before you'd like to eat!
Now, for sure I'm touting this baked broccoli recipe as a Thanksgiving side dish, but I've made this several times now for dinner and served it just with rice, and a cheesy broccoli rice bowl is certainly not the worst thing to happen to me for a quick weeknight vegetarian dinner.
Cheesy baked broccoli! Try it soon, make it often, broccoli and cheese are besties and we should celebrate their love.
Gluten Free Baked Broccoli and Cheese
- 2 medium heads broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces (or 1 pound broccoli florets)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon mustard deli, dijon, brown, etc
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or just...whatever cheese you like
- Preheat the oven to 425F and prepare a small baking dish, 8x8 or equivalent, with cooking spray.
- Scatter handfuls of the broccoli and grated cheese into the baking dish, ending with the cheese.
- Mix together the cream, salt, and mustard in a small dish. Pour evenly over the broccoli and cheese.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until the broccoli is tender and the edges are just beginning to brown. Enjoy!