This Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Skillet is a delicious, plant-based meal or side dish, reminiscent of the creamy cheddar broccoli rice casserole you might have had growing up! The cheese sauce is luxuriously creamy, made with sweet potato and cashews, and there’s a nut free version too! It’s healthy comfort food at its best!
I pretty much just want to swim in this skillet. I’m sooooo obsessed with this recipe you guys – it’s insane how cheesy and cozy it is, and it’s filled with all the health! I’ve made it so many times in the past month, I can’t even count.
The cheese sauce is SO good and I tested two versions of it! I love them both, but I think I’d have to say the cashew version wins for me. I tested a nut-free version with sunflower seeds just for fun, and it was delicious, but you could definitely taste the sunflower seeds. Not in a bad way at all, they’re just not as subtle as the cashews are!
But just look at this sauce! It’s insane.
It starts off with a little olive oil, onion, and sweet potato, and then gets simmered with cashews and water until every thing is softened and blend-able. After that, into the blender everything goes, with nutritional yeast for that “cheesy” flavor, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder (this really makes it taste like a cheese sauce too!), a touch of apple cider vinegar, and pepper! I could seriously just eat it with a spoon.
It’s so luxurious!
And the sweet potato is what makes it orange, obviously, but it adds creaminess and a slight sweetness that I think is sometimes missing from vegan cheese sauces. So good!
After we make the cheese sauce, everything comes together super quickly. This whole meal in fact, is SUPER quick. Less than a half hour if you know your way around the kitchen!
You just sauté a little garlic in olive oil, add your broccoli and sauté it for a few minutes until it’s bright green and beautiful, then throw in your cauliflower rice and cook it until heated through. Then add the cheese sauce, and that’s that!
It couldn’t be easier. Especially if you use a package of frozen cauliflower rice, which I do all the time! Sometimes I don’t feel like making cauliflower rice just because it can be messy. Buying it pre-riced is totally acceptable here!
You could totally add chicken to this too, or whatever protein you like to make it more of a complete meal. It still has some protein in it from the broccoli and cheese sauce, but sometimes I like to have a little protein with it too, depending on my mood.
This really reminds me of the broccoli cheddar rice packets my mom used to make in the 90s for my brother and I. They were the most delicious sodium-laden packets, and I’ll never forget that taste! I’m sure a lot of you can relate.
Who else remembers those?!
I’m not vegan but I really just LOVE the taste of nut-based vegan sauces. They’re so insanely creamy, and they don’t leave me feeling as weighed down as really cheesy rich sauces do sometimes. It’s just a fun way to experiment for me and have fun with different types of food. Like this queso too!
I can’t with the creaminess!!
Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Skillet
This Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Skillet is a delicious, plant-based meal or side dish, reminiscent of the creamy cheddar broccoli rice casserole you might have had growing up! The cheese sauce is luxuriously creamy, made with sweet potato and cashews, and there's a nut free version too! It's healthy comfort food at its best!
For the cheese sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2'' cubes
- 2 1/2 cups water, divided
- 3/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- pinch of pepper
For the broccoli and cauliflower rice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium broccoli crown, cut into small florets
- 1 (12 ounce) package cauliflower rice*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Begin by making the cheese sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sweet potato, 2 1/4 cups of the water, and cashews and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.
Let mixture cool for a minute, then transfer to a high-powered blender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until super smooth and creamy. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
For the broccoli and cauliflower rice, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (you can use the same skillet - just wipe it out!). Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the broccoli and sauté for 2-3 minutes until bright green and starting to become tender. Add the cauliflower rice, salt, and pepper, and sauté for another minute or two until heated through. Add desired amount of cheese sauce (you will likely have a little left over), and stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired and serve!
*I use a package of frozen cauliflower rice for this recipe, but you can certainly make your own, or buy riced cauliflower fresh from the produce section. Any cauli rice will work!
*For a nut free version, substitute the 3/4 cup cashews for 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds.