Sunday, December 09, 2012

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce
A layered casserole with curried brown rice, broccoli, a creamy curry sauce, and just enough low-fat cheese!

Now that I have officially been given the title of Casserole Queen, it seemed fun to challenge myself with creating more meatless casseroles.  This Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce is an idea that just popped into my head one day, although it's definitely a riff on the Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce that I made nearly two years ago.  Once I had the idea in mind, it actually took Jake and I three tries to get this one just right (although we happily gobbled up the first  two tries as well.) 

If you're looking for a new dinner idea for Meatless Monday, I think most family members will like this one, as long as they like broccoli.  I kept the curry flavor mild with the idea that kids could enjoy this, but if you like spicy curries you can increase the heat, or even use all hot curry powder.  I did use light sour cream, partly light mayo, and low-fat cheese to keep this relatively low in fat, although for South Beach Dieters this should maybe be a "once-in-a-while treat."  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web or visit my Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)

We increased the amount of broccoli each time we tested the recipe, and the final version calls for 8 cups of small broccoli flowerets.  (Love this huge glass measuring cup I got from my late stepmother, Norma.)

Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for exactly two minutes, and then drain it into a colander placed in the sink.

While the broccoli cooks, saute the onion in a little olive oil until it starts to brown; then add the sweet and hot curry powder and cook 2-3 minutes more.

Mix in the cooked brown rice and stir to get the curry flavor distributed and cook long enough to heat the rice.

Whisk together the light sour cream, light mayo, mayo, lemon juice, and sweet curry powder.

In an 8" x 8" casserole dish with high sides, start with a layer of half the rice.

Then put half the blanched broccoli.

Spread over half the curry sauce.

Top with half the cheese.

Then make another layer of each of rice, broccoli, sauce, and cheese.

Bake at 375F/190C for about 30 minutes, or until casserole is slightly bubbling and lightly browned on top.

Vegetarian Curried Brown Rice and Broccoli Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Better-than-Mom's Chicken, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole with Creamy Curry Sauce.)

4 cups cooked brown rice (I use Uncle Ben's Brown Rice)
8 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small flowerets (about 20 oz. broccoli)
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 tsp. olive
1 tsp. sweet curry powder (any curry powder that's not labeled hot will probably work for this)
1/2 tsp hot curry powder (sometimes called Madras curry powder; you can skip this if cooking for kids or increase for a spicier dish)
1/2 tsp. sea salt salt
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional, but good)
1 1/2 cups grated low-fat mozzarella

Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup light mayo
(or use all regular or all light mayo)
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used my frozen lemon juice)
1 1/2 tsp. sweet curry powder

Cook brown rice according to package directions or using a rice cooker to get 4 cups cooked brown rice. 

When rice is nearly done, cut broccoli into small flowerets to get 8 cups broccoli.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add about 1 tsp. salt, and cook the broccoli exactly 2 minutes.  Drain broccoli into a colander placed in the sink.  Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, add the onion, and saute over medium-high heat until onion is starting to brown, about 5 minutes.   Add the sweet and hot curry powder and cook 1-2 minutes more.  Add the cooked rice and stir to coat with the oil and curry powder, then cook a couple of minutes to to heat the rice (if needed.)

Spray an 8" x 8" glass casserole dish with non-stick spray.  (I used my new favorite casserole dish; if you don't have a dish that's this deep, use a slightly larger one.)  Make layers with half the rice mixture, half the broccoli, half the curry sauce, and half the cheese, spreading out to make an even layer with each ingredient.  Make a second layer each of rice mixture, broccoli, curry sauce, and cheese.

Bake the casserole about 30 minutes, or until casserole is starting to bubble and the cheese is lightly browned on top.  Serve hot. I am guessing this freezes well, although I haven't tried freezing it yet.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Using brown rice, a generous amount of broccoli, and reduced fat sour cream, mayo, and cheese help make this recipe suitable for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  However, sour cream is a pretty limited food for South Beach, so if you're actively trying to lose weight for Phase 2, you might consider this to be a "once in a while-treat."

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Meatless Ideas with Brown Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Baked Chickpea and Brown Rice Patties from Lisa's Kitchen
Spinach and Feta Casserole with Brown Rice and Parmesan from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vegan Red Curry Tofu and Kale with Brown Rice from The Perfect Pantry
Greek Inspired Leftover Brown Rice Casserole with Red Pepper, Onions, and Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Scallion Curd Rice from Herbivoracious
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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  1. Casserole queen indeed. I love that, Kalyn! What a hearty, unique dish for Meatless Monday.

  2. Thanks Dara. It is so good, just ate some for dinner tonight!

  3. I love that you've infused curry into this casserole! Such a great twist.

  4. Yum! What a great casserole-- can't wait to try it!

  5. Joanne and Elizabeth, thanks. As I said, Jake and I loved it!

  6. I was wondering about freezing it, or maybe making the individual components a day or two ahead and assembling the casserole right before you want to serve. Love the idea of the curry sauce!

  7. Lydia, mine is disappearing quickly so I'd have to make it again if I wanted to test freezing!

  8. I have to tell you - you just brought back a pregnancy craving I'd thought I forgot about. I loooove broccoli rice casserole and ate so much of it when I was pregnant with Leah. This recipe looks so good!

  9. Kristen, that's fun and I *remember* when you were pregnant with her!

  10. Can you share the brand of sweet curry powder which you used for this recipe? Thanks!

  11. Jrzymom, I used Penzeys sweet curry powder. It's pretty mild but flavorful. You can order from

  12. It looks hearty, comforting, and so delicious.

  13. You are so good at putting new twists on the traditional casserole! This would make a great meal to bring a vegetarian new mom. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Thanks Maureen. I think there are more vegetarians these days, so this would always be good for that.

  15. This looks delicious. I seem to be eating less and less meat these days so I'll check back for more recipes.

  16. I brought this to a family gathering today, and it was very well-received. Most had seconds, and there was (sadly) very little leftover to bring home. I did substitute fat-free Greek yogurt for the sour cream, as I do in all my recipes now. I like the tartness that the yogurt adds. Next time I'll find a hotter curry powder, as mine wasn't hot enough for my taste, although it was probably perfect for a group. Love the recipe, and will definitely make it again! Thanks Kalyn!!

  17. I love hearing that fat-free Greek yogurt worked well in this. I had some comments on the Chicken Broccoli Casserole that it was watery when they subbed that, so I was hesitant to try it on this one.

  18. This was so delicious!!! Funny, you are right about the leftovers - there are none!

    I used half sour cream and half greek yogurt (just bc I ran out of sour cream), also used a vegan mayonaise. Next time I might just use all yogurt.
    No idea how you fit it in an 8x8 pan, I used a 7x11 and it was filled to the top!

    I didn't make for any kids but I'm sure this would be a sure kid-pleaser.

    Thank you for this yummy recipe


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