Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole

Get a head start on healthy meal planning for the holidays

It’s never too early to plan your holiday meals. Extra planning time means you can start looking now for healthier alternatives to your traditional holiday recipes.

This broccoli cheddar brown rice casserole is packed with protein, vitamin C and calcium thanks to the broccoli, flaxseed, brown rice and real cheddar cheese.

The secret to its great flavor is smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is a great substitute for processed meat like bacon. It serves up a delicious smoky taste without the health hazards.

This recipe also calls for sliced instead of shredded cheese and avoids refined grains like flour. Anti-caking agents found in shredded cheese products can cause stomach irritation, and refined grains can cause blood sugar spikes.

Broccoli Cheddar Brown Rice Casserole

Makes 12 servings

  • 1 cup uncooked (3 cups cooked) brown rice, cooked in low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth or water according to package directions
  • 2 heads of fresh broccoli, crowns diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milled flaxseed
  • 2 cups reduced-fat milk
  • 7 slices cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 Triscuit crackers, cracked pepper flavor, crumbled


Cook the rice according to package directions.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Place broccoli in the basket, cover and steam for 5 minutes or until tender. Place broccoli aside and remove leftover water from the sauce pan.

Return the saucepan to the stove on medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add in garlic and onion. Cook until onion is tender and translucent. Add the flaxseed. Whisk in the milk. Heat until milk is simmering. Whisk in four cheddar cheese slices, parmesan cheese, mustard, paprika and pepper.

Mix rice, broccoli and cheese sauce in a large bowl. Place mixture into a greased square baking pan.

Top with three cheddar cheese slices and the crumbled crackers. Spray the top of the casserole with pan spray and bake for 25 minutes. At the end, broil for 2 to 3 minutes until top is browned.

Serve warm.


191 calories | 10 grams fat | 5.6 grams saturated fat | 498 mg sodium | 11.9 grams carbohydrates | 1.7 grams fiber | 13.2 gram protein

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