This creamy Vegan Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole is hearty, comforting, and super filling. This vegan rice casserole is chock full of perfectly seasoned mushrooms, vegan ‘chicken’, and bright green broccoli florets. It’s beyond creamy thanks to the black pepper dairy-free cream sauce that coats and flavors all the rice and it’s all topped off with ‘buttery’, crunchy crackers.
I feel like casseroles with rice are extremely nostalgic for many people. And it’s easy to see why! They’re warm, comforting, easy to make, and can feed a lot of people! This Creamy Vegan Chicken and Rice Casserole is reminiscent of a casserole I grew up eating. Today, I’ll show you how to make this hearty, delicious, and filling vegan casserole.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- hearty and comforting: this recipe is full of veggies (fresh broccoli and mushrooms) and protein to fill you up and keep you warm
- super creamy texture: this recipe uses a dairy-free béchamel to create the best sauce for the rice
- customizable: don’t like broccoli? Leave it out! This recipe can be customized to your liking
- enough food for the whole family: casseroles make lots of food and they keep well in the fridge for leftovers the next day
the vegan chicken and rice casserole ingredients
To make this easy vegan chicken and mushroom rice casserole, you only need about 11 ingredients! You’ll want to gather the following before you begin cooking:
- Cooked Rice, or use leftover rice
- Plant Milk, like unsweetened almond milk
- Vegan Butter
- Vegan Chicken Strips, like Gardein or Morningstar
- Veggie Boullion or vegetable broth
- Broccoli, optional
the best vegan ‘chicken’
In this recipe, I’m also using Gardein Vegan Chicken Nuggets that are unbreaded which I dice into smaller pieces. But you can use any vegan chicken that you’d like.
Substitutions & Add Ins
- Brown Rice: I used white rice but you can use brown rice or wild rice instead
- Olive Oil: use olive oil instead of vegan butter if you’d like
- Vegan Cheese: add in nutritional yeast or store-bought vegan cheese to create a cheesy broccoli rice casserole
- White Beans: sub in white beans for the vegan chicken for a whole foods plant-based option
- Garlic Powder: add dried seasoning instead of the fresh garlic
- Cremini Mushrooms: feel free to sub in your favorite type of mushroom in this recipe
- Vegan Sausage: add in some veggie ground or sausage instead of the vegan chicken
how to make a super creamy dairy free casserole
This easy casserole uses rice, mushrooms, vegan chickens, broccoli (if you’d like), and a creamy black pepper béchamel sauce. A béchamel sauce is typically made by whisking together a roux and milk.
Luckily, it’s very easy to make vegan and adds an amazing amount of creaminess to the casserole without adding any unwanted flavors like coconut.
- Rice Cooker: to prep the white or brown rice ahead of time or while the sauce is cooking
- Baking Dish: to bake the vegan casserole with rice
- Large Pot: to make the cream sauce
Video Tutorial is Above the Recipe Card
vegan black pepper béchamel cream sauce
STEP 1: Melt the vegan butter in a large pot over low heat. Then, sprinkle in the all purpose flour, whisking at the same time to prevent any clumps from forming.
STEP 2: Next, add 2 cups of the plant-based milk and heat on low to medium heat (do not let it boil) for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Add in the salt, pepper, and non-chick’n bouillon cube. Then, once slightly thickened, pour in the remaining 1 1/2 cup of plant milk and whisk on low for another 5 minutes until the cream sauce is thicker.
STEP 3: In a large pan, saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent. This should take about 5 minutes.
STEP 4: Add the sliced mushrooms, vegan chicken, and broccoli florets. Cook for 10 minutes.
STEP 5: Then, add the mushrooms, onion, and chicken mixture into the pot with the cream sauce. Add in the cooked white rice or brown rice. Stir until the mixture is well combined and the sauce is covering all the rice.
STEP 6: Transfer the mixture to a 9×13” baking dish. Crumble crackers and vegan parmesan cheese for a cheesy flavor on top of the casserole.
TIP: The mixture may look a bit wet prior to baking it, but that’s totally okay! The extra creaminess is so when you bake the casserole to brown the top, it doesn’t dry out inside.
STEP 8: Bake for 23-25 minutes at 400F. The crackers should be golden brown on top.
Feel free to top the casserole prior to baking with crumbled crackers or breadcrumbs.
This adds some nice texture to contrast the creaminess of the casserole!
This Creamy Vegan Chicken and Rice Casserole makes about 6 large servings, perfect for a crowd or a large family. I love this casserole as a main dish, but it would also make the perfect side dish during the holidays.
It’s also great to make at the beginning of the week as part of meal prep!
You can store this casserole covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 or 6 days.
- Use an Unsweetened Dairy Free Milk: for the best flavor use a plain, unsweetened milk
- Top with Salty Crackers and Vegan Cheese: this adds lots of crunch and a great texture that complements the creamy rice
- Bake the Casserole Until Golden Brown: make sure to bake the casserole until it’s crispy on top
vegan rice casserole faq
For this recipe, I like to use Gardein’s unbreaded “chicken strips”, like the ones that come in their Teriyaki Chik’n. If using this product, you can place the sauce packet that comes with it back in the freezer for other future recipes.
If you can’t find unbreaded vegan chicken, you could also use diced-up Gardein vegan chicken nuggets or Morningstar vegan chicken nuggets.
A non-dairy milk that is unsweetened and neutral in flavor works best in this veggie rice casserole. I prefer plain unsweetened almond milk. You could also use plain unsweetened soy milk. I don’t recommend using coconut milk or other kinds of dairy-free milk with strong flavors.
Casseroles are great for adding in pretty much any ingredients you love. This is a mushroom rice casserole with diced vegan chickens and a little bit of broccoli as well. You could add vegan cheddar cheese if you’d like. Or you could omit the mushrooms. The possibilities are endless so feel free to exchange the same or similar quantities of one ingredient for another.
Looking for more hearty vegan recipes?
Did you make this vegan broccoli rice casserole recipe?
I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
Vegan Black Pepper Bechamel Sauce
- 6 tbsp vegan butter
- 6 tbsp flour
- 3 1/2 cups plant-based milk, I’m using unsweetened almond
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 non-chickn bouillon cube
- 10 oz baby cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1-2 cups broccoli, chopped (optional)
- 10 oz vegan chick’n, I’m using Morning Star Nuggets, thawed chopped into 1-inch slices
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups cooked white rice
- Crumbled crackers for topping, optional
- 1/4 cup grated vegan parmesan, like Violife
- Chopped parsley for topping, optional
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a large pot, melt the vegan butter. Sprinkle in the flour, whisking at the same time to prevent any clumps from forming.
- Add 2 cups of the plant-based milk and heat on low (do not let it boil) for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Add in the salt, pepper, and non-chick’n bouillon cube. The mixture should begin to thicken.
- Next, add the remaining 1 1/2 cup of plant milk and whisk on low for another 5 minutes until slightly thicker.
- In a large saute pan, add a teaspoon of vegan butter or oil, and saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, vegan chicken, and broccoli, if using, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender.
- Add the sauteed vegetable mixture into the pot with the cream sauce. Stir in the cooked rice.
- Stir until the mixture is well combined and the sauce is covering all the rice.
- Transfer the mixture to a 9x13” casserole dish. Crumble crackers on the top. Sprinkle on the grated vegan parmesan (optional).
- Bake for 23-25 minutes at 400F. The crackers should be golden brown on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 186mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
DISCLAIMER: Links included in this post might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my blog so I can continue to provide you with free content each week!