Broccoli Cheese Bake with bechamel sauce, a comforting vegetarian side dish that goes well with any roast or meat substitute. It's creamy, cheesy, and rich, and makes a great alternative to the good old cauliflower cheese.
If you like the classic cauliflower cheese, and you are a big broccoli fan, this broccoli cheese is the dish for you. It's very easy to make, and the prep is minimal. It's a delicious side dish for any celebration, be it the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or any other occasion.
What really makes it stand out is its simplicity. We only need a larger broccoli head, and bechamel sauce that can be prepared at home with a few simple ingredients - and that's it, no fuss, no hidden ingredients.
If you have kids who like broccoli - mine absolutely love it! - , then they will love experimenting with new textures and flavours, and this bake is a great way of introducing them to different ways of cooking it, instead of the same plain boiled broccoli.
The dish is relatively quick to make - you can have it on the table in 30 minutes or so, which means it can be cooked from scratch just before dinner, or frozen to be baked at a later time.
HOW TO MAKE BROCCOLI CHEESE
I prefer using fresh broccoli for this recipe, I find that the frozen broccoli, once thawed, it's too soft and watery, and it tend to become mushy in the oven.
PREPARING THE BROCCOLI
- cut the broccoli head into florets, and add them to a pan of salted water
- boil for 3-4 minutes until the broccoli is tender, but it still holds its shape well
- drain the water well, and add the broccoli florets to an ovenproof dish
the bechamel sauce / broccoli cheese sauce
- melt the butter over a medium heat
- add the flour, and whisk well to get a smooth paste
- pour in the milk, and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens
- add the grated parmesan and cheddar cheese, ground pepper and dijon mustard and mix well
- pour the sauce over the broccoli and bake at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling
TIPS AND TRICKS
This side is sheer pleasure the way it is, and I quite enjoyed it without any meat added. But it can, of course, be tweaked to your own liking, and you can add bacon, ham, sausages, any leftover meat or meat alternatives to it to make it into a hearty casserole rather than a side dish.
Make sure any meat added is already cooked, as it won't have time to cook in the oven and it can lead to food poisoning, or just some rather grease bake.
You can also go for a combo broccoli and cauliflower, for a fantastic broccoli cauliflower cheese bake, the cooking process is exactly the same, you just add some cauliflower florets in the mix. Quick, easy peasy, and so delicious!
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Broccoli Cheese Bake
- 1 large broccoli head
- 25 g butter
- 1 cup full-fat milk
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Break the broccoli head into florets.
- Add the florets to a pan of salted water and boil for 3-4 minutes until the broccoli is tender, but it still holds its shape well.
- Drain the water well, and transfer the broccoli to an ovenproof dish.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a frying pan, add the flour, and whisk well to get a smooth paste.
- Pour in the milk, and continue to mix until the sauce thickens.
- Add the grated cheeses, dijon mustard and black pepper, and mix well.
- Pour the sauce over the broccoli and bake in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling hot.