I am not vegan, but I have to say that I love vegan food. I stopped eating cheese a million years ago when i realized how much better I felt without it, but it wasn’t until recent years — when I learned how to make foods taste cheesy and creamy without real cheese and cream — that I became a lover of all things vegan. I’m not a huge fan of meat substitutes, but give me a vegan creamy, cheesy casserole or some non-dairy ice cream and I’m in foodie heaven.
This creamy broccoli and mushroom casserole makes me happy. It’s comforting and warming and smooth and creamy and it’s just plain delicious.
I make it whenever I’m looking for a simple healthy side dish, especially in the cold winter months.
And, in my house, I’m embarrassed to say that even though everyone loves it, but I can’t call it vegan. They scarf it down but for some reason my unenlightened crew thinks they don’t like vegan food…
I love to serve this recipe with my favorite simple roast chicken or with this easy Slow Cooker Whole Chicken.
Here’s some great reasons to make this recipe:
Broccoli has a lot of potassium and is great for brain function; it also has magnesium and calcium to help regulate blood pressure. It’s also good to clear your body of excess heat and it actually can help your vision too.
I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. However, I was taught to stay away from the plain white button shrooms that are so readily available. Recently, however, I learned that I was doing myself a disservice by avoiding these mushrooms. It turns out, if you make sure they are organic, there are lots of benefits in button mushrooms! They are detoxifying, can help get rid of phlegm, ease diarrhea, are good for circulation, and new research has shown that if you eat them often enough, they can reduce cancer cells in the body.
Shiitakes are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process. I also added portabella mushrooms here. They too are good for you, and they taste great!
Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Several times lately I have recommended that patients with bronchitis or severe colds put sliced raw onions in their socks before bedtime. The onion actually draws the toxins out of the body and in the morning many people feel much better. Onion is a superhero in the food world!
Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.
In Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes.
- Florets from 2 heads of broccoli
- 1 Tbs plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- sea salt
- 4 oz sliced shiitake mushroom caps
- 10 oz sliced white button mushrooms
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (use all of the solid cream on the top and ¼ cup of the liquid
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Convection setting or 400 degrees regular bake setting.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the broccoli to the water for 1 minute. Drain.
- Heat 1 Tbs of the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute them, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they begin to caramelize, about 25 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the blanched broccoli, all of the mushrooms, the caramelized onion, hemp seeds, and hot red pepper flakes.
- Grease a large baking dish with about 2-tsp olive oil.
- Pour the broccoli mixture into the baking dish.
- Stir the coconut cream together with ¼ cup of the coconut liquid and pour this mixture evenly over the broccoli mixture.
- Bake about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.