Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

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Not much can compare to the comfort of a great casserole and one of the more popular versions is the broccoli and cheese version. But put away the can of cream of mushroom soup, this ain’t your neighbor’s broccoli casserole. Sweet Daddy D’s no-angst version of Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole is another thing all together.

Broccoli and cheese casserole with mushrooms
Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

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Here’s What You Need

Starting off with fresh broccoli florets, this healthy and nutritious veggie is the centerpiece of this casserole, lightly steamed so not to lose its texture or nutritional value.  Adding to the flavor is the earthiness of some fresh baby Bella mushrooms-these have a more intense flavor than its relative, the white button mushroom. The baby Bella is a crimini mushroom, which is a smaller version of the large flat portobello, and are dense and will stand up to the richness of the sauce and the bold flavors of the broccoli. If you have to substitute portobellos or white mushrooms, go right ahead. I said to put away the cream of mushroom soup, but what will we use for the creaminess? A basic bechamel sauce. One of the Mother Sauces, this creamy sauce will combine with the mushrooms and cheese and create a rich, gooey casserole.  Did I say cheese? I meant cheeses…plural. We are going to use the familiar flavor of sharp cheddar cheese and the comforting firm and dense flavor of Gruyere  to add a creamy cheesiness to the sauce. Add in the sharp edginess of Romano cheese on top of the others to cap the casserole.  Don’t forget the butter and some kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper along the way.

Broccoli Florets
Broccoli florets

Here’s What You Do

First…you have a beer. Get in the right frame of mind, read the recipe from top to bottom and make sure you have all the hardware and software. Proper preparation, or mise en place, will eliminate the angst, and a few swallows of beer won’t hurt either.

Mise en place

To prepare the broccoli, snip off  the tender florets with a sharp utility knife. Eliminate most of the thicker stems and try to keep just a bit of the small stems right at the florets. The bechamel sauce will need some butter, flour and whole milk, so measure those out and set them aside. I like to use fresh mushrooms; gently wash them with a soft towel then slice them up. You can chop them if you prefer. Grate the cheeses. To me, it’s always better to grate your cheese as opposed to buying it already grated, which can have the tendency to dry out a bit. A coarse grate is fine. Measure out a couple of tablespoons of grated Romano cheese, or a little more if you’re a fan, and a few tablespoons of butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Now you’re ready to go.

Ingredients for Broccoli Casserole
Here’s what you need-all ready to go.
Parboil or steam the broccoli

You want to get these on their way to cooking, but you don’t want to end up with mushy broccoli. Just steam them or parboil them for three or four minutes, once the water is boiling, then remove them from the heat directly into an ice bath. This will stop the cooking and they will end up with an amazing bright green color. Let them soak in the ice bath for about 10 minutes then drain them so they are ready when you need them. Once drained, place them in an oven-safe casserole dish which has been coated with butter.

Broccoli Florets in an ice bath
Steam the broccoli, then into an ice bath
Saute the mushrooms

Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium high heat until it’s bubbly. Add the mushrooms and saute them until they are starting to brown which should take about 5 to 8 minutes.

Sauteed Mushrooms
Saute the mushrooms in butter

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Make the bechamel

Here’s the link to the full detailed instructions and  recipe, but it’s simple.  You’ll make a white roux using 4 tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of all-purpose flour in a saucepan. Melt the butter, add the flour and whisk it constantly for two or three minutes until it’s smooth but not browned.  Remove the pan from the heat and start adding the warmed milk a little at a time, completely blending everything together before you add a little more milk. Do this until all the milk has been added. A pinch of salt and a little white pepper, then turn the heat to medium-high and continue whisking until it comes to a simmer. Let it simmer while you slowly whisk for two or three minutes, until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Then it’s ready.

Bechamel Sauce
Bechamel Sauce-Mother Sauce
Add the mushrooms  and cheeses to the bechamel

Remove the bechamel from the heat and completely mix in the mushrooms. Add the grated cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Stir constantly until all the cheese has melted. Give the sauce a taste and add kosher salt and white pepper if needed.  Bechamel Sauce with Mushrooms and Cheese

Add the cheese sauce to the broccoli

Pour the cream sauce over the broccoli right in the casserole dish and mix together completely, making sure to get the sauce all over and through the broccoli. Sprinkle about a cup or more of grated cheddar and Gruyere cheese evenly on top, then some grated Romano on top of that. 

Mornay Sauce made from bechamel and other flavors
Add the cheesy sauce to the broccoli florets

Broccoli Casserole Prior to Baking

Bake for 30 minutes

Place the casserole, uncovered, into the 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is starting to brown and the edges are bubbling.  If it starts to brown to fast, cover with some aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and it let it sit for about 10 or 15 minutes. 

Baked Broccoli Casserole
Baked Broccoli Casserole

That’s it, all there is to it.   

Hints and Tips

  • To learn how to make a bechamel sauce, read my post How to Make Bechamel Sauce. Basically, it’s a white roux made from 4 tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of flour. Whisk that over medium heat for two or three minutes, then remove from heat and slowly add warm whole milk, whisking in a little at a time until it is all incorporated and creamy. Then simmer over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to go. Learning how to make this sauce will not only help with this recipe, it will be useful in many others. 
  • You want about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of broccoli florets, so buying two pounds should give you that when you cut off the stems.
  • Frozen broccoli florets can be substituted for fresh.  Thaw the broccoli before using, but no need to cook further.
  • A jar or two of sliced mushrooms can be substituted for the fresh mushrooms. I recommend still sauteing them, as that process brings a flavor richness which adds a nice dimension.
  • It’s always best to grate your own cheese, but if you’re in a crunch for time, just pick up some grated cheese.
  • This casserole can be frozen after cooking if wrapped tightly and placed in a freezer-proof container. It’s best to start out in a casserole dish that is oven safe as well as freezer safe, that way you don’t have to worry about transferring. After baking, let the casserole cool completely-probably about an hour. Once cooled, wrap very tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap that with aluminum foil.  When you’re ready to serve it, let the casserole thaw out in the refrigerator overnight, then bake at 350 degrees according to the recipe instructions. Check it after 20 minutes, but cook it until bubbling around the sides. If it’s starting to brown too much, just put some aluminum foil over it until it’s finished baking.

This Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole is a great side dish, try it with these:

Baked Ham

Meatloaf

 

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Yeah You Right!

 

Broccoli and cheese casserole with mushrooms
Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Not your neighbor's broccoli casserole. Fresh broccoli mixed with sauteed mushrooms and gruyere and cheddar cheeses melted into a creamy bechamel sauce. Put away the cream of mushroom soup...this will change the way you look at broccoli casseroles from now on!
Servings Prep Time
16 Servings 25 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
55 Minutes 221
Servings Prep Time
16 Servings 25 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
55 Minutes 221
Broccoli and cheese casserole with mushrooms
Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Not your neighbor's broccoli casserole. Fresh broccoli mixed with sauteed mushrooms and gruyere and cheddar cheeses melted into a creamy bechamel sauce. Put away the cream of mushroom soup...this will change the way you look at broccoli casseroles from now on!
Servings Prep Time
16 Servings 25 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
55 Minutes 221
Servings Prep Time
16 Servings 25 Minutes
Cook Time Calories per Serving
55 Minutes 221
This is What You Need
This is What You Do
  1. Steam or boil the broccoli florets for 3 minutes, place in an ice bath and set aside. Don't overcook the broccoli.
  2. After about 5 minutes, drain broccoli in a colander.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium high heat until bubbling.
  5. Place sliced mushrooms in the pan with a pinch of salt. Saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Make béchamel sauce according to the recipe.
  7. Add the sautéed mushrooms into the bechamel sauce and mix well.
  8. Maintaining a very low heat, add the grated gruyère and cheddar cheeses to the béchamel and stir until melted and mixed well.
  9. Place the drained broccoli in a prepared casserole dish and pour the béchamel and cheese over the broccoli. Stir completely to blend all the ingredients.
  10. Sprinkle some extra gruyere and cheddar cheese on top, then sprinkle some Romano cheese on top of that.
  11. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and browning on top.
Recipe Notes

See complete recipe for bechamel sauce here. Basically, a light roux made from 4 tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of flour. Whisk that over medium heat for two or three minutes, then remove from heat and slowly add warm whole milk, whisking in a little at a time until it is all incorporated and creamy. Then simmer over medium heat for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste and you are ready to go.

You want to net about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of broccoli florets, so buying two pounds should give you that when you cut off the stems.

Frozen broccoli florets can be substituted for fresh.  Thaw the broccoli before using, but no need to cook further.

A jar or two of sliced mushrooms can be substituted for the fresh mushrooms.

It's always best to grate your own cheese, but if you're in a crunch for time, just pick up some grated cheese.

The casserole can be frozen after cooking if wrapped tightly and placed in a freezer-proof container.

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 221 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 252mg 11%
Potassium 130mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 16%
Vitamin C 26%
Calcium 34%
Iron 2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.