This cheesy broccoli casserole is a cozy comfort food with a healthy spin! It features whole grain millet and roasted broccoli.
We’re all about comfort food over here at A Couple Cooks, and this recipe is one of our coziest. It’s a cheesy, gooey broccoli casserole that has a secret healthy twist! Instead of canned mushroom soup and mushy brocolli, this casserole is all about fresh, whole foods! Imagine: charred roasted broccoli, sharp cheddar cheese, a creamy thyme-infused sauce, and a unique whole grain! Instead of rice or quinoa, this one features millet, a gluten-free whole grain that’s seriously tasty. Keep reading for the recipe!
What is millet?
So perhaps you’re wondering, what is millet? Millet is a heritage grain. It’s gluten-free just like the more popular grain, quinoa, and high in protein. However, millet is not quite as sexy as its trendy cousin. Get this: it’s also a component of birdseed! But humans can eat it too: and should, because it’s so tasty!
You can use millet in the same way that you would use other whole grains like rice or quinoa. Use it in a bowl meal, in soups and stews, or even as a taco filling. This NPR story about millet made us want to root for this underdog grain. According to the article, “The grain needs adventurous chefs and tastemakers to promote it to really take off.” We’ll consider that a challenge!
How to make broccoli casserole
Millet is actually quite tasty! It’s slightly larger and chewier than quinoa, with a slightly nutty taste. Here we’ve combined it with roasted broccoli and cheddar cheese to make this hearty, comforting brocolli casserole. It’s a healthy spin on the standard casserole, and a nice gluten-free option. In addition to this preparation, millet also makes for a easy side dish. See Master Recipe: Perfect Millet.
To make the roasted broccoli, coat it lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Then roast it in a very hot oven (450F) until lightly charred and tender. Roasted broccoli is a unique addition to broccoli casserole: the traditional version usually has limp or soggy brocolli.
To put to it all together, you’ll make a cheese sauce with the cheddar using milk, garlic, butter and dried thyme. The flavor that comes out of these ingredients will surprise you! The cheese sauce infuses the millet and roasted broccoli with savory goodness. Then throw it in the oven and bake until the cheese melts. Simple as that!
How about you — what are some of your favorite comfort foods?
What people are saying about this broccoli casserole
This broccoli casserole may have a healthy spin, but it’s totally crowd pleasing! Here are some testimonials that attest that it’s something the whole family will love:
- “Made this recipe as written. It was wonderful and all three of my teenagers liked it!!! That’s a huge deal as usually at least one of them will not like a new dish. Thank you!” -Sarah
- “Made this for my cooking juggling act of gestational diabetes, my picky 2-year old, and my carnivorous husband and we all loved it!” -Keri
- “This was amazing!! My partner and I couldn’t stop eating it!” -Hannah
This cheesy broccoli casserole recipe is…
Vegetarian and gluten free.Print
This cheddar & roasted broccoli casserole is a cozy comfort food with a healthy spin, featuring whole grain millet and roasted broccoli.
- 8 cups broccoli florets (4 small heads)
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 ½ cups millet
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets. In a bowl, combine the broccoli with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and some fresh ground pepper. Pour onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
- Prepare the millet using Master Recipe: Millet (takes about 20 minutes).
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium low heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add the milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and the dried thyme, and bring to a simmer. Stir in 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens slightly (turn up the heat slightly if the cheese does not melt at first, but be careful not to overheat it).
- When the broccoli, millet and sauce are finished, turn down the oven temperature to 400°F. Pour the millet into a large casserole dish (9″ x 13″ or 10″ x 12″) and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Add roasted broccoli and pour in the sauce. Stir thoroughly to combine all millet with sauce and cheese. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese over the top.
- Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes until warm.
In a pinch, you can use frozen broccoli florets instead of roasting fresh broccoli. Choose high-quality broccoli; then thaw it and add ½ teaspoon kosher salt, a few drizzles of olive oil, and fresh ground pepper prior to incorporating in the casserole.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Broccoli casserole, Roasted broccoli, What is millet, Millet Recipes, Vegetarian Dinner Ideas, Healthy Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free Recipes
Looking for more comfort food recipes?
Outside of this broccoli recipe, here are a few more comfort food recipes: