This cheesy broccoli casserole is a cozy comfort food with a healthy spin! It features whole grain millet and roasted broccoli.

Broccoli Casserole

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!

Cheddar & Roasted Broccoli Casserole

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!

Cheddar & Roasted Broccoli Casserole | What is millet?

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?

Cheddar & Roasted Broccoli Casserole | What is millet?

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.

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Cheesy Roasted Broccoli Casserole


  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x

Description

This cheddar & roasted broccoli casserole is a cozy comfort food with a healthy spin, featuring whole grain millet and roasted broccoli.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. 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.
  3. Prepare the millet using Master Recipe: Millet (takes about 20 minutes).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes until warm.

Notes

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:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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41 Comments

  1. I love a big bowl of cheesy comfort and this looks like it would totally hit the spot. Also super impressed with the wine glass trick, it adds such a dimension of life to the photo. Definitely one to remember!

  2. Totally making this. I absolutely love the simplicity and comfort that is wrapped up in this casserole dish. I think I may add chickpeas and eat it all week long. Chris is going to love this, too! Cannot wait!

  3. This recipe sounds fantastic – I recently started putting millet in chilled salads, but I haven’t done anything warm and comforting like this yet. It’s got such a great, nutty flavor – can’t wait to try this!

  4. This was SO FANTASTIC. The thickness of the millet was just perfect. Chris and I both loved it. I roasted the brocc at 400* and added some chopped kale in the last 8 minutes of roasting [just enough to wilt it]. I also used unsweetened almond milk which worked perfectly. I meant to add chickpeas into the mixture but forgot. Not that it needs them but I thought it would be a tasty addition. This is going to be on rotation all of the time!

  5. This looks SO good! I totally want to make this. Plus, it looks really easy.
    I love casseroles, but I can’t even remember when it was the last time I had one. They are usually way too calorie dense, especially if they are pasta bakes. I absolutely wanna try this with a mix of ricotta and Parmesan – I hate Cheddar!

    Millet is such an underestimated food. When I say I like it, everybody teases me saying ‘Ah! you not only eat food for hens (bran and oats) but food for birds too!’ Meh. Texture-wise, it’s a great gluten-free alternative to fine couscous.

    My favorite comfort food has got to be Minestrone. I heard yesterday on the radio that it’s the most hated food amongst Italians. This means that people are either out of their mind, or have no idea how to properly make it (or both).

    Thanks for this recipe!

  6. I love millet! I’ve been using it to make porridge for a while now – I love the texture and creaminess and it makes a nice change from oats – but I’ve yet to try it in a savoury dish. Will have to give this a go, it sounds divine!

  7. I saw this on your blog one morning and made it as a side for dinner that night. I had never cooked millet before and found that what I had took more liquid and more cooking time than your recipe (which I saw later in the comments that other people experienced as well). My husband and I both really liked the casserole, but since we started with slightly undercooked millet, it ended up a little dry. Regardless, we will be adding this recipe to our rotation as a healthier comfort food.

  8. I made this last night and absolutely loved it! The only changes were that I sautéed shallots with the garlic, and I also roasted brussels sprouts because I did not have enough broccoli. My fiancé is not a huge fan of pure veggie dishes, and never had millet before. But, he loved it. I can’t wait to make it again!

  9. Just looked in my cupboards wondering what to make for dinner and saw millet.. I knew I had broccoli and cheese in my fridge and I thought of this immediately! WIN!

  10. I have made this a couple times now with GREAT success! It’s such a good building platform for a bake. I’ve swapped the millet for quinoa, the broccoli for butternut squash, the cheddar for yogurt cheese and a bit of parmesan, added roasted tomatoes and garlic and onions. It works out great EVERY time. Thank you for this fab recipe and the inspiration!!

  11. This recipe is awesome and always a hit! My husband and I have made it several times this summer and the only change we’ve made is swapping the veggies for whatever is in season here in Louisiana (which isn’t usually broccoli — green beens have worked great!).

  12. Made this recipe as written. It was wonderful and all three of my teenagers liked it!!! That’s a huge deal as usually atleast one of them will not like a new dish. Thank you!!!

  13. Making this tomorrow but adding some diced chicken (so my boyfriend will eat it). I may add the chickpeas like Ashley suggested! I will let you know how it turns out! :)

  14. This was absolutely delicious. Miller reminds me of grits…this is the healthy version of cheese grits for my Southern husband. Thanks!

    1. Hi there! We love it with cheddar since it has such a robust flavor, but you could certainly try a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan!

  15. I’m thinking of making this using bulgur wheat instead of millet (which is what I have in my pantry), do you think that this would taste similarly?

    1. Good idea! I think it would still taste great — the bulgur wouldn’t be too overwhelmingly different than millet. Let us know what you think!

    1. Good question! I think you could make all the components separately and then put them together and bake the day of! Let us know how it goes.

        1. I think that you could definitely assemble the day before! Just keep all components separate in the refrigerator! When you go to assemble, make sure to heat back up the creamy sauce (or you could make that right before assembling on the day of). Let us know how it goes!

          1. I ran out of time on Tuesday to make it ahead. So I cooked the millet and broccoli around 3:00 Wednesday and then made the cheese sauce about an hour before I wanted to put the casserole in the oven. I baked it an extra 5 minutes.

  16. This was amazing!! My partner and I couldn’t stop eating it! I made it as written, with rice milk instead of real milk and with some sliced cheddar that I shredded in the food processor and it turned out great!

  17. Thank you for this updated broccoli casserole recipe! Can you believe that my mother’s very old recipe used to call for canned, cream of mushroom soup? I made this for my parents! They were skeptical of the millet, but my dad and I definitely enjoyed it (my mom is an extremely picky eater). It wasn’t soggy, I loved the thyme and garlic flavor in the sauce, Roasted extra broccoli, added cayenne, and used home made cashew milk in place of regular milk. I also used 1 cup of sharp cheddar. OH! the thyme and garlic flavor reminded me of a spelt flour crust my mom made for a mushroom, spinach, artichoke, and goat cheese quiche. It has all of the garlic and thyme and is SO savory.

    1. You are so welcome! Yes, we’ve both had that old version with cream of mushroom soup — ha! So glad that your dad enjoyed the millet. And that spelt flour crust quiche sounds incredible! Thanks for making it.

  18. Made this for my cooking juggling act of gestational diabetes, my picky 2-year old, and my carnivorous husband and we all loved it! Will make again, possibly adding onions in the butter next time.

  19. This recipe is amazing, best use of millet ever! I did make a roux instead of just the butter/milk/cheese, which made a deliciously thick, creamy sauce with only a few more calories. Kid- and husband-approved, plus make-ahead…it’s a weeknight dream!

  20. We are making the recipe now and are confused about the mixing of the cheddar cheese for the sauce and then the adding the shredded cheddar for the topping, etc. Nothing in the recipe discussing what quantities of cheese for sauce AND for the latter part of the recipe. So we are winging it.

    1. We’ve updated the recipe to clarify the cheese quantities– thanks for letting us know! Hope that you enjoyed it regardless.

  21. Ohmigosh this was delicious! It was the first time I’d cooked millet so used your recipe for that then popped back over here for this recipe. Next time I think I will try adding sauteed fresh mushroom or onions and squash or…well, it would work well with so many things. Thank you

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