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Broccoli and Cheese Casserole (with orzo)

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This broccoli cheese casserole is made in a cast iron skillet and features our favorite noodle – orzo!

Cheesy broccoli casserole in skillet.

Favorite Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

Get ready for the broccoli casserole of your dreams because this broccoli and cheese casserole is truly that.

Made with toasted orzo, fresh broccoli, and a simple cheese sauce, this casserole is the perfect side or main meal for any night of the week. Plus, you only need 1 pan so the dishes are a breeze!

Why you’ll love it!

Made in a skillet

Vegetarian

Ready in 35 minutes

Seriously so easy!

toasting orzo in skillet.

Featured Ingredients

  • Orzo: instead of using rice or a classic noodle, we’re using orzo! We love how it tastes toasted and it pairs perfectly with broccoli and cheese.
  • Fresh broccoli: make sure to use fresh broccoli florets in this recipe instead of frozen.
  • Cheddar cheese: the cheese sauce features yellow cheddar cheese, but you can swap it for white cheddar or even a cheddar blend.
  • Milk and Broth: 2% milk and broth are needed to make the sauce.
  • Garlic: garlic adds so much fresh and simple flavor to this broccoli cheese casserole recipe.

great jones king sear.

Great Jones

Cast Iron Pan

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cheese on top of broccoli and orzo.

How to Make Broccoli and Cheese Casserole

  1. Cook onion: heat olive oil in a large skillet with sides. Add the onion and salt and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Toast orzo: add in uncooked orzo and toast until golden brown.
  3. Add liquid: add spices and liquid to the skillet and mix to combine. Bring to a gentle boil and let simmer covered for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add broccoli: add in the broccoli and toss and let the mixture simmer for 3-4 minutes or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Add cheese: add the cheese and mix until it melts and everything is combined.
  6. Serve: serve as a side or vegetarian main.

Latest Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

mixing broccoli and cheese with orzo in a cast iron skillet.

FAQ

Do you cook broccoli before putting in casserole?

There is no need to precook broccoli before cooking it in this broccoli cheese casserole recipe.

Can broccoli cheese casserole be frozen?

We don’t recommend freezing broccoli cheese casserole because the broccoli and orzo will become mushy once thawed.

Do you put egg in broccoli casserole?

Eggs are not needed in broccoli casserole

Can I substitute frozen broccoli for fresh in a casserole?

The short answer is yes you can. However frozen broccoli contains a higher water content than fresh and cooks a lot faster so your casserole may be a bit watery and the broccoli may overcook.

Serving Suggestions

Protein: serve this casserole as a side next to your favorite protein. Here are some ideas:

Salad: lighten things up with a green salad: butter lettuce salad, chicken caesar salad, or harvest salad.

Holiday Side: serve this casserole as a holiday side next to your family’s favorite dishes such as smoked turkey, crockpot mashed potatoes, and sauteed green beans.

broccoli and cheese casserole in a bowl with a fork.

Storage

Store leftover broccoli and cheese casserole in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.

To reheat: reheat in the microwave on high for 60-90 seconds.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt separated
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup orzo uncooked
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup 2% or whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Franks hot sauce
  • 12- oz. broccoli florets chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1.5 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese

Instructions 

  • Heat a large skillet with sides over medium/high heat and add the olive oil to the skillet. When the olive oil is fragrant, add the onion. Season the onion with ⅛ teaspoon of the salt and saute for 3 minutes.

  • Add the garlic to the skillet and sauté for another 1 minute before adding orzo to the skillet. Toss the orzo with the onion and garlic and toast the orzo for 3-4 minutes or until it begins to turn a golden brown. Be sure to move the orzo around with a spatula pretty consistently.

    toasting orzo in skillet.
  • Next, add the remaining salt, chives, black pepper, broth, and milk to the skillet and stir. Bring the liquid to a gentle boil and then turn the heat to low and cover the skillet. Let the orzo simmer for 3-4 minutes.

    adding milk to skillet.
  • Uncover the skillet and add the chopped broccoli. Gently toss the broccoli with the orzo and cover the skillet again. Let the ingredients simmer together for another 3-4 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed in the skillet.

  • Uncover the skillet and remove it from the heat. Add the cheddar cheese to the skillet and stir the cheese into the orzo until it melts.

    adding cheese to skillet.
  • Serve the orzo immediately with freshly cracked pepper and enjoy.

Tips & Notes

  • We add the broccoli later in the cooking time so it doesn’t get mushy.
  • If you still have liquid in the skillet after 6-8 minutes, leave the skillet uncovered for a few minutes so the liquid can cook off a bit.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 428kcal Carbohydrates: 41g Protein: 19g Fat: 21g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 6g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.





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