Healthy & Comforting Broccoli-Mushroom Casserole

Not only do I try to eat according to the seasons (which I could admittedly be better at), but I also try to eat according to the weather. I’m hard-pressed in the winter to get a hankering for a simple, raw salad, whereas in the summer, I can hardly get enough of that kind of light fare. You would think, then, that my cravings for warm stews and casseroles would be dwindling and my eyes would be set instead on a nice, bountiful plate of raw, pure vegetables. Alas, that is not the case. I blame it on the fact that I have not seen the sunshine in three darn days (evoking the melodies of Sheryl Crow here, folks) – here I am, starting finals week, a time when I normally wear dresses and capris, and I have to bundle myself up in sweatshirts and long pants to stay comfortable. Salads will have to wait. Until Spring really does decide to spring, we’re sticking with the comfort food over here at Floptimism.

This Broccoli-Mushroom casserole combines three of some of my favorite foods: broccoli, mushrooms, and, well, casseroles. The fact that I topped it with a pile of scrambled eggs made it even more wonderful. This casserole is garlicky and savory. The way I made it, it was very light on the cheese – this isn’t really a stick-to-your-ribs casserole, which means it’s also not as filling. I think I could have personally eaten twice the amount of vegetables and, as it was, I didn’t stay full for very long after this meal. So if this is really your main dish, consider increasing the portions. However, you could also just use it as a side dish or make a few extra sides – this would taste great with a more substantial omelet, a cut of meat, some sort of tofu dish, a baked potato…really, any number of other dishes.

Broccoli-Mushroom Casserole
This casserole is warm and comforting, but it won’t sit like a pile of bricks in your stomach like some of the more traditional comfort foods do. It’s only minimally cheesy, but comes full force on the garlic and otherwise savory flavors. It’s an easy, healthy, and delicious meal to stay warm in those in-between months when it’s too warm for pot pies but not quite warm enough for salad.

Yield: 8 small servings, 4 larger servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

The Ingredients
5 cups broccoli florets
¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
1 ¼ cups low-fat milk
2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
¼ cup homemade whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

The Method
Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and lightly coat a 9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.1Steam the broccoli, working in batches if necessary, until just tender, then shock in cold water and pat dry. Transfer the broccoli to the baking dish.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium and add the onion to sauté for 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms, cooking an additional 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high; continue cooking, 3 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the baking dish with the broccoli and season with freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Add 2 more tablespoons oil to the pan, followed by the flour. Whisk until smooth over medium heat, 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Continue whisking for 5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the mustard and season with additional black pepper. Drizzle evenly over the vegetable mixture in the baking dish.

Mix the final tablespoon oil with the bread crumbs and cheese, then sprinkle over the vegetables as a topping. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and fully warmed through. Allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

Source, Adapted: My Recipes

1If you’re making this as a single-serving, you may cook it in the toaster oven and skip the step of preheating.

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