2 cups short grain brown rice
4 cups mushroom broth
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
olive oil, as needed
4 to 5 small semi-hot peppers, chopped (I use Cherry Hots)
1 very large head broccoli, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use soy)
3/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
1 large bunch fresh thyme, stems removed
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large stockpot, bring mushroom broth to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy.
2. While rice is cooking, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until just translucent. Add peppers and saute until slightly soft. Add broccoli, and saute until broccoli is warmed through and starting to green. Be careful not to over cook.
3. When rice is done, mix in vegetables, sunflower seeds, milk, 1/2 cup vegan cheese and fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir thoroughly so everything is incorporated.
4. Grease casserole dish and spread rice mixture evenly over the bottom. Top with the remainder 1/4 cup vegan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes covered. Remove from oven, remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes uncovered to brown the top.
Source of recipe: I got some gorgeous broccoli from the farmer's market and was inspired to make a slightly healthier version of the broccoli and cheese casserole with it.