This Vegan Rice Casserole is super easy to make, creamy and flavourful and secretly healthy!
Is there anything better than a piping hot, luxuriously creamy, carb-loaded side dish? I've already done a version of this with potatoes and sweet potatoes, but was keen to branch out to another favourite carb: rice.
I was inspired to make a Vegan Rice Casserole because of a Japanese dish called Doria, which happens to be one of my grandma's favourites. It's made using rice, vegetables and seafood, which get smothered in a béchamel sauce and cheese before being baked in a gratin dish.
This veganised version contains an irresistibly velvety cream sauce made using unsweetened almond milk thickened with cornflour. If you're not into almond milk, you could also use unsweetened cashew milk, or unsweetened oat milk for a nut-free version.
Although I've included instructions for how to cook the rice from scratch in this recipe, this Vegan Rice Casserole is also a great way to use up leftover cooked rice.
I used sticky Japanese sushi rice, but you can use any type you like, or even brown rice or quinoa if you prefer.
In terms of veggies, I decided to go with mushrooms (you can use any type) but any other type of vegetables would also work. Here are some suggestions:
- spinach or kale
- green peas
For a crispy top, I decided to sprinkle over some flaked almonds before baking as they add a sweet, nutty crunch. Breadcrumbs would also work well.
This Vegan Rice Casserole makes a great side dish if you're feeding a crowd, as it's super easy to make in a large batch. You can also turn it into a complete meal by adding some extra protein like chickpeas or white beans.
For more creamy vegan side dishes, check out my:
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Helpful tools to make this Vegan Rice Casserole:
Vegan Rice Casserole (GF)
- 200 g (1 ⅞ cups) uncooked rice (I used Japanese sushi rice but any type would work)
- 1 tablespoon oil (olive, vegetable or rapeseed oil)
- 1 onion, diced
- 300 g (10oz) mushrooms*, roughly chopped (any type works)
- 600 ml (2 ½ cups) unsweetened almond milk (or sub oat milk for nut-free)
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 vegetable stock cube (ensure gluten-free if necessary)
- Salt + pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons flaked almonds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Rinse the rice and place in a pan with 400ml (1 ⅔ cups) water
- Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and cook with a lid on for 12 minutes until all the water is absorbed
- Leave the lid on for a further 5 minutes after turning off the heat
- Heat up the oil in a large pan and add the onion and mushrooms once hot
- Fry for around 10 minutes, until softened
- Measure out the almond milk in a measuring jug or container and add the cornflour to the jug
- Mix very well, ensuring that the cornflour has completely dissolved in the milk
- Add the almond milk and cornflour mixture to the pan with the onion and mushrooms, keeping on a low heat and stirring regularly to make sure the cornflour doesn’t clump
- Add the nutritional yeast, stock cube and salt + pepper and mix well, ensuring that the stock cube has completely dissolved
- Simmer on a low heat for around 5 minutes
- Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir it into the sauce
- Transfer the rice mixture to a large baking dish - don’t worry that it looks a little liquidy at this stage, because most of the liquid will be soaked up during the baking process
- Sprinkle over the flaked almonds, if desired, and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown
- spinach or kale
- green peas
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