This vegan broccoli melt is delightfully comforting and satisfying, as well as healthy. The melt is made with house-made vegan mozzarella cheese and tender, garlicky broccoli. They are perfect for lunch or as part of a casual dinner.
There aren’t many things I love more than a recipe that involves toasted bread and melted cheese.
Vegan grilled cheese is definitely an option. Hence my Vegan Tempeh Meatball Subs, which to this day is a recipe I’m proud of.
Diversity, though, is important. I’m longing for some fun new recipe inspiration to offset the gray skies and cold dampness outside.
Vegan broccoli comes to the rescue.
I expected to love these crispy, cheesy toasts when I made them; After all, broccoli might be my favorite vegetable, and bread is probably my favorite food.
But the finished product was even better than I imagined. I love the contrast of the tender broccoli, the stretchy, melty cheese and the crisp toast.
Does broccoli melt a neatly Eat lunch?
No, not exactly. There will be crumbs, and a stray floret or two of broccoli may melt as you dig. I wouldn’t recommend the melt when you need a quick, portable or good meal prep lunch.
However, they’re a wonderful combination of vegetable-forward and super comforting, and I’m excited to share them with you.
What is a broccoli thaw?
I’ve seen recipes for broccoli melts that resemble grilled cheese sandwiches and some that resemble open-faced toast.
The vegan broccoli melt I shared with you today is kind of open, though I might try a sandwich version next.
I think that all a “melt” really needs is melted cheese and bread involved.
Both are present here. The bread can be any type of bread you like. I now make round bowls of farmer’s bread, slices of ciabatta, and loaves of bread in sandwich bread slices. I enjoyed all three versions.
For the cheese ingredient, I use my melted vegan cashew mozzarella cheese.
If you don’t want to make a vegan cheese from scratch, you can try your favorite store-bought vegan mozzarella. I really like the mozzarella slices from Good Plan.
Comforting and nutritious
I was recently chatting about a podcast Vegan weekAnd I tried to clarify myself my food philosophy (or something like that).
I said that my goal is always to create recipes that strike a sweet spot between being healthy and hearty, nutritious and comforting.
This is one such recipe. Broccoli is packed with health benefits: It’s a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, not to mention phytonutrients that can help protect our bodies from chronic illness and inflammation.
I love broccoli, so I usually steam it. I love its pure taste.
But this broccoli melt presents me—and anyone who makes the recipe—with a comfort food approach to eating this super-nutritious crucifer.
The goodness of melting green vegetables and the joy of melted cheese on crispy bread at the same time. They are easy to love for many reasons.
How Vegan Broccoli Melts
Assembling broccoli melts is a pretty straightforward process.
Prepare the broccoli
To start, you will cook and season your broccoli. I start by boiling them in water until they are fork tender, yet bright green.
Next, I sauteed the broccoli with some garlic, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and salt. Nothing fancy here—the goal is to flavor the broccoli before mixing in the vegan cheese.
Prepare Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
Once the broccoli is ready, you will prepare the vegan cashew mozzarella.
This is a fairly easy vegan cheese to make; You start by blending cashews, water, salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and cornstarch together in a blender until smooth.
Next, you will transfer the mixture to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and it will begin to thicken. You will simmer the cheese over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until it is a “stretchy” consistency.
Combine with broccoli
Finally, it will be time to assemble your melt. To do this, you need to arrange the slices of bread on a lined baking sheet.
Top each slice with cooked broccoli, then spoon melted vegan cheese on top.
Finally, you will transfer the broccoli to the oven that is on the high broiler setting. Broil them for 3-8 minutes – this will vary significantly with the type of oven you have – or until the cheese is just browned.
And now, it will be time to dig in and enjoy.
I always serve grilled cheese with a vegan soup, so my mind goes for the broccoli melty pairing.
The first time I thawed broccoli, I ate it with my Tuscan White Bean Kale Soup. It was a wintery, hearty, filling meal.
I also want to try them with Roasted Garlic Chickpea Soup and Pantry Tomato Soup. If you want to double up on the broccoli, my Cream of Broccoli and Quinoa Soup Melts would be great.
Also nice to melt: a salad! Something fresh and crisp.
You can try my Perfect Winter Chopped Salad, Winter Panzanella or Brussels Sprout Kale Salad to start.
If these ideas don’t call to you, but you have some leftover roasted veggies in your fridge, or maybe some vegan protein that needs to be used up (tofu, tempeh, seitan—whatever), then of course you can mix and match. Make a choice. Broccoli melts are fantastically versatile.
Can melts be prepared gluten free?
Yes they can.
Simply choose your favorite vegan and gluten-free bread to make it with. These days there are more and more options that fit both categories.
Should I use broccoli?
As much as I love the broccoli in this recipe, no, you don’t!
Melted cauliflower would work well with cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus or roasted kale. I can even imagine preparing it with roasted cabbage, a vegetable I have a love affair with this winter.
Create options ahead
There are a few ways to melt broccoli that you can get your head around.
One is to boil the broccoli ahead of time, then cool it and store it until you’re ready to saute it with garlic and lemon. You can do this up to two days ahead of time.
You can also prepare broccoli whole—that is, you can boil it, then season and roast it—and store it for up to two days before thawing.
Cashew mozzarella cheese can also be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat the cheese over low heat on the stove, stirring frequently, until melted.
Even without any advance preparation, melting is easy and fun. Here’s how you can whip them up in your own home.
Production: 6 melt away
- 1 pounds Broccoli florets and pieces, about 1 1/2-inch/4 cm in size, or broccolini, cut into 1 1/2-inch/4 cm pieces (455 grams)
- 1 table spoon olive oil
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 table spoon Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Dash Crushed red chili flakes (optional)
- 1 batch Melted vegan cashew mozzarella (optional 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella-style slices)
- 6 pieces the bread (I recommend a round, sliced farmer or sourdough bowl, half a slice of ciabatta, sliced Italian bread or a thickly sliced sandwich bread)
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large, wide skillet or frying pan. Add the broccoli. Boil the broccoli for 3-4 minutes, or until it is tender when pierced with a fork or knife, but still a nice, vibrant green. Drain the broccoli and wipe the skillet clean. This step can be done up to 2 days before thawing.
Preheat your broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange your bread slices on the sheet.
Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Cook the garlic for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broccoli, lemon juice, salt, and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Stir everything and cook for a minute or two or until the broccoli is heated through. Distribute among the broccoli bread slices on the prepared baking sheet.
Prepare the melted vegan cashew mozzarella cheese as directed in the recipe. Spoon cheese evenly over 6 bread slices with broccoli.
Transfer the broccoli to the oven to thaw. Broil for 3-8 minutes or until the bread is fully toasted and the cashew mozzarella is just bubbly and slightly browned. Broiling time will depend a lot on your oven (sticks take a little longer than most—a full 8 or 9 minutes), so be sure to peek to make sure the toast isn’t toasting.
Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Enjoy these beautiful, nutritious, delicious little toasts and let me know if you come up with any fun variations!
I’ll be back this weekend for the usual links and songs.