Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole – Two Ways!

gluten freepaleoveganvegetarian
Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Everyone has a preference when it comes to food. Whether that preference is based on a chosen special diet, an allergy or purely your mood at that moment, it’s still a preference.

When I first started Inspiralized and my sister would make my recipes, she’d always send a picture of her dish next to her boyfriend’s (who she lives with). He wouldn’t eat the zucchini noodles, but she would. She wanted the lower calories, carbs and the ability to eat a big portion without negating that day’s workout.

I love that most about my recipes – they are so easy and quick that you can make two different versions at the same time!

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Growing up, I remember my mother saying, “you either eat it or you don’t.” She wasn’t into making five versions of the same plate. However, later in life, when I became vegan and my sister became a pescatarian, she had to make some concessions. Sorry, ma.

Now, I know that a lot of you are Paleo and prefer dairy-free recipes. However, I know a lot of you are gluten-free and not necessarily Paleo. Like my little sister and her two versions of the same dinner, I’m showing you how to make one recipe two diferent ways: one that’s Paleo and one that’s, well, not.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

I posted up the half and half pre-oven shot on Instagram and I’ve got to say, I was surprised at how many of you preferred the mozzarella version. Warms my heart. I love mozz! I can’t wait until it’s socially acceptable to start eating caprese salads again – little drizzle of olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper.

This casserole is not only vegan and non-vegan friendly all at once, it’s really easy to make and stores well for leftovers. Lu and I threw some cooked chicken on top and had it for dinner the night I made this.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

The casserole by itself is a filling and surprising meal. Surprising? Yes! You won’t believe it’s not real rice! The sweet potato rice cooks to a perfect consistency in the 40 minutes in the oven and the savory flavors from the mozzarella and pesto pair well with the sweetness that comes from the potato when roasting.

The broccoli gives the casserole substance and the pesto adheres and soaks into the florets for a big “bang for your buck” bite.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

I made it in a foil casserole dish because frankly, I was tired of doing the dishes. My hands are prematurely aging from all of the rough scrubbing! And heck, I’m saving water.

First, spread some of the vegan pesto on the bottom of the casserole. Second, spread out a layer of the sweet potato rice.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Third, spread out the pesto-covered broccoli over the rice. Fourth, spread out a layer of the sweet potato rice, covering the broccoli mostly. Then, pour in the vegetable broth.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Fifth, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top (or not). Finally, bake it in the oven for 40 minutes, covered with tinfoil.

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

How easy is that? Either eat it right away or put it in the fridge for later!

Serves 4-6

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole – Two Ways!

Yields 1 casserole

15 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

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  • For the pesto:
  • 2.5 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 3 tbsp of pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil (if you like it thicker, less olive oil)
  • 5 cranks of the sea salt grinder
  • 5 cranks of the peppercorn grinder
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced
  • For the rest:
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 large sweet potato (350g), peeled, Blade C
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place all of the ingredients for the pesto into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and just, if necessary. Pour half of the pesto out into a bowl and add in the broccoli. Toss until broccoli is coated with the pesto. Set the broccoli and remaining pesto aside.
  3. In the bottom of the casserole, spread out a thin layer of pesto. Then, spread out a layer of the sweet potato rice. Then, add the broccoli. Then, add the rest of the rice to cover the broccoli. Drizzle the remaining pesto over the rice. Then, pour over the vegetable broth. Season with pepper. If using mozzarella, spread over in an even layer over the rice to cover.
  4. Cover the casserole with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes.

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Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole - Two Ways!

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Sarah says:
Hmmmmm. Do u think this could work as a freezer meal?
Eggo says:
Love your blog. I use blade C a lot, but I get long strings of sweet potato. So how does it become rice? Do you chop by hand? Your sweet potato pieces in the photos look a lot different from what would come out of my spiralizer.
Eggo - thank you for the comment! It becomes rice by using a food processor. Check out my page for a video on how to make the rice!
jillconyers says:
This looks delicious! Pinning for next week's menu planning :)
Emily says:
Could I use leftover rutabaga rice? And add some browned chicken?
Margaret says:
can't wait to make this!
Allie Anderson says:
If using goat cheese instead of mozzarella, would you put it on before baking it or wait until it comes out of the oven?
Anonymous says:
Personally I was considering goat cheddar. It's extremely mild and almost tastes similar to mozzarella
Angela says:
This looks delish! I know fresh is better but we have a bunch of frozen broccoli. Do you think I could use that and it turn out ok?
megan says:
i want to know where those serving bowls are from?!!?
Delicious and oh so beautiful!! P.S. I love your nail color!
Paula says:
Looks delicious! Have you ever considered giving nutritional information? I'm a WW person and this would be great info to have to figure point value easier!
Derek says:
Can you please revise the section containing " I made it in a foil casserole dish because frankly, I was tired of doing the dishes. My hands are prematurely aging from all of the rough scrubbing! And heck, I’m saving water." Aluminum production consumes between 15 and 40 gallons of water for every pound of aluminum produced which doesn't even take into account the further refinement into the neat little pan that you are using. That also doesn't include the contaminants that they are putting back into our water system. I guarantee that you would use less water washing one pan 100 times vs purchasing 100 disposable pans. Just saying. #themoreyouknow PS, love the recipe.
Gail says:
We made this with the cheese topping OF COURSE. couple of things - we make a bulk meal once a week to have as our lunch Mon - fri. This started off well but by thurs the broccoli was getting to soft. Also I agree with Derek use a regular casserole dish and save the environment while doing your body good. Would make again but for a one night meal not a week's worth Thanks for posting
Linda says:
thank you! I just made this and here are my adjustments: used 2/3 jar of Trader Joes Pesto, easy. I added some leftover grilled mushrooms, onions and zucching to the broccoli. I used Manchego cheese because sheep cheese is easier on me. It was LOVELY!!!! next time I may decrease the liquid as I wound up with rather a puddle on the bottom. YUM and thank you so so much! this goes into the regular rotation now. It was so quick to prep. I can prep in morning then pop in the oven after work. Brilliant!
Anonymous says:
Holy Cow!
Paige says:
Holy cow! I made this tonight with a little hesitancy because the ingredients seemed so random together and I wasn't sure how I would like the sweet potatoes with everything, but this recipe is seriously amazing! I took the first bite and was like, "whhaaaat!?"! The flavor is so great! I don't know if I am right by saying this, but it seems like this recipe is pretty healthy, too, which makes it even better! Thanks for sharing!

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