13-1: Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

I’ve been eating a diet that’s easiest to classify as pescetarian for about 4 years now, and one of the biggest trends I’ve noticed in “vegetarian” dishes and cooking is to take a vegetable, smother it in cream and cheese, and call it a meal. Don’t get me wrong–I love cheese (more so than most–I chalk it up to being half Swedish/French), but it’s not exactly the healthiest thing for you. 13-1: Broccoli with Cheese Sauce is indeed vegetarian, but it is NOT healthy.

Sure, you could have stopped at steaming the broccoli (actually blanching, if you read the recipe after the jump)–maybe even sprinkle a little cheese on top to keep it interesting. But this feels more like, “would you like some broccoli with your cheese?” more so than “would you like some cheese with your broccoli?”

Man, I never thought I’d be complaining about there being TOO much cheese and not enough vegetables. That’s how you KNOW you’re getting old, kids.

Not a lot of notes from me on this other that noting that they describe a package of cream cheese as being 3 oz. That’s one of the small ones that you almost never notice while shopping–I didn’t even think they still made 3 oz packages, but Instacart claims they do.

Ingredients. I did not purchase one of the aforementioned 3 oz cream cheeses (good luck finding an 8 oz lactose-free cream cheese, much less a 3 oz one), but I did decide to make dairy-free swaps for the rest of the traditionally dairy-containing ingredients. I always do a weird blend of dairy-free and real dairy due to weird dietary restrictions in our house, and I don’t expect any of you to try to make any sense of it.

Do be surprised though about how close I can get with dairy-free stuff–the real stuff does still taste and perform better overall, but the fake stuff is getting closer every day.

Blanching (NOT steaming) the broccoli as instructed.

Picture #184748 of chopped onions.

I might have overdone the broccoli a bit–I’m more of a steamer than a blancher.

Tossing the onions in the pan to start the cheese sauce.

Building the base with the aromatics and roux.

This looks like a lot of the cheese fillings from other Simply Delicious recipes. They did love their onions and pimento in the 1980s (and prior)–I can feel the Reagan vibes as I look at it.

It’s now become a cheese sauce–time for it to meet its broccoli-scented destiny.

Since I overdid my broccoli a bit, I added the sauce in a little at a time to keep from totally obliterating the broccoli.

Here’s some extra cheddar (originally slices, but ripped up) for the top. Based on the next picture, I’m pretty sure that cheese had to have been real as well.

Fake cheese just doesn’t brown like that–not yet. Hence my guess that I slipped some extra real cheese in there on top (I don’t remember, I cooked this back in April based on the metadata). Overall, it’s broccoli with cheese sauce–it’s definitely as advertised. If you like that, this is probably your jam. I’m more of a broccoli purist (despite my love of cheese), so it wasn’t as big for me.

Grade: B-