Traditional Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Ritz crackers gets a welcome update from a homemade creamy cheese sauce.
Back when I was a kid, the casserole reigned supreme. It was the star of every potluck, holiday, and weeknight family meal. It seems like the casserole went out of style for awhile, but I’m thrilled to see it making a resurgence. On a recent stroll down memory lane, I stumbled on a recipe for Broccoli Cheese Casserole. As soon as I saw that cheese laden goodness, I knew I needed to bring it back, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect occasion than a Retro themed #SundaySupper.
As much as I love the casserole, I don’t necessarily long for a return of the days when a healthy vegetable side consisted of an unidentifiable veggie smothered in cans of condensed soup and covered in crackers. That’s why I decided to remake this classic recipe into a slightly healthier, made from scratch version.
Instead of canned soup, I made my own cheese sauce out of a very simple roux, milk, and cheese. The best thing about making your own cheese sauce is you can customize it to your tastes. Stick with a nice sharp cheddar for a classic take, or stir in a little pepper jack or gouda for a twist. My favorite version ended up being a combination of smoked Swiss and cheddar.
Even though I replaced the canned soup in this recipe, there was no way I was giving up that buttery Ritz topping. Ritz crackers make my world go round, and also cause me to consume two heaping portions of this casserole for lunch. It’s that good.
One more note about the broccoli. I made this once with steamed broccoli and once with roasted broccoli, and both the Mr. and I far preferred the roasted broccoli. It adds a depth of flavor that plain ol’ broccoli lacks. However, if you prefer a more classic flavor, feel free to stick to steamed or boiled broccoli.
Break out this remake on a simple classic and watch the casserole become the star of your table again. For more blasts from the past, check out all the retro recipes from my Sunday Supper friends below!
- 4 small to medium heads broccoli, florets only
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups fresh shredded cheese of your choice (I like a blend of sharp cheddar and smoked Swiss)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 36 Ritz crackers (about 1 1/2 sleeves)
- 1/4 cup melted butter