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Vegetarian "Chicken" Divan

Vegetarian "Chicken" Divan

My favorite meal growing up was chicken divan. The original recipe was a 90s dream meal with canned cream of chicken and mushroom soups, mayo, Ritz crackers and frozen broccoli. How can you not love that combination? My days of eating the original version are long gone given my vegetarian status but I can't say I don't miss it. I decided to give the recipe a bit of a makeover into a vegetarian dish with less processed ingredients. I got rid of the mayo and canned soups and added some roasted broccoli and sautĂ©ed mushrooms. Don't worry, I kept the crackers...because how can you not? 

If you're not familiar with the dish, it is a creamy, extra saucey casserole made to sit on top of rice or noodles. The crackers add a buttery saltiness and the parmesan topping browns slightly in the oven leaving a flavorful crisp layer on top of the creamy insides. Obviously the original protein was chicken. You can make this recipe with chickpeas (included in the recipe) or sit it on top of quinoa instead of rice/noodles if you are concerned about protein intake. 

So does my version stand against the original? I sure think so but don't take my word for it. My mom, the original chicken divan chef herself, gave it the thumbs up!

Do you have a childhood favorite you would like me to try to make vegetarian? Leave a comment or email!


Vegetarian "Chicken" Divan

Creamy, extra saucey casserole with broccoli and mushrooms served with rice or noodles

Makes: Serves 4-6

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, bite size pieces
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 10 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 12 Ritz crackers (or similar), crumbled
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided plus more to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Brown rice, egg noodles or quinoa for serving
  • Chives, chopped for garnish (optional)

Instructions:
  1. Grease an 8 x 8 square baking dish with butter and set aside
  2. First prepare the broccoli. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spread the broccoli florets on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil over the broccoli and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender with some caramelization. Remove from oven and lower the oven to 325 degrees
  5. While the broccoli is roasting prepare the mushrooms and the yogurt. Add the yogurt and ground mustard to a small bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper
  6. To make the mushrooms, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste
  7. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 4 - 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. When there is 1 minute remaining in the cook time, add the minced garlic and stir to combine
  8. Set the cooked broccoli and mushrooms aside
  9. To prepare the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat
  10. Add the flour and whisk continuously for approximately 1 - 2 minutes (before it starts to brown)
  11. Gradually add the warmed milk to the pot, stirring constantly while adding the milk
  12. Turn the heat slightly up to medium and, stirring frequently, allow the sauce to bubble along the edge of the pot
  13. Turn the heat back down to medium low and cook for an additional 1 - 2 minutes while stirring frequently. The sauce should be thickened and will continue to thicken off the heat
  14. As soon as the sauce is done, stir in the shredded cheese along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce cool for about 10 minutes
  15. While the sauce is cooling, add the broccoli, 1/2 cup of cooked mushrooms and the chickpeas (if using) to the bottom of the greased pan. Sprinkle the crackers over the vegetables
  16. Add the cooled sauce to a blender along with the remaining mushrooms (leave any liquid the mushrooms produced in the pan). Blend until mostly smooth
  17. Add the sauce, yogurt and lemon juice to a bowl and stir to combine
  18. Pour the combined sauce over the vegetables and crackers in the pan
  19. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the entire dish
  20. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. The dish should be bubbling and the cheese should be lightly browning
  21. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve on top of rice, noodles or quinoa

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