Here’s a hearty, creamy, healthy version of chicken and broccoli casserole that The Husband loved… as in, three helpings and “Yes, it’s blogworthy!” I renovated a Cooking Light recipe, using the new Beyond Meat chicken substitute.
I had seen articles about Beyond Meat, which is a soy-based meat substitute that’s getting rave reviews for looking and tasting so much like chicken, people were fooled. Regular readers will know I’m not a fan of processed foods, so I was skeptical of a product that was designed in a laboratory to resemble, in texture and taste, animal flesh. It does look like grilled chicken strips, ones you might expect to find in a fast food salad, and the taste reminded me of frozen microwave dinners, or airplane food back when they used to feed you on airplanes. It wasn’t terrible, but tasted gummy to me, and not particularly like chicken. HOWEVER, The Hubs really liked the dish, and suggested I try making chicken salad with the product.
So, I will say that for people looking for meat substitutes, especially if you are feeding guys with hearty appetites, this might be a great product. I wouldn’t try it on a sandwich, but it’s a good option hidden in a casserole or stir fry when trying to move people over to a plant-based diet. It is gluten-free, unlike seitan fake-meat products. It is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility, and is certified gluten-free, which is great news for people with celiac disease.
The renovation: I added brown rice rotini, as I wanted a hearty one-dish dinner. I served it, as shown, with a green salad. I used oat flour, almond milk, cashew yogurt, Vegenaise, and Daiya cheese to replace the gluten and dairy in the original recipe. I sauteed the onions and mushrooms with dry white wine for richer flavor. I don’t like to microwave food in plastic, so I simply steamed broccoli for three minutes. For readers without access to the Beyond Meat product, this recipe would be great without it.
Creamy “chicken” and broccoli casserole
About 6 servings
package steam-in-bag broccoli florets (350 g)
canola olive oil (15 ml)
1 cup prechopped onion, chopped
2 (8-ounce) packages
presliced cremini mushrooms (450 g)
1/2 C. (125 ml) dry white wine or marsala wine
all-purpose oat flour (25 g)
fat-free almond milk (375 ml)
chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 3 cups) Beyond Meat chicken substitute (lightly seasoned variety)
1/2 cup plain
fat-free Greek cashew yogurt (125 ml)
canola mayonnaise Vegenaise or vegan mayo (60 ml)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup) 3/4 C. Daiya vegan cheese or shredded vegan cheese
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
4 oz. (125 g) brown rice rotini
Bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook the rotini for about 10 minutes, just until cooked. Drain well and rinse with cold water briefly.
Dice the faux chicken pieces.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayo, salt, and pepper until smooth.
Prepare broccoli in microwave according to package directions, or steam on the stove for 3 minutes until bright green. Drain well, rinsing briefly with cold water to stop it from cooking further.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.
Add onion and mushrooms; cook about 8 minutes or until mushrooms are golden brown and liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add wine to deglaze the pan and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.
Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Stir milk into the skillet. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in broccoli and “chicken”; cook 1 minute until heated through. Remove pan from heat. Stir in yogurt mixture and rotini until evenly coated and thoroughly mixed.
Top evenly with cheeses; broil 2 minutes.