"Cheesy" Chicken Veggie Bake
Growing up, did your parents ever make one of those cream of mushroom-broccoli cheesy chicken bakes? I vividly remember having something along those lines as a kid, and even as I entered into my adult life cooking meals on my own, I used to whip together some form of that. Using a cream of broccoli soup, shredded chicken, broccoli and spinach and just kind of mixing it all together in a bowl with some rice or pasta, topping it with a ton more cheese and baking it. It always came out so gooey, creamy and delicious - really a big bowl of comfort food.
Out of no where a few weeks ago, I had this wild craving for it. Don't tell me why or how it even came to mind, but I just felt like I need a big bowl of cheesy rice and veggies. Of course, knowing that I'm trying to be conscious about the amount of dairy I'm consuming, an idea popped in my head - why couldn't I use my vegan cheese recipe (from my vegan mac & cheese recipe) to make that same creamy sauce? So I got to cooking. I happened to have some leftover chicken and rice already in my fridge (two items I always make extra of for this very reason) and got to making the vegan sauce. If you've made my mac & cheese before, you know its crazy easy. Once ready, I threw it all in one big bowl, the rice, chicken, spinach, grape tomatoes and peas. Then I poured that sauce all over and gave it a good mix. You really could use any veggie in this recipe, by the way. After that, I poured it all into a casserole dish, topped it with some vegan parm and into the oven it went. 30 minutes later, that same bubbly, bowl of comfort food was ready, and I was in heaven.
"Cheesy" Chicken Veggie Bake (GF/DF)
Prep Time: 15 minutes (Longer if you need to prep your grains or chicken, add another 20 minutes)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
2 cups cooked basmati rice
2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
2 cups spinach
2 cup diced grape tomatoes
1 cup peas
¼ cup vegan parm to sprinkle on top
Cheese Sauce Ingredients
1 small/medium sweet potato - peeled and mashed
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Either use leftover cooked chicken and rice, or prepare ahead of assembly. If making rice ahead of time cook it a little less than you normally would. Shred chicken.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a casserole pan, set aside.
In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, rice, fresh spinach, tomatoes and peas. Toss to mix thoroughly.
In a blender make vegan cheese sauce - add all ingredients and blend until smooth.
Pour sauce all over mixture and stir thoroughly. Once completely mixed, pour into a casserole pan. Top with a few more sliced grape tomatoes and vegan parm.
Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly and brown.