“Cheesy” Chicken Casserole

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paleo chicken casserole

Chicken casserole – Paleo style!

Cheese doesn’t agree with me, and I think that is a tragedy indeed. Because I LOVE cheese, especially melted cheesy dishes. My mom makes this baked chicken dish with a mayonnaise and sour cream sauce and the whole thing is covered in melted cheese. It is divine but unfortunately my digestive tract cannot handle all of that cheesy glory. I created this dish to fill the void when I crave Mom’s cheesy chicken casserole.

Paleo chicken casserole, one-pot meal and only 5 minute prep time!Since I haven’t had cheese in ages, I my taste buds may be a bit skewed… I think this tastes cheesy, but it is not intended to replicate the exact flavor and texture of a real cheese casserole. Because that would be impossible. The main idea here is that it’s a creamy paleo chicken casserole. And it’s delicious.

There are a few special ingredients here that create this Creamy Paleo Chicken Casserole. First is butternut squash. It lends a creamy texture and a golden color reminiscent of cheddar. An easy way to prepare butternut squash puree is by throwing your squash in the crockpot – here’s how! Second is coconut cream, which makes this dish silky with just a touch of sweetness. You can use the substitutes I list for the coconut cream, if you want. Finally, Herbamare seasoning, which you can find here or at most health food stores, packs a punch of flavor without the work of chopping fresh herbs. It is an organic  seasoning salt that contains sea salt and gently dehydrated herbs. You can substitute your favorite seasoning salt. I also love Real Salt’s All-Purpose Seasoning Salt, which you can find here. I get mine from that Amazon link because I haven’t been able to find in my health food store.

If you want just a few extra minutes of prep, top the casserole with toasted coconut. Yum.

paleo chicken casserole

Look at that bite, in all of its cheeseless glory!

paleo chicken casserole

“Cheesy” Chicken Casserole

Yield: Makes about 3-4 big servings (I like to double the recipe for leftovers!)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (approximately, you can use more)
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked and mashed butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream (the thick stuff from the top of a can of coconut milk. Don't shake the can) OR substitute yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/4 cup ghee or butter or coconut oil (coconut oil will impart a stronger coconut taste)
  • 1 cup thawed green peas
  • 1 tsp. Herbamare seasoning salt (find here) or Real Salt Seasoning Salt (find here) or your favorite seasoning salt
  • 1 - 2 Tbs. raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut for the topping

Instructions

  1. Put everything in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the peas are warmed through and everything is melty and creamy. Top with toasted coconut, if desired.
  2. If you want, toast the coconut in a skillet over medium heat. Stir until golden and toasty which will take just a few minutes.
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Comments

  1. Michaela says

    It’s funny that you use butternut squash. The first time I had your butternut squash flat breads (which I LOVE! Thank you!), I thought, “These taste cheesy.”

    With dairy no longer my friend, I’m very excited to try this!

  2. Emily says

    This looks delicious! I miss cheese so much (I’m on the GAPS Diet and can’t tolerate it either). Definitely making this soon. What about using nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and sea salt instead of Herbamare?

  3. Chris says

    Hello Lauren. By butternut squash do you mean butternut pumpkin? In Australia some foods have different names. BTW Love your recipes and health tips. I have been passing them on to as many people as will listen. The black pepper ,fennel and ginger cookies make great ‘dunkers’ with a cup of tea!

  4. says

    How interesting! This sounds delicious. I would probably add in some nutritional yeast like someone suggested above, but I’ve made a dairy-free, butternut squash-based cheese recipe before too and it turned out surprisingly spot on taste wise :)

  5. Jean Ghantous says

    Yay, a non-dairy recipe for a creamy entree that does NOT contain cashews or nuts! Which makes it perfectly low oxalate for families like mine:). Thank you!

  6. Jennifer L. says

    Hi,

    I’ve been trying to sign up for your newsletter to get a free a copy of your cookbook, but I never receive the email to confirm my subscription. Also tried signing up via your FB page, but that doesn’t go through either. Can you please help? Would like to try out that recipe book and get your updates. Thank you!

  7. Melissa says

    I’m allergic to poultry, wheat, and eggs, so I love this and think I’ll substitute the chicken with pulled pork or brisket. I’ve been craving Mac & cheese with BBQ pulled pork ever since my “farewell to food” fest pre-elimination.

  8. says

    Wow, this looks amazing!
    And believe it or not I have everything at home to make it, even the cooked chicken. This will be either lunch or dinner tomorrow, can’t wait to try!
    Ana

  9. Mrs G says

    I made this today and it was really delicious!
    I used some old chicken from a soup and I bought a butternut squash just for this. It was really a good lunch. Usually I do not like pumpkin or squash in such a large amount, but I loved this dish.

  10. Irene says

    Made this tonight with the nutritional yeast but had no idea how much to use. Obviously didn’t use enough as it didn’t taste ” cheesy” at all. It was still good, will try again. Any suggestions on how much?

  11. Victoria says

    I watched a video where the gal opened the bottom of a coconut milk can and poured out the liquid. What was left in the can was all the cream! Just thought I’d share that!

  12. ksymena says

    I tried making this however, by accident I ordered the creamed coconut that you recommend and do not have coconut cream. Can I substitute the creamed coconut for the coconut cream? This is all new to me, I have never cooked with anything coconut but would like to expand my culinary skills and heal at the same time. Thank you so much for all the wonderful resources.

  13. GMWill says

    I just purchased four of those coveted cans of Trader Joe’s legal pumpkin. I’m pretty sure one could use that instead of the butternut squash. Save some time, and lower carbon footprint as well. What say you? Thanks!

  14. Talmage says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe!
    I used broccoli instead of chicken for a delicious plant-based meal. Added a smidge of almond milk to increase wetness.
    If I had a hand mixer, I think the texture would’ve been perfect to mimic cheese. It’s really tough to get that smoothness by hand.
    Fantastic recipe!

  15. Jean says

    This is a bowl of decadent deliciousness! When I want it extra cheesy and comforting I throw in 2-3TB of Nutritional Yeast in addition to the Herbamare and then crumble a toasted lard or onion herb biscuit on top. It’s super satisfying and filling. Thanks for another winning dish :)

  16. Krista says

    Sadly, this was way too coconuty for my family. I’m going to use butter instead of coconut oil next time to see if that helps cut back on the coconut flavor, and I’m going to put in a lot more chicken.

  17. Ann says

    I loved this! I do agree with some suggestions above. I added 1T nutritional yeast. I might bump it to 2. I agree it would be great with broccoli. However, it’s a great base to start. Add mushrooms if you like? One question, yours looks MUCH creamier than mine – did you add cauliflower? Mine was very yellow & looked just like squash…it was delish & creamy tho!!

  18. Cpw says

    I agree with another poster that I have no idea how you came up with this, but I am so glad you did! I am going through yet another phase of being completely addicted to this. I often sprinkle some sunflower seeds on top for crunch. So good!

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