Ok so I tried an even more lightened up version of Pinch of Yum’s cauliflower cream sauce a while back on this skinny mushroom and thyme pasta bake and it blows my mind! Seriously the possibilities are endless. I just hope I beat you to some of them so you’ll think I’m a genius. It’s been a total hit with my whole family. My kids and Ross ALL love it on pasta and say then can’t even tell it’s not our typical wing-it-homemade-alfredo. It’s seriously magic to me. And the macros are like NOTHING. I’ve been dying to experiment with it more but keep going back to pretty much the same thing… or all the things.. some pasta, tons of chicken, ALL the veggies.
But this time I decided to focus in on an old classic. But can I be real and tell you I didn’t know this was called Chicken Divan till I was like 30? In my house it was broccoli cheese casserole. Which is exactly what it is. But I’m loving that someone named it something so much more fancy so we can keep pretending we don’t make casseroles like our moms did.
OK but this is the kind of meal that BLOWS MY MIND because while of course I did less cheese than the old days, and I know I’ve got the sneaky cauliflower sauce in there instead of (ahem) canned cream soups (gasp), I sit down to a giant bowl of this and it’s everything I remember. Creamy, saucy, savory, cheesy, rich broccoli and chicken mixture with salty, toasty breadcrumbs on top. PURE comfort food. Takes me back to my birthday dinners (where I’d request this.) For real. I don’t know… so weird but it’s true.
But this comfort food has INSANE MACROS. I wish I’d taken a picture of my serving, it was more than 1/6th of this pan and it came to 15 carbs, and like 7.5 fat. MAGIC.
Growing up we’d eat it over rice or potatoes… And a few weeks ago I made it with twice the sauce and pasta all mixed in to bake together. But since I wanted more control over my macros, I kept it as is, and everyone chose their base. Pasta with extra sauce for the fam, cauliflower rice for me. Sometimes it weirds me out to eat cauliflower rice covered in more cauliflower… but just go with it.
Skinny Chicken Divan with Cauliflower Cream Sauce
For the Cauliflower Cream Sauce (this is a half batch of the original –make a whole batch if you like things saucier or want additional sauce to serve with an added starch. I included the halved portion for ease of importing the recipe if you’re a macro-counter.)
- About ½ head of cauliflower or one 10 oz bag of florets
- 4 cups chicken stock or enough to cover cauliflower in pot- only 1/2-1 cup added in sauce later
- 1/2 tbs butter
- 4 cloves garlic I use frozen dorot cubes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup milk I used fat free fairlife milk- best macros but it hardly matters in such a small quantity.
- 1 tsp curry powder optional if you like the flavor. I LOVE it, but Ross doesn’t, so I just sprinkled a bunch on my portion.
- 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
- For the Chicken Divan
- About 6-700 g of cauliflower cream sauce
- 4 cups chopped grilled chicken 530 g- I used my weekly bulk grilled chicken that I always have on hand. (Feel free to do more!)*
- 20 oz broccoli florets cooked according to package. I just buy the fresh in bags you can throw in the microwave.
- 2 oz sharp sheddar I used a yummy onion and chive one from Trader Joes (You could double the cheese and only add a few more grams of fat to each portion- if a portion is about 1/6th of a 9×13. If you’ve got room, that would of course be all the yummier! Of course you could use low fat if you like that too. I wanted something with more flavor.
- 1 large sandwich roll or any white bread chopped or broken into big bread crumbs- about 2 cups I used a 90 g bolillo roll
Make your Cauliflower Cream Sauce
- Bring 4 cups chicken broth to a boil in a large pot (or enough to cover the cauliflower). Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.
- While the cauliflower cooks, sauté the garlic and butter in a large nonstick skillet over LOW heat. Cook for several minutes until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not brown. You don’t want it bitter! Remove from heat and set aside.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to your blender. Add ½ cup of the hot chicken broth, the sautéed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, curry, lemon and milk. Blend or puree for a few minutes until the sauce is very smooth. You can add more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. I prefer at least another ½ cup broth. Discard remaining broth. Set sauce aside.
** UPDATE– I’ve gotten lazy and it’s working: You can also just steam your cauli in a bag, whether you buy fresh or frozen, florets or even riced. I just steam in the bag as directions allow so it’s nice and soft… then throw it in the blender with my sauteed butter and garlic… and the rest of the ingredients. Just 1 cup of chicken broth! So easy! For the Divan
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9×13 with nonstick cooking spray
- Combine cooked broccoli (I salt it a little), chopped cooked chicken (you could also use shredded rotisserie chicken), and cauliflower cream sauce in a large bowl so everything gets coated (or do it directly in your pan if you can handle stirring there!)
- Sprinkle with *2 oz grated cheese (56g), and top with bread crumbs.
- Spray the top of the breadcrumbs with a mist of cooking spray, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake for 35 minutes uncovered.
- I made a WHOLE batch of cauliflower sauce (and this is a half). I used half the batch in our divan and that was perfect for us. But it wasn’t super saucy like a classic divan filled with sour cream and mayo. If you want it to be saucier, double this batch or reference the original over here. And then use as much as you see fit. Maybe even all of it! Especially if you’re serving it over a grain. Or make the whole batch and use only half of it for easy logging (if you log this directly from MFP the macros account for the recipe as is) …and then if needed, you can spoon more sauce over your serving and estimate a few more macros. It’s so light! For 100 grams of cream sauce, mine came to 2.9c/1f/1.7p. You also have the option in MFP to log just the “Lillie Eats and Tells Cauliflower Cream Sauce.)
- My kids ate it over pasta, and I had mine with cauliflower rice. So comforting and nostalgic!
Tried this recipe?
Tag @LillieEatsAndTells on Instagram with #LillieEatsandTells! We’d love to see your creations!
This was a great dinner. The whole family loved it. This is a great meal to ease people into the curry flavor!
This is the second time I’ve made this recipe but this time I used leftover smoked Turkey from thanksgiving. It was so dang good! Love Lillie’s recipes but I really love that they’re so adaptable and that she often throws those adaptations out there. I made the extra sauce on the side and everyone loved having control over how saucy their portion was. Thanks for another great recipe!
This was my first introduction to Lillie’s recipes. The cauliflower cream sauce blew me away on its own, but this recipe as a whole was simply delicious. If I can make something that both myself (lover of healthy recipes) and my husband (not so much a lover of healthy recipes) can both enjoy together, it’s a clear win and this was one of those for sure!
LOVe tHis!! It is so fIlling anD a healthy twist on a classic favorite. Macros On point too!
Easy and so good and comfortinG. I Eat it on its own, no need for more rice or sides!
Can I use raw chicken with this and just cook the chicken in the oven with the meal?
I can’t find this recipe in MFP, can someone help me find it? Prepping it now to make for tomorrow’s dinner 🙂
Oh no! I feel like someone else said that… and maybe they ended up only finding it on their phone and not computer or other way around! Message me through IG if you’re ever in a hurry. I’m much better at responding over there!
First–thanks so much for all you do!! I’ve tried several of your recipes and they’re all amazing. So great to not feel like I need to cook a separate “healthy” meal for myself while my family chows down on the good stuff 🙂 If I wanted to incorporate pasta in to this (like your Mushroom Thyme) would you just stir in, add a little more sauce, and leave off the breadcrumbs? Or should I make as is and serve OVER pasta like you mentioned your kids did? Thanks again!!
We do that sometimes!And yeah I double the sauce and still add the bread crumbs!
Planning a freezer cooking day. Could this be made and frozen before baking?
Ok so I haven’t done it yet… but I would! It might come out with a little more liquid. Let me know if you do! I might add the bread crumbs just before bake.
This was incredibly tasty! This is my 3rd of your recipes made within a three week period (CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SPAGHETTI SQUASH CASSEROLE, this one and INSTANT POT CREAMY TOMATO CHICKEN SOUP)!!! All worth it and have been requested be made again. It helps that they all use the cauliflower cream sauce!
Yay! SO glad they’re working for you!
Another amazing recipe! My husband loves it so much. I told him the sauce was cauliflower after he ate the leftovers. Made it the following week, and he devoured it again!
Making this for my family tonight!! Just prepped it and all I have to do is throw it in the oven. Super excited to see what they think of the cauliflower sauce in place of cream of mushroom or something along those lines!! Thanks for the recipe!
Hope it was a success Dayna!
This recipe is so simple to make! Just a few ingredients. And if you already have the cauliflower sauce on hand its perfect! I love how so many recipes call for the same thing. Like make a whole batch of the cauliflower sauce and save half for one recipe and half for another. It turned out great! Will definitely make again
Hey Lilliee—how do we import your recipe in my fitness pal? What should we type in to search for it. Thanks so much!
Hi Jennifer! Ok go to your MFP app and click on recipes under more.. then there’s an option to create your own or import from the web. Click on that and you’ll enter in the URL of that specific recipe. It’s always not perfect so just look over everything and you might have to find a more accurate grilled chicken etc.. sometimes I put in caulifllowr and it brings up like some random brand of cauli pasta or something.. so double check everything – but it simplifies it for sure!