Chicken Zucchini Noodle Casserole

I love outdoing myself every time I create a new recipe. I have been preparing a lot of vegan cheeses lately. This time, I found something a bit different. I am so proud of myself for meal planning again. I’ve been writing weekly meal logs and holding myself accountable for my meals. I’m really excited to be doing this as well in my upcoming challenge I’m holding in the next upcoming weeks. I’ve found all these awesome meals over the past few years and I am finally using them. Now, I’m bringing them to life!

As a child, I used to eat chicken or turkey tetrazzini out of the Stouffers box. I’m not going to lie, it’s really good. I love the creamy taste of the cheesy sauce with the breadcrumbs on top. The downside to this is when I was eating it, I was not aware of all of the crap that is put inside that tiny box. I don’t even remember how many ingredients are in there. I remember not feeling well after I ate any of that stuff. I honestly have no idea how my body used to eat and digest that as a child.

Anyway, one of the recipes I found reminded me of this childhood dish. I’m all about transforming my favorite childhood favorites into healthier meals that taste amazing! I had a recipe that I found through half baked harvest that reminded me of the turkey tetrazzini. I also went the extra mile to make a vegan gouda cheese because I really didn’t want to eat real cheese. Although this contains Greek yogurt, I still made this dish completely gluten-free by using zucchini noodles, gluten-free pasta, and terra chips instead of breadcrumbs. I was so proud to recreate my childhood favorite dish with the added version of veggies. This souped-up version of this dish will leave you begging for seconds (and thirds). Check out my version of my chicken and zucchini noodle casserole.

Inspired by: https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/one-pan-healthier-chicken-zucchini-noodle-casserole/

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups grated zucchini about 3 medium zucchini's
  • salt
  • 6-8 slices gluten-free bread
  • 3/4 pound boneless skinless, chicken tenders, diced
  • 1/2 of a small onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 box gluten free noodles
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt + pepper taste
  • 1 cup gouda cheese shredded **
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or more chicken broth
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed terra chips (or any other gluten-free crackers)

** For the gouda cheese (which I made vegan) courtesy of  http://juliasvegankitchen.blogspot.com/2011/07/smoked-cashew-gouda.html

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch turmeric (optional)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt, to taste (depends on your miso)
  • 1 3/4 cup (unsweetened) nondairy milk
  • scant 1/2 cup agar flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 TB light (yellow or white) miso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke

Directions:

1)      A few hours before you prepare the recipe, prepare the vegan gouda cheese. Start by placing cashews in a large-sized bowl of the food processor or vitamix and finely grind–just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, turmeric (if using), and salt. Pulse three more times to blend in spices.

2)      In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, agar flakes, and oil. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

3)      With the food processor running, gradually add milk mixture to cashew mixture. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Next blend in miso, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. It won’t take long for the sauce to start thickening up. Transfer to a mold. 

4)      Let it harden in the refrigerator for at least for 2-3 hours

5)      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

6)      Lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter and spread the grated zucchini out in a single layer. Sprinkle the zucchini with a little salt and then cover the zucchini with another clean towel. Let sit at least 10 minutes.

7)      Chop your vegetables and lay on a foiled baking sheet with the zucchini. Add your chicken to a separate baking sheet. Put in the oven for 30 minutes.

8)      Meanwhile, grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

9)      In a pot, add the chicken broth, wine, greek yogurt, and butter and boil until the butter is melted (5-10 minutes)

10)   To the bottom of the baking dish, add the cubed bread, making sure the bread mostly covers the bottom of the dish. Next, add the dried noodles. Add in the chicken broth (starting with 2 cups), wine, greek yogurt, and butter.

11)   In a separate bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs and add it to your dish.

12)   Add the chicken, grated onion, garlic, carrot, dried thyme, parsley, cayenne and a pinch of salt + pepper. Sprinkle the Gouda cheese on top and add the zucchini.

13)   Using clean hands (I prefer using my hands) or a spatula, mix all the ingredients up until the bread is well moistened and everything is evenly distributed. If the mixture seems dry, add more broth until well moistened. Sprinkle the terra chips over top the dish,

14)   Cover with foil and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and the casserole is no longer jiggly. Remove and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

15)   Serve with fresh herbs if desired. YUM!

Want to find more of your favorite recipes to prepare from the comfort of your own home? Check out 20 of my favorite recipes that I have modified to be gluten-free AND dairy-free!

 

Chicken Zucchini Noodle Casserole