Have you noticed that I am really getting into a groove here with these comfort food makeovers? Today I made Chicken Divan with broccoli, (a little) sour cream and Parmesan- it’s a healthy version of the comfort food casserole made without canned soup and no mayo! It’s the creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole classic recipe we all love, but it’s made entirely from scratch.

overhead close up of chicken divan casserole

This post contains affiliate links. I originally shared this recipe on November 18th, 2016. I have updated the text today.

You know how when you shop while hungry you buy all sorts of random stuff? Bad idea! Well, how about when you shop somewhere you don’t normally go? That’s equally as bad.

This past weekend Jase, the girls and I went to a store we don’t normally shop at. I had a humungous list, with stuff for work, stuff for the school week, stuff for dinner — it was epic. So this was destined to be a long shop. We made it out in about an hour with everything on our list (except inexplicably milk and half and half.) And we also ended up with about a thousand things that weren’t on our list!

Part of that is due to the fact that the hubby was along and no matter where we shop, he loves to act like his 8-year-old self and put junk food into the cart while I am not looking. And then pretends he doesn’t know where the Sriracha Wasabi Peas came from. But it was also a super long and noteworthy experience because when you’re not just going through the usual “one of these, two of these. I always buy this thing,” you end up looking around and see a whole world of groceries to discover and try. Which can be cool.

But it can also be sad. Because what I also noticed and was struck by was the massive amount of processed food-products in the middle aisles of the grocery store. The packages of noodle bake kits and not real food convenience meals with maltodextrin used to keep the food-product particles in perfect suspension. It was depressing.

You know what would cheer us up after all that? What would give us hope? Some comfort food! That’s made entirely from scratch and healthier. Enter: this amazingly delish (and easy) Chicken Divan made from scratch!

chicken and broccoli casserole over spaghetti

What is Chicken Divan?

Chicken Divan is a broccoli and chicken casserole in creamy gravy that’s enriched with mayonnaise. It’s often made with cream of mushroom soup, whole milk, sour cream and/or mayonnaise, and a good amount of buttery breadcrumbs. It’s the type of dish your mom and grandma likely grew up eating, and you’ve probably eaten it at least once in your life (even if you didn’t realize it at the time!). 

I’ve only made the original canned soup version once, and it had frozen broccoli, mushroom soup and a lot of mayonnaise in it. It was so rich and salty, I could see why it’s such a crowd pleasing classic. 

This version, though it tastes savory and rich, is much more lean, and there is no canned soup, no mayo, no frozen veggies… just delicious green fresh broccoli, lean chicken and a home made gravy you’ll get raves about! 

How to Make Healthy Chicken Divan 

As I said, traditional chicken divan is crazy yummy, but normally mega high in calories. I had to play around with this healthier formula a bit because I wanted to make it without the added calories of mayonnaise, but I wanted it to seem rich and saucy like traditional Chicken Divan.

  1. I decided that I wanted to try to make the chicken and the vegetable sauce in one pot, so I first seared the chicken to brown it, and to increase the flavor of the sauce.
  2. Next, I sautéed the garlic and onion in the skillet with the fond from the chicken.
  3. Then comes sherry, which always makes recipes taste a million times more comfort foody in my opinion.
  4. I thickened the broth with a basic flour slurry.
  5. Then finished it with a small yet vital amount of sour cream. (Just a ¼ cup for 6 servings—worth every gram of fat!)
  6. Transfer it into a greased casserole dish and then Parmesan seals the deal.

A close up look into a casserole of chicken divan with broccoli

Using Fresh Broccoli For Chicken Divan

One of the hallmarks of Chicken Divan, which is typically made with frozen broccoli, is the soft, soaked in gravy texture of the broccoli. But when I was making this version from scratch with FRESH broccoli, the broccoli was coming out crunchy.

After a couple recipe tests, I ended up finding that if I partially cooked the broccoli it in the microwave first, it could soften ever so slightly. That way it cooked more quickly in the sauce but didn’t get mushy.

Now, it cooks a little more in the oven as the breadcrumb topping browns, and the end result is that classic tender broccoli texture everyone knows and loves about chicken divan.

 

 

 

How To Make This Chicken Divan Casserole In Advance 

Prepare the casserole through step 6 and cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 1 day. Transfer covered to a 350 degrees oven and heat through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil, then continue with adding topping etc with step 7.

How To Reheat Chicken Divan

To Reheat in a microwave: cover loosely with paper towel or parchment. Heat on half power for four minutes. Test to see if it is hot through with an instant read thermometer. If not, continue heating at half power for one minute at a time.

To Reheat in the oven: Cover loosely with foil. Heat at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until it is hot all the way through.

overhead tablescape with a casserole of chicken divan, and a bowl of pasta

What To Serve With Chicken Divan

  1. I like to serve this with pasta or crusty bread because all the sauce needs some sort of starch to go with it. If you are watching your carbs, you can also use Cauliflower Rice as your side dish. 
  2. You can serve this Roasted Butternut Squash as a side dish too. 
  3. For a menu where you’ll be serving vegetarians too, you could also serve a more substantial starch side dish that could stand in as a vegetarian main course, like this Vegetarian Thanksgiving Pilaf with Pumpkin.

 

 

More Healthy Comfort Foods: 

I have been obsessing over these Oven Baked Meatballs with Parmesan this fall. 

Slow Cooker Beef Chuck with Pasta – one of my all time “near and dear” recipes.

Healthy 30-Minute Chicken Parmesan– for chicken lovers, this is a much healthier way of enjoying Chicken Parm.

Healthy Mac and Cheese with Kale, this is a simple stove-top mac and cheese. Super fast for a weeknight.

Healthy Chicken Paprika Skillet– if you love creamy chicken recipes, you have to make this one! 

Spicy Caramelized Pasta from The Original Dish- so creamy!!!

Italian Baked Chicken Meatballs from Modern Proper

30 Minute Gnocchi all’Amatriciana from Plays Well With Butter

 

This is comfort food my friends. Spoon this over egg noodles and you’ll never glance at another processed meal kit packet again.

Happy Cooking!
~Katie

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Chicken Divan Casserole cuper close up look with a spoonful

Chicken Divan

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Chicken Divan is a healthy comfort food make over made with no mayonnaise. The chicken and tons of broccoli are cooked in a creamy sauce in one pot. Ready in under 1 hour it’s the perfect cozy Winter dinner!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless-skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 pieces medium crowns Broccoli chopped into small (about 6 cups)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons panko
  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring once or twice, until browned on the outside and just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil.
  3. Return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 teaspoons oil. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and cook, stirring often until the onion is softened and starting to brown slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add sherry, increase heat to high and simmer, scraping up any browned bits (or until the sherry is almost completely evaporated), 1 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in 1 ½ cups broth and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir the remaining ½ cup broth and flour in a small bowl to make a slurry. Gradually whisk the slurry into the simmering vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan and sour cream. Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juices.
  5. Meanwhile, place broccoli and ½ cup water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with a layer of parchment and then a layer of plastic wrap and microwave until the broccoli is bright green, about 2 minutes. Carefully remove cover, drain broccoli.
  6. Add the broccoli to the chicken mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  7. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan. Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon oil with panko and paprika in a small dish. Sprinkle over the casserole. Bake until hot all the way through and the top is golden, 15 to 22 minutes.

Notes

This casserole can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven.

To Reheat in a microwave: cover loosely with paper towel or parchment. Heat on half power for four minutes. Test to see if it is hot through with an instant read thermometer. If not, continue heating at half power for one minute at a time.

To Reheat in the oven: Cover loosely with foil. Heat at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until it is hot all the way through.

To Make Ahead: Prepare through step 6 and cover with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 1 day. Transfer covered to a 350 degrees oven and heat through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove foil, then continue with adding topping etc with step 7.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 292
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 61 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 24 g

 

Chicken Divan Casserole, made from scratch with broccoli is a healthy comfort food dinner the whole family will adore! #healthyseasonal #chickendivan #chickenandbroccoli #casserole #healthy #fromscratch