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.

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

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

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 leaner, and there is no canned soup, no mayo, no frozen veggies… just delicious green fresh broccoli, lean chicken and a homemade gravy you’ll get raves about! 

Ingredients For This Healthy Chicken Divan

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless-skinless chicken breast
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 pieces medium crowns Broccoli
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons panko
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
ingredients for this recipe with labels

Step By Step Instructions To Make This Casserole

A traditional Chicken Divan casserole is yummy but normally 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.

coat a casserole dish with cooking spray

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray.

brown the chicken in the skillet

Step 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.

cook the onions and garlic then deglaze with sherry

Step 3: Return the skillet to medium heat and add 2 teaspoons of 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.

make the sauce

Step 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 it to a simmer, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken when it reaches the simmering point.

add the cooked chicken back to the sauce

Step 5: Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan and sour cream. Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juices.

steam the broccoli in the microwave

Step 6: 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 the cover, drain broccoli.

add the chicken to the casserole dish

Step 7: Add the broccoli to the chicken mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

cover with panko mixture and parmesan

Step 8: 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.

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

Expert Tips and FAQs For This Recipe

Can this be made in advance?

Prepare the casserole through step 7 and cover it 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 8.

What is the best way to reheat this casserole?

To Reheat in a microwave: cover loosely with a 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.

What goes with chicken divan?

I like to serve this with pasta, egg noodles 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. 
You can serve this Roasted Butternut Squash as a side dish too. 
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.

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 of 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.

More Healthy Comfort Foods: 

chicken and broccoli casserole over spaghetti

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Chicken Divan Casserole cuper close up look with a spoonful

Chicken Divan Recipe

  • 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 pieces (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. The sauce will thicken when it reaches the simmering point.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan and sour cream. Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juices.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the broccoli to the chicken mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  8. 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

Reheating Instructions

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
Healthy Chicken Divan