Great Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole

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Updated on May 21, 2024

Are you exhausted from trawling the internet for dairy-free chicken casserole recipes? We recognise your struggle. After countless hours of investigating and numerous trials, we can affirm that mouth-watering lactose-free casseroles aren’t just figments of our imagination but are surprisingly simple to rustle up! Together, through this blog post, we’ll navigate a veritable smorgasbord of delectable dairy-free twists on classic chicken casseroles using an abundance of plant-based alternatives.

Are you prepared for a culinary adventure? Let’s get cracking, then!

Benefits of Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole Recipes

A dairy-free chicken casserole with colorful vegetables and herbs.

Dairy-free chicken casserole recipes offer a healthier alternative for individuals with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, as they are free from saturated fat and cholesterol.

Suitable for Individuals with Lactose Intolerance or Dairy Allergies

Milk and dairy can make some people sick. These folks have a problem called lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. They need to keep away from all foods that have milk in them. Dairy-free chicken casserole is perfect for them! This dish has no milk or dairy at all.

Instead, it uses things like plant-based milk and vegan cheese. It’s a meal they can enjoy without worry!

Healthier Alternative with Reduced Saturated Fat and Cholesterol

Eating dairy-free chicken casserole is good for your heart. This dish has less saturated fat and cholesterol than meals with dairy. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and eggs can be high in these fats. So when we take them out of our recipes, the food gets healthier.

A healthy heart needs care. One way to give your heart this care is by eating low-fat foods. A dairy-free chicken casserole does just that! It’s a tasty meal you’ll love to eat time and again. Cutting down on saturated fats helps lower your blood cholesterol, too. With less cholesterol, there’s less risk of heart disease, making it a win-win situation!

Types of Dairy Substitutes in Chicken Casserole Recipes

Several types of dairy substitutes can be used in chicken casserole recipes, such as plant-based milk alternatives like almond milk and coconut milk, as well as non-dairy cheese substitutes like vegan cheese and nutritional yeast.

Plant-based Milk Alternatives (e.g. Almond Milk, Coconut Milk)

Dairy-free chicken casserole

We love using plant-based milk alternatives in our dairy-free chicken casserole recipes. Almond and coconut milk are at the top of our list. They’re super yummy and great for people who can’t have normal milk.

Plus, they cut down on fat and bad stuff like cholesterol. Did you know almond, soy, and oat milk are thicker than rice milk? But if you want something with less protein, rice milk is the one to go for! Then, there’s coconut milk.

it’s full of flavour but watch out as it’s high in calories too. Soy milk is another good choice because you can use it in all types of cooking not just casseroles! These vegan milks offer a world of options for those who need or want them over regular dairy products.

Non-dairy Cheese Substitutes (e.g. Vegan Cheese, Nutritional Yeast)

Vegan cheese and nutritional yeast are great non-dairy cheese substitutes. These plant-based products make tasty chicken casseroles that everyone can enjoy. Vegan cheese melts just like dairy cheese, while nutritional yeast gives a rich, cheesy flavour.

Nutritional yeast is also packed with B vitamins and protein. It can even make a creamy sauce without nuts, tofu or dairy! So you see, cooking with these substitutes is not just for people who avoid dairy or meat. Anyone who loves food will find it useful in their kitchen, too!

Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole Recipe Ideas

Some dairy-free chicken casserole recipe ideas include a classic chicken and vegetable casserole with a dairy-free creamy sauce, a Mexican-inspired dairy-free chicken enchilada casserole, and a Mediterranean-style dairy-free chicken and rice casserole.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Chicken Casserole

This recipe brings a burst of Mediterranean flavour to your casserole with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach.

Ingredients

  • Cooked and shredded chicken (around 2-3 cups)
  • Frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry, 10 oz package)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (chopped, 1/2 cup – not packed in oil)
  • Gluten-free all-purpose flour (1/4 cup)
  • Chicken broth (2 cups)
  • Coconut milk (light or full-fat, 1 cup)
  • Italian seasoning (1 teaspoon)
  • Garlic (minced, 2 cloves)
  • Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans (toasted, 1/2 cup) or gluten-free bread crumbs (panko style works well, 1 cup) for toppings.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a casserole dish.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Stir in flour and cook for another minute, whisking constantly to form a roux.
  • Slowly whisk in chicken broth and coconut milk, bringing to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Stir in Italian seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes, and cooked chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, toss thawed spinach with a squeeze of lemon juice (optional) to remove any bitterness.
  • Fold the spinach into the chicken mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Choose your topping: sprinkle with chopped nuts, bread crumbs, or both.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve.

No-Bake Chicken and Vegetable Frittata Casserole

This recipe offers a quick and easy option for a satisfying casserole, perfect for busy weeknights.

Ingredients

  • Cooked and shredded chicken (around 2-3 cups)
  • Mixed vegetables (chopped broccoli, carrots, peas, etc. – about 2 cups)
  • Eggs (large, 6)
  • Unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond milk or cashew milk, 1 cup)
  • Onion (chopped, 1/2 medium)
  • Garlic (minced, 2 cloves)
  • Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a casserole dish.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and dairy-free milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir in cooked chicken, vegetables, sautéed onion, and garlic mixture.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the centre is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Garnish with fresh chives (optional) and serve.

Fiesta Chicken and Black Bean Casserole

This recipe packs a flavourful punch with Mexican-inspired ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Cooked and shredded chicken (around 2-3 cups)
  • Black beans (rinsed and drained, 1 can)
  • Corn (drained, 1 cup)
  • Salsa (medium or your preferred spice level, 1 cup)
  • Cooked brown rice (optional, 1 cup)
  • Chicken broth (1 cup)
  • Taco seasoning (1 tablespoon)
  • Onion (chopped, 1/2 medium)
  • Garlic (minced, 2 cloves)
  • Olive oil (1 tablespoon)
  • Cilantro (chopped, for garnish)
  • Avocado (sliced, for garnish – optional)
  • Optional toppings: Sliced green onions, chopped fresh tomatoes

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a casserole dish.
  • Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil over

Classic Chicken and Vegetable Casserole with Dairy-free Creamy Sauce

This classic chicken and vegetable casserole with dairy-free creamy sauce is a true treat. It’s perfect for those who can’t have milk or are choosing to eat less of it. The creamy sauce without any milk is the star of this dish.

It blends well with tender chicken and fresh veggies. This recipe uses tasty things like red wine, balsamic and spices that boost the taste even more! For those who follow special diets, there are options too! You can make this meal gluten-free or fit it into plans like Whole30, Paleo, or Keto.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and shredded
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (for garnish, optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
  3. Add cooked and shredded chicken, broccoli, carrots, and celery to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly softened.
  4. Whisk together diced tomatoes, almond milk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, tapioca flour, thyme, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetable mixture into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  7. (Optional) Top with a layer of gluten-free breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and heated through.
  9. Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve hot.

Tips

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to the mixture for a richer flavour.
  • If you don’t have tapioca flour, you can use an additional 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • Feel free to substitute your favourite dairy-free milk for the almond milk.
  • Experiment with different vegetables like peas, green beans, or zucchini.
  • Serve this casserole with a side of brown rice or quinoa for a complete meal.

Mexican-inspired Dairy-free Chicken Enchilada Casserole

We love making Mexican-inspired dairy-free chicken enchilada casserole. It’s full of yummy layers, just like real enchiladas. You can make this dish in a slow cooker for ease. Dairy-free cheese makes it friendly for those who avoid milk products.

The meal also has creamy refried beans and homemade enchilada sauce. We’ve even found a way to make this dish fit the paleo diet! Grain-free and dairy-free ingredients create tasty Paleo chicken enchiladas.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cooked and shredded
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chiles (mild or spicy, depending on preference)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 10 corn tortillas (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish, optional)
  • Avocado slices (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
  3. Add cooked and shredded chicken, black beans, and corn to the skillet. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. In a blender, combine diced tomatoes with green chiles, diced tomatoes, cashew milk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, tapioca flour, chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetable mixture into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  6. Spoon about a cup of the sauce mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange 4-5 tortillas over the sauce, overlapping slightly.
  7. Top the tortillas with half of the remaining chicken mixture. Pour over half of the remaining sauce. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, chicken mixture, and sauce.
  8. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly on top.
  10. Garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado slices (optional) and serve hot.

Tips

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • For a cheesier flavour, sprinkle your favourite dairy-free shredded cheese on top of the casserole before baking for the final 10-15 minutes.
  • Adjust the spices to your liking. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for a spicier kick.
  • Use leftover rotisserie chicken for a quicker and easier preparation.
  • Substitute corn tortillas with your favourite gluten-free tortillas.
  • Serve with a side of Spanish rice or black beans for a complete meal.

Mediterranean-style Dairy-free Chicken and Rice Casserole

The Mediterranean-style dairy-free chicken and rice casserole is a dish to love. This joy in a pot mixes tasty chicken, creamy rice and crisp golden crumbs. It sits well with adults and kids alike.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange)
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (not packed in oil)
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (or arrowroot starch)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (for garnish, optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the chicken pieces. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown on all sides.
  4. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are slightly softened.
  5. Stir in the uncooked rice and cook for an additional minute, coating the rice with the oil and spices.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together diced tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable broth, cornstarch, tapioca flour, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and vegetable mixture into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  8. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  9. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until rice is cooked through and the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  10. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown.
  11. Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve hot.

Tips

  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • For a richer flavour, add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the sauce mixture.
  • Feel free to use other chopped vegetables like mushrooms, green beans, or artichoke hearts.
  • If you don’t have tapioca flour, you can use an additional 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
  • Substitute brown rice for basmati rice for a nuttier flavour, and add fibre.
  • Serve this casserole with a side of crusty bread or a simple green salad for a complete meal.

Troubleshooting Your Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole: A Guide to Delicious Results

Creating a delicious and satisfying dairy-free chicken casserole can be a rewarding experience. However, even the best-laid plans can encounter a few bumps in the road. This troubleshooting section addresses some common issues you might face and offers solutions to get your casserole back on track:

My Casserole Isn’t Creamy Enough

There are a few reasons why your casserole might lack creaminess. Here’s how to address them:

  • Thin Coconut Milk Sauce: Coconut milk can vary in thickness depending on the brand. If your sauce seems too thin after simmering, try one of these options:
    • Reduce the Sauce: Simmer the sauce for a few extra minutes without the chicken and rice to allow it to thicken slightly.
    • Cornstarch Slurry: Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water or chicken broth to create a slurry. Whisk it into the simmering sauce and cook for another minute until thickened.
  • Cashew Cream Consistency: If your cashew cream is too thick, it can make the casserole feel dense. Simply add a splash of water or vegetable broth, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches a pourable consistency.
  • Roux Not Thickening: A roux is the base for thickening the sauce in this recipe. It might not have cooked long enough if it’s not thickening properly. Try whisking the flour and olive oil mixture for a full minute over medium heat to allow the flour to cook out its raw flavour.

My Casserole is Too Dry

A dry casserole can be unappetising. Here are some solutions:

  • Vegetable Choice: Broccoli can release some water while cooking, but some vegetables, like carrots or peas, don’t add much moisture. Consider adding more moisture-rich vegetables like chopped zucchini or mushrooms.
  • Overcooked Chicken: Dry, overcooked chicken can contribute to a dry casserole. Ensure your chicken is cooked through but still moist. Shred it with two forks to retain some texture and prevent dryness.
  • Extra Broth or Milk: If the casserole seems dry after assembling, you can carefully add a little extra chicken broth or your chosen dairy-free milk (a few tablespoons at a time) before baking. This will add moisture without making the casserole soupy.

My Casserole is Too Soupy

A casserole that’s too soupy won’t hold its shape well. Here’s how to fix it:

  • Thicken the Sauce: Recipes offer suggestions for thickening the sauce using cornstarch slurry or simmering it for a few extra minutes.
  • Add Absorbent Ingredients: If the issue persists, consider adding some cooked rice or quinoa to the casserole mixture before baking. These will absorb excess liquid and help firm up the casserole.
  • Baking Time: Sometimes, all it needs is a bit more baking time. Towards the end of the recommended baking time, keep an eye on the casserole and continue baking if it still seems too loose in the centre.

My Casserole Top Burns Before the Centre is Cooked

Burning on the top doesn’t necessarily mean the centre is cooked through. Here are some tips to prevent this:

  • Covering the Casserole: Tent the casserole dish with aluminium foil during the initial baking time. This traps the heat and steams the casserole, preventing the top from browning too quickly. Remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking to allow the top to brown nicely.
  • Lowering the Oven Temperature: If burning persists, try reducing the oven temperature by 25°F (15°C) and increasing the baking time by 5-10 minutes. This allows the casserole to cook through gently without burning the top.
  • Using Bread Crumb Topping Sparingly: A thick layer of bread crumbs can brown quickly. Use a moderate amount of topping or sprinkle it on towards the end of baking for added crunch without burning.

My Casserole Lacks Flavour

A bland casserole can be disappointing. Here’s how to boost the flavour:

  • Seasoning is Key: Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper! Season each layer of your casserole (chicken, vegetables, sauce) as you assemble it. This ensures an even distribution of flavour throughout the dish.
  • Herbs and Spices: Go beyond the basics! Explore different herbs and spices that complement the ingredients in your chosen recipe.

Tips for Making Delicious Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole

Enhance the flavour of your dairy-free chicken casserole with a variety of seasonings and spices. Use proper cooking techniques to ensure tender chicken, and get creative with ingredient substitutions for added texture and taste.

Seasoning and Spices to Enhance Flavour

When it comes to making a delicious dairy-free chicken casserole, seasoning and spices play a vital role in enhancing the flavour. The right combinations of herbs and spices can add depth and tantalising aromas to your dish.

Think about delicate notes of garlic and parsley or adding a kick with fresh chilli and coriander. These simple additions can elevate a plain chicken casserole into a flavourful masterpiece.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different seasonings like paprika, thyme, or even curry powder for an exotic twist. The key is to find flavours that complement each other and bring out the best in your dairy-free chicken casserole recipe.

Proper Cooking Techniques for Tender Chicken

When it comes to making tender chicken for your dairy-free casseroles, there are a few important cooking techniques to keep in mind. First, marinating the chicken beforehand can help to add flavour and ensure that it stays juicy during cooking.

You can use a mixture of herbs, spices, and even acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar for the marinade. Secondly, when cooking chicken breast, be careful not to overcook it as this can result in dry meat.

Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) but no higher. Lastly, consider using cooking methods like baking or braising instead of frying, as they allow for more gentle heat and better moisture retention.

Creative Ingredient Substitutions for Added Texture and Taste

We love getting creative with ingredient substitutions to add texture and taste to dairy-free chicken casserole recipes. Instead of regular cheese, we often reach for vegan alternatives or nutritional yeast, which gives a cheesy flavour without any dairy.

When it comes to creamy sauces, plant-based milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk work wonders. Another trick is using dairy-free sour cream or yoghurt instead of regular versions.

We experiment with flavourful seasoning substitutes to enhance flavours without relying on dairy. Adding ingredients like mushrooms or vegetables can also bring a delicious texture and flavour to these casseroles.

Conclusion

Dairy-free chicken casserole recipes offer a tasty and healthier option for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. You can still enjoy creamy and delicious casseroles without sacrificing flavour with various substitutes, like almond milk and vegan cheese.

Try out some of the recipe ideas mentioned to discover new favourites that are both satisfying and easy to make.

FAQs

1. Can I make a dairy-free chicken casserole?

Yes, you can make a delicious dairy-free chicken casserole by using alternative ingredients such as plant-based milk or broth instead of dairy milk or cream.

2. What are some alternatives to dairy in a chicken casserole?

Some alternatives to dairy in a chicken casserole include using coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or vegetable broth as a substitute for dairy products like cream or cheese.

3. Are there any specific recipes for dairy-free chicken casseroles?

Yes, there are many recipes available online that provide step-by-step instructions on how to make tasty and creamy dairy-free chicken casseroles using alternative ingredients and seasonings.

4. Can I use non-dairy cheese in my chicken casserole?

Yes, you can use non-dairy cheese alternatives made from plant-based ingredients like cashews or soy in your chicken casserole recipe to achieve a cheesy flavour without the use of traditional dairy products.

5. Will the taste be different if I make a dairy-free version of the chicken casserole?

The taste of a dairy-free version of the chicken casserole may differ slightly from the traditional version, but with proper seasoning and flavourful ingredients, it can still be delicious and satisfying.

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