Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this tasty chicken casserole. The one-pot dish makes the perfect meal for anyone watching their carbs. A little cream, some cheddar cheese, and a variety of herbs jazz the casserole up and give it great flavor.
Cut the chicken breasts into cubes or slice them to make thin cutlets. Or use chicken tenders in the dish. Turkey breast cutlets are another lean option. If you'd like to add more vegetables, saute some mushrooms or onions along with the chicken and add them to the casserole. Or, for a burst of color, toss some minced pimientos with the cauliflower and herb mixture. To make a saucier casserole, replace the cream with 1 cup of this basic medium white sauce; stir it into the rice along with half of the shredded cheese. Use the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese for the topping.
Grated cauliflower makes an excellent rice or couscous replacement. Use a box grater or food processor to grate the cauliflower (instructions below). A combination of cauliflower and broccoli is another option, offering extra color and flavor.
One reader said that she used a combination of sliced broccoli and cauliflower in the casserole along with some extra cream. She served the chicken and vegetables with cooked rice.
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)
- 1 head cauliflower, grated (see instructions, below)
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs (e.g., dried basil, thyme, Italian blend, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Cut it into cubes or slice horizontally to make cutlets. Sprinkle the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add chicken and cook until browned on all sides and just tender, or about 10 to 12 minutes total. Add the heavy cream and stir to scrape up any browned bits.
- Heat the oven to 325 F (165 C/Gas 3).
- Spray a 7-by-11-inch baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray; add the grated cauliflower.
- Sprinkle the cauliflower lightly with salt and pepper, onion powder (if using), basil and thyme or a combination of herbs, and the fresh parsley.
- Top the cauliflower with the browned chicken; drizzle with the cream.
- Sprinkle the cheddar cheese over all.
- Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
How to Make "Cauliflower Rice"
- Cut florets from a head of cauliflower and put them in a food processor.
- Pulse until the cauliflower pieces are the size of grains of couscous or rice.
- For coarser grains, use the large shredding disk on the food processor or use a box grater.