"Chicken" Divan with Jackfruit

 To be honest, I had never even heard of Chicken Divan until I was married and my husband introduced me to this southern classic. It was a staple and favorite in his house growing up! It is traditionally a creamy, cheesey, chicken, and broccoli comfort food that is often served with rice. Since going vegan we haven’t been able to have this dish in years, so naturally it was one that needed veganizing! Using jackfruit in place of the chicken works very well as long a you cook the brine flavor out of the jackfruit first. I took the suggestion of my friend Mike who said his grandmother always added curry powder, and he was right! It is a delicious addition! So if you have never heard of this dish, or have had it in the past and miss it, go ahead and try this vegan version. I think you will be pleasantly surprised! And thanks to my mother in law, Debbi, for introducing me to this southern classic!! We wouldn’t have this vegan version with you!

To be honest, I had never even heard of Chicken Divan until I was married and my husband introduced me to this southern classic. It was a staple and favorite in his house growing up! It is traditionally a creamy, cheesey, chicken, and broccoli comfort food that is often served with rice. Since going vegan we haven’t been able to have this dish in years, so naturally it was one that needed veganizing! Using jackfruit in place of the chicken works very well as long a you cook the brine flavor out of the jackfruit first. I took the suggestion of my friend Mike who said his grandmother always added curry powder, and he was right! It is a delicious addition! So if you have never heard of this dish, or have had it in the past and miss it, go ahead and try this vegan version. I think you will be pleasantly surprised! And thanks to my mother in law, Debbi, for introducing me to this southern classic!! We wouldn’t have this vegan version with you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of jackfruit in brine

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 1 cup vegan sour cream or plain yogurt (I use Kite Hill plain almond milk yogurt)

  • 1 cup vegan mayo

  • 1 cup vegan cheddar shreds

  • 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon, plus 3 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup cashews

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch

  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 of a small yellow onion

  • 2 teaspoon curry powder

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (use whatever bread you have laying around, gf works fine too)

  • 2 tablespoon melted butter

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. Drain jackfruit. Chop or use hands to break up the pieces to resemble shredded meat.

  2. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the Better Than Bouillon and 3 tablespoons of water. Next, add in the jackfruit, and allow to cook until all of the liquid is absorbed. Cooking the jackfruit like this will help cut down on some of the brine flavor it has.

  3. Wash and chop up the head of broccoli. Add it to the pot with the jackfruit, and allow the broccoli to cook for 3-5 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Once it’s done remove the pot from the heat, set aside.

  4. Put the cashews in a microwave safe container. Cover them in water and microwave for 3 minutes. Place the 1/2 onion into a high speed blender or food processor and blend until it is broken down. Drain the water from the cashews and add them, plus the 1 cup of fresh water, nutritional yeast, starch, and lemon juice to the blender with the onion. Process until the mixture is completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a sauce pan and heat on medium/low heat, whisking the whole time, until the mixture begins to thicken into a thin pudding consistency.

  5. Pour the cashew mixture over the jackfruit and broccoli. Add in the sour cream, mayo, curry powder, cheddar shreds, salt and pepper to taste, and stir until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking pan.

  6. In your blender or food processor, break down the soft bread into crumbs. Stir in the melted butter and spread the mixture evenly over the casserole. Bake the casserole for 35 - 45 minutes on the middle rack of your oven.

  7. Serve “chicken” divan as is, or over rice, and sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese.

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