Going into the new year, one of my goals has been to eat a more plant-based diet. While I’m not living a completely meat free lifestyle, I’ve found that eating less meat just works well for me and my lifestyle goals. While this has been an easy change for me to make, my family has been more resistant. They have moaned and groaned and insisted that plant-based meals can’t be delicious but I’ve known how very wrong they are. With that in mind and my goal of eating more plant-based meals firmly in place, I decided the only thing to do was show them how delicious plant-based eating can be. So, I pulled out my family cookbook of recipe favorites, found one of my best dishes that my family adores and gave it a makeover using some of my my favorite plant-based ingredients. Out of my experimentation came a new take on a classic comfort food that my family loves and that I feel great about serving. If you think plant-based eating can’t be delicious and that you can’t whip up those warm winter dishes that you adore without meat, I challenge you to think again as you create my Vegetarian Faux Chicken and Rice Bake.
This easy plant-based dish uses a few simple yet delicious substitutions to transform a hearty comfort food into a meat-free dish that everyone in the family is sure to adore.
So, let’s make this Vegetarian Faux Chicken and Rice Bake why don’t we?
- 2 bags of Riced Cauliflower
- 1 and ½ bags of Meat Free Crispy Tenders
- 1 and ½ tablespoons of Butter Spread
- 2 tablespoons of almond flour
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 1 cup of cooked broccoli
- ½ cup of dairy free cheese
- Green onions for garnish
- Cook the meat free Crispy Tenders according to the directions on the package.
- Cook both the Riced Cauliflower and broccoli completely.
- Mix together the cooked riced cauliflower and broccoli and spread it into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Top the vegetables with the cooked meat free Crispy Tenders.
- Add the Butter to a saute pan on low eat.
- Once melted, mix in the almond flour to create a roux.
- Add the almond milk slowly and allow the sauce to cook until it thickens, stirring constantly.
- Pour the almond milk sauce over the top of the tenders.
- Top with cheese and broil for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
- Sprinkle on green onions and serve as a complete meal.
This Vegetarian Faux Chicken and Rice Bake is seriously so easy to make and it’s bursting with flavor thanks to the awesome plant-based ingredients that it includes. To start, I open my meat free Crispy Tenders and cook them according to the directions on the package.
While my meat free Crispy Tenders are cooking, I use the microwave to cook my Riced Cauliflower. Now, I have to tell you that this favorite substitution that I find with the frozen veggies section is my go-to for lowering carbs and boosting flavor. It has the taste and texture of rice and as an added bonus, my boys always eat it up making it a total win for this mama of picky littles!
Once my Riced Cauliflower is cooked, I simply mix in my cooked broccoli (it’s a great way to add an extra veggies and honestly, my mama always added broccoli to our chicken and rice bake when I was growing up so it’s just habit!) and spread the mixture into the bottom of a baking dish.
When the timer goes off on the oven for my meat free Crispy Tenders, I transfer them to the top of my riced cauliflower mixture and fit as many in as I can since they make the dish so delicious.
With my tenders in place, all I really need is a sauce to complete this dish and in keeping with the plant-based theme of my meal, I created a simply one from butter spread, almond flour and almond milk. This easy-to-make sauce uses the basic concept of a roux to add a creaminess to this dish that makes it a true comfort food. To make my sauce, I simply add my butter to a saute pan and allow it to melt.
Once the butter is melted, I mix in my almond flour and stir it gently, creating a consistency that is almost paste-like.
Then I simply add my almond milk a little at a time while stirring constantly to create a thick and creamy sauce that’s perfect for topping my Vegetarian Faux Chicken and Rice Bake.
Once I’ve poured my creamy sauce over the top of my meat free Crispy Chicken Tenders, I sprinkle my vegan cheese over the top and pop it in the oven on low broil for about 5-7 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese.
When it comes out, all that’s left to do is sprinkle on some diced green onions and serve up this plant-based dish to my waiting family and I have to say, it does not disappoint.
By making simple substitutions in this dish, I’m able to offer my family a meatless take on one of their favorite meals while ensuring that they are getting a balanced dinner that I can feel great about serving. Even better, I’m able to include them in my new found love of plant-based eating and serve up meals that they adore in a simple, convenient and delicious way.
Now tell me, what’s your favorite vegetarian dish?