Ranch Chicken Casserole (paleo, gluten free, grain free, Whole30)
I've been making homemade dairy-free ranch dressing lately and I had the idea to make a ranch chicken casserole. Originally, I wanted to make a buffalo chicken casserole but I didn't want it to be too spicy for my little girls. A few dashes of hot sauce gave the ranch chicken casserole a nice kick without being too spicy.
This casserole is really flavorful and the cauliflower "rice" makes it paleo and Whole30 friendly. It makes a big batch so there are plenty of leftovers. Matt and I ate it for lunch several days in a row without complaint!
Ranch Chicken Casserole
Makes a 9x13 inch casserole
1 large head of cauliflower
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
2-3 Tbs of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
2 tsp of Ranch Mix
sea salt and pepper
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup of Whole30 approved or vegan mayo
10 dashes of hot sauce (optional)
2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
4 drops of stevia (optional)
2 tsp of whole grain or dijon mustard
1-2 Tbs of Herby Ranch Mix
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs of Onion Powder
2 Tbs of Garlic Powder
1 Tbs of black pepper
1 tsp of dried tarragon
1 tsp of provincial herbs
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle 2 tsp of the ranch mix and a dash of sea salt over the chicken breasts. Drizzle with a tsp of olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. When the chicken is cooled, chop into chunks and set aside.
Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Add a Tbs of olive oil, diced onion and garlic and sauté for several minutes. When the onion is translucent, add the carrots and celery and continue to sauté until the carrots are slightly softened and golden. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and add more oil to the pan if needed.
Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower into large chunks and add to the food processor. Pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice grains. You will need to split up the cauliflower into several batches in the food processor. Fill a 9x13 pan halfway full with the riced cauliflower and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Save any extra cauliflower rice you have for another meal.
In a small bowl, combine the ranch sauce ingredients and set aside. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Add the cooked vegetables and chicken to the cauliflower rice. Stir to combine. Pour about half of the sauce on the casserole and mix until everything is coated. Drizzle 1/2 of the remaning sauce on top of the casserole. I had a little leftover but if you can add all of it if you wish!
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbling and golden brown. Serve with a crisp green salad.