I don’t know about you, but as autumn gets closer, I find myself craving heartier, comfort-food dishes — meals that nourish both the body and the soul. And that’s how I’ve come up with this healthy chicken tetrazzini recipe. It’s exactly what you need as nights turn colder, and by the time spring comes again, I guarantee it will have made it onto your regular menu rotation.
What Is Tetrazzini?
Though it sounds Italian, you might be surprised to hear that chicken tetrazzini was actually created here in the States. As the legend goes, a chef at a San Francisco hotel restaurant named the dish after Luisa Tetrazzini, a famous Italian opera star at the time who lived at the hotel.
There are no hard and fast rules about the dish, so you find lots of variations among chicken tetrazzini recipes — different types of cheeses and noodles, various veggies thrown in and sometimes even tuna instead of chicken.
But one thing that seems to be a constant among tetrazzini recipes is the addition of creamed soups. Whether it’s cream of mushroom or cream of chicken, these soups add harmful ingredients into your food that don’t need to be there, particularly when you see just how easy chicken tetrazzini is to make from scratch.
My recipe for chicken tetrazzini is a better-for-you option that you’ll feel good about eating. Let’s talk about what makes this recipe different from the others.
For our noodles, we use brown rice spaghetti. I love using brown rice pasta because you get all of the healthy benefits of brown rice, like protection from heart disease, lower cholesterol levels thanks to fiber and bran content and a reduced risk of diabetes because of brown rice’s lower glycemic index. (2, 3, 4) Additionally, brown rice pasta is safe for gluten-free diets and tastes quite similar to whole-wheat pasta.
For some veggie power, I like using broccoli, peas and mushrooms in my chicken tetrazzini. Broccoli is an all-star vegetable. Its minerals and vitamins protect your heart health, and all of the vitamin A in broccoli keeps your skin looking fresh. (5)
Peas are rich in fiber and particularly high in vitamin K, which is essential in blood clotting and also bone calcification. And mushrooms are a terrific anti-inflammatory food, protecting you from harmful bacteria and disease. (6)
And we can’t forget about the cheese! You’ll get your cheesy fix by way of Percorino Romano and buffalo mozzarella cheeses. We’ll use coconut milk to get that cream factor just right.
If you’re wondering whether you’ll get the same flavor as traditional chicken tetrazzini without cream of mushroom soup, the answer is you’ll get an even better one! We’ll make our own white sauce right in the saucepan, without worrying about things like vegetable oils, MSG, excess sodium and artificial flavors, which “cream of” soups usually have.
So how does one serving of chicken tetrazzini stack up? (7)
- 234 calories
- 18.82 grams protein
- 11.18 grams fat
- 16.05 grams carbohydrates
- 4.643 milligrams vitamin B3 (33 percent DV)
- 0.306 milligrams vitamin B6 (24 percent DV)
- 507 IUs vitamin A (22 percent DV)
- 0.922 milligrams vitamin B5 (18 percent DV)
- 0.37 micrograms vitamin B12 (15 percent DV)
How to Make Chicken Tetrazzini
It’s time to make this chicken tetrazzini.
Start by preheating the oven to 400 F and cooking up your noodles based on the package instructions.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
Next, add flour and salt to the saucepan and stir to combine, cooking for no more than two minutes.
Slowly add the chicken broth to the pan, stirring to combine. Then bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring it constantly to keep from burning.
Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for another two minutes, until it thickens.
Next, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the coconut milk and Pecorino Romano. Keep stirring until the cheese melts.
Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and add the spaghetti and vegetables. Pour half of the sauce over it all.
Then top the tetrazzini with the chicken and drizzle the remaining sauce over it. Top it all off with the buffalo mozzarella.
Slide the baking dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Let the chicken tetrazzini cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
This healthy meal goes from prep to serving in under an hour, making it a feasible weekday dinner.
Serve this with a side salad, and you’re all set.
- 1 box brown rice spaghetti, broken in half and cooked al dente
- 1½ cups broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup mushrooms
- ½ white onion, chopped
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
- 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- ¼ cup cassava flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded
- 1 cup buffalo mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Cook pasta based on package instructions. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour and salt and stir to combine, cooking for no more than 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring to combine.
- Bring the mixture up to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Reduce heat and simmer for an additional 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut milk and Pecorino Romano until the cheese melts.
- Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish and add the spaghetti, broccoli, peas, mushrooms and white onion.
- Pour half of the sauce over it, top with the chicken and then drizzle the remaining sauce over the top.
- Top with buffalo mozzarella.
- Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.