Chicken Dive In!

My mom used to make Chicken Divan when company came over for dinner.  It seemed very gourmet at the time because for us it was so different.  My mom was a total “health nut” and our normal meals usually consisted of veggie stir fries, big pots of beans or split pea soup and home made whole wheat bread.  However; when we had guests she would bust out her Divan with big chunks of chicken and broccoli smothered with a mixture of cream of mushroom soup, mayo, and a touch of curry powder – and of course topped with slabs of melted cheese. It was darn yummy in a really good cafeteria food sort of way.

Yesterday I made my own version and cried a little bit in the process as I mulled over some happy childhood memories of hanging out in the kitchen with my mom.

I hope you can create some great memories of your own with your family while cooking together this weekend…

Chicken Dive-In!

1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, (or breasts)

4 cups broccoli florets, cut into bite size pieces

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup onions, finely diced

1 cup canned coconut milk

½ teaspoon sea salt (more or less to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Sliced almonds

Pre heat oven to 350. Place the raw chicken in a pan, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, and add enough water just to cover it.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes for thighs and closer to 20 minutes for breasts.  Remove the chicken from the water with tongs and set aside.  Add the broccoli to the same water and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drain the broccoli but save the broth for later – now you have some awesome chicken broth to add to recipes or to make a soup!  Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the broccoli, mushrooms, onions, coconut milk, and spices and mix well.  Spread into a 9×11 glass baking dish and sprinkle the top with sliced almonds.  Bake in your pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Serves 5.


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  1. joan says

    Hi. I’m allergic to coconut. I recently tried a recipe for chicken pot pie which used fat free evaporated milk. Do you think that might serve as a good substitute for the coconut milk here?

  2. Kirsten says

    My mom used to make this too! She would add a layer of spinach at the bottom, which I didn’t like then, but I sure like it now. My kids eat it up too, and being toddlers they don’t usually like veggies you can see… haha

  3. Roy Patterson says

    Recipe looks great, as a single guy and crossfiter, your recipes are easy to follow and tasty , thanks a million.

  4. Yvonne says

    Sunday dinner is planned for me!! Thank you so much. I can’t tell you how many of your recipes I have made and totally enjoyed so far. This week I am back to work, so I am planning lunches today, plan on making the Chicken, Sundried Tomato and Cabbage salad. Your cookbook is going to be a best seller for sure. Thank you, thank you, for making my switch to Paleo so easy and satisfying!!!! Can’t wait for your book!

  5. Danielle says

    Wow I have been craving this stuff for awhile now but haven’t given in to using canned soups. I can’t wait to make it this week! Thanks!

  6. Haas says

    I’m allergic to mushrooms, any idea if there is a substitute? I don’t think anything can really represent a mushroom but just wondering.

    • Sarah says

      Hi Haas, You can sub some zucchini squash, bell peppers, or any other veggie that you like or just leave them out! : )

  7. says

    Had this tonight and it was supper yummy! Thanks Sarah. Next time I make it, I’m going to add some arrowroot to the coconut milk before I mix it in. I think it will help make things thicker. I’ll let you know how it goes …

  8. Sarah says

    Hi Sarah

    I’m making this tonight for my valentine. I’m sure its going to turn out fab, just like all the other recipes I have tried from you site. Thanks for keeping things simple and delicious :)

  9. Karen says

    Hi Sarah!!!!
    I almost fell off my seat when I saw Chicken Divine (how my family spells it). That is literally my favorite childhood/family meal. My grandmother taught my mom, my mom taught me – and it is a dish my husband and I really enjoyed before starting Paleo (3 weeks in). It was one of our “last meals” that I made before cleaning out our pantry for a Paleo-kick start. I can’t wait to try this healthy version. Thank you for everything, I love your site and I can’t wait to buy your book.

    your children are beautiful. :)

  10. says

    We made this last night for dinner after discovering that we already had all the ingredients. Delicious! Especially with that hint of curry! Thanks for posting the recipe. We loved it.

  11. Marta says

    When I read this post, I cried a little too. My mom would also make chicken divan as our gourmet meal for when guest come. I have been trying to switch to paleo and one of my dishes I’ve been struggling to give up is this one (mainly for sentimental reasons). So now that you have this recipe, I’ll have to give it a try. Having three small ones, I love this blog!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Marta! I hope this dish is a good replacement for you! I do miss my mom’s divan but I think it’s mainly because I simply miss my mom. : ) Best of luck to you!

  12. tricia says

    I made Chicken Dive In for dinner last night and it was a hit. Thank you, Sarah for all the great recipes! HAPPY VALENTINE’S Day!! <3

  13. Mayra says

    Another YUMMY recipe Sarah!!! Just made this tonight…I used asparagus instead of broccoli since I had some here and it was great!!! Thank you!!!

  14. Geeklet says

    So, I have Thai Kitchen coconut milk. I wanted to try a recipe with it, but when I opened the can…it did nooooooot (with a lot of o’s for emphasis on the NOT) smell like coconut. What in the world? What would you say it’s supposed to smell like?

    • Tim Martin says

      this might take some willpower, but taste it. you’ll know right away. remeniscent of…dare i say: almond joy candies!

      anyway, did this recipe, with GOYA coconut milk. i loved it, tasted like indian food, but the sugar in the milk was just screaming through! I might dilute it next time

      in fact, there was a bit liquid pooling at the bottom of my casserole. i might just cut the quantity and not dilute. also suspect are the mushrooms and broccoli heads. those things can really retain water as well.

      aside from that, it was FANTASTIC.

  15. Shelby says

    Oh my! Definitely adding this to the rotation. Everybody in the fam loved this. It was even excellent cold thenext day! Loved it!

  16. Vicki says

    I made this Monday evening, and it was delicious. I just remembered that I forgot to add the seasonings! I have to make it again, and follow the recipe. But the coconut milk and nuts added so much flavor, I did not miss the seasoning at all. (And I love curry.)

  17. Jamie says


    I made this last night and it was awesome. Just enough for me and my husband for dinner and leftovers for lunch today!! Next is your chocolate custard :) Thanks for always helping me figure out what to do for dinner and congrats on the book!

  18. Jenny Faith says

    I made this last night and oh my goodness it is SO good! I love love love your site! Can’t wait for the book!

  19. Jaime says

    huge hit! I’ve been trying to figure out a way to “Paleo-ize” this dish – thank you so much. I have childhood memories of this dish (a version with bacon) and was so excited to see it come up. I changed it up just a little on the assembly and served it over califlower rice. Yum! Yum!

  20. says

    Waiting for it in the oven now! Hubby used all the broccoli yesterday, so I substituted spinach and some asparagus that I had left over. I also added way more mushrooms since those have been sitting around for a while too. Looking forward to it as it is smelling super yummy over here! Thanks for the starter recipe and looking forward to your book. I just pre-ordered it!

  21. Linda says

    Made this tonight – everybody loved it! Made your garlic beef stew last night another hit. We are expats living in Paris, so finding ingredients is sometimes hard, but love your site and recipes.

  22. Allison says

    I had a friend over for dinner tonight and made this and it was (as my niece would say) deeeeewicious! I made mashed cauliflower and put the chicken dive-in on top. Thanks for the recipe! My friend even wanted the recipe, so I sent her the link:)

  23. Lisa says

    Finally got around to making this recipe. It was really good and quite easy to make, but definitely needed salt (maybe that’s just because I’ve been sweating out all of my salt at the gym). Anyhow, I will be making this again.

  24. Marlene says

    Thanks for your awesome recipe’s…I was wondering if I can use the same coconut milk as used in your Blackberry Cobbler recipe? It would be nice to make both recipe’s, dinner and dessert!

    • Sarah says

      I would suggest using the canned coconut milk for this recipe, the So Delicious is great over the cobbler but a little to watery to make that rich flavor that the Chicken Dive In needs. : )

  25. Christina says

    I made this tonight and it was GREAT! I used to love chicken divan….ah amazing! So I was a bit hesitant to try this since I knew I would compare, and while its totally different it is SOO good! I did use half coconut milk/half heavy cream (we still do some dairy) because I was leery of the strong coconut flavor but it was great, might do all coconut next time. And my 2 year olds actually ate broccoli! Thanks for the recipe!

  26. Tammy says

    I just got done making this and it is wonderful! I substituted fresh diced zucchini & heavy whipping cream in place of the mushroom & coconut milk, based on what I had on hand. It came out perfectly. I doubled the recipe and so glad I did!

  27. says

    Hello, I am pretty new to Paleo and really liking some of your recipes. Why do you suggest using canned milk in this recipe as opposed to a carton of coconut milk? Is there a difference?

    • Dana says

      Yes, Jenn! The canned version has more fat and is thicker – Better for sauces and whipping cream. The carton coconut milk is a drinkable consistency – a bit too thin – and you have to be careful of added sweeteners and/or other “tricky ingredients.” Just keep reading labels and you’ll have success!

  28. Nicola says

    Loved this and so did my kids, which is amazing because regular Chicken Divan is a favourite! I accidentally dumped the whole can of coconut milk in but just added some extra seasonings and it came out fine.

  29. Patti says

    LOVED this … thank you!! My first time cooking with coconut milk … def not the last. We didn’t have garlic powder so I used 2 cloves of garlic minced. Also didn’t have paprika so used a little less cayenne. Yummmm … will def be making this again.

  30. Jodi says

    I know there are a few chicken recipes that just throw everything into the pan uncooked and bake it (usually for a little longer, like 35-40minutes. I am wondering if you can skip the boiling part and just mix and put everything into the pan and bake it for 35-40minutes. Have you (or has anyone else) tried it?

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