Photo by  Vanessa Stump

Photo by Vanessa Stump

The great thing about mini dishes is that you have portion control built right into the dish. When you eat an entire plate of food, even if that plate isn't that big, you feel more full. Individual mini meals are a great way to make sure you're not overeating, but that you still feel satisfied.

And who can resist chicken pot pie? It's comforting, hot, bubbly, and sooo flavorful. This is one of the ultimate comfort dishes. I like to serve it on a chilly night along with a bright green salad. You can even make these ahead of time, freeze them, bring up to room temperature, and pop them in the oven to heat up when you're ready.

Instead of a traditional pie crust that's loaded with butter and refined flour, I'm using quinoa flour for protein, pecans for crunch and more protein, Parmesan for umami flavor, and cholesterol-free vegan butter. My filling has boneless skinless chicken breast, and lots of veggies for fiber, both of which will also help to keep you full and satisfied without extra fat and calories. I'm also skipping any heavy milk or cream, and instead this recipe uses almond milk (but you can use whichever unsweetened unflavored dairy-free milk you prefer). 

 This is energy-boosting nutrition-rich food at its best... and what could be more comforting to your body than that?

Mini Chicken Pot Pie 
Serves 5

For the filling:

  • 3 6-oz. large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium stalks of celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 2½ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped 

For the crumble:

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan 
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

For the filling:

Lightly spray 5 small individual 8-ounce mini pots, or baking dishes with olive oil spray.

Season the 3 large chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of cumin, and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.

Heat a large ovenproof non-stick pan on high heat until very hot. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and sear for 4 minutes on one side. Turn over and sear the chicken for another minute, then add ¾ cup water and place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. 

Peel and quarter your onion, peel and quarter 3 carrots, quarter 3 stalks of celery, and peel 2 garlic cloves.

To a food processor, add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Blend the veggies until they are chopped into small bite sized pieces. Do not over blend; you still want your vegetables to have texture. If you do not have a food processor, finely chop all of your veggies by hand.

In a large Dutch oven or in a heavy bottomed pot on medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. To the hot oil, add all of the chopped vegetables. Stir periodically until softened, about 6 minutes.

Add ¼ cup quinoa flour to the softened veggies, and gradually add the 2½ cups almond milk to the pot. Stir and simmer until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Chop ½ a cup of parsley, and juice ½ a lemon. Set aside.

Turn the heat off, and then add 2 cups thawed frozen peas, the lemon juice and parsley to the filling.

 Remove the cooked chicken from the oven, and allow it to rest while you make the crumble.

For the crumble topping:

In a large bowl combine: 1 cup quinoa flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, a pinch of pepper, and a pinch of cayenne. Mix all of the dry ingredients together. 

Add 5 tablespoons of vegan butter to the dry ingredients. Mix the flour mixture and butter together with your hands or with a pastry cutter until the mixture is formed into pea-sized crumbs.

Slowly drizzle in ¾ cup of unsweetened almond milk to the flour and butter mixture. Mix with your hands until a crumbly dough forms.

Assemble your mini chicken pot pies:

Cut your cooked chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Add the cooked chicken to the veggie mixture in the pot. Combine everything together.

Spoon the pot pie filling into each of the sprayed individual baking pots or dishes. Top each pot pie evenly with the crumble. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and crumbly.