Creamy, hearty and oh sooo comforting! Love a good classic Lasagna but wouldn't mind changing things up a bit? Give this simply, family-friendly white chicken lasagna a go!
This recipe is filled with chicken mince, vegetables (mushrooms and zucchini). By the way, you can easily swap chicken mince out with shredded rotisserie chicken. A fantastic way to use up leftover roast chicken!
The trick to packing as much flavour as possible into this creamy layered chicken pasta bake is ensuring the mushrooms are sauteed to golden perfection!
Sauteed mushrooms without colour is a bit of a letdown. The flavour profile is quite flat. In the instructions below, I'll talk you through exactly what you need to do to ensure the mushrooms are cooked to nutty and golden for maximum flavour! It makes a world of difference!
- Chicken mince I used breast mince, you can use generic mince which includes dark meats (thighs and legs). Can substitute with turkey mince or, if you're feeling extra indulgent, use a mix of chicken mince and chicken sausage meat! This will take the chicken lasagna to a whole next level of flavour-town!!
- Milk can use either full cream or reduced-fat milk.
- Mushrooms I went with button mushrooms, feel free to have some fun and use portabello, swiss-brown or even better, a mix of different varieties for depth of flavour! I'm talking a bit of shiitake, some oyster mushrooms, some wild mushrooms, porcini, etc!
- Chicken stock. If you've got fresh stock to use, perfect. I use chicken powder stock as it's super pantry convenient and a tin lasts ages!
- Lasagna sheets. You'll need the instant dried lasagna sheets. Can use fresh sheets instead, just increase the weight from 250g to 375g.
- Cheese. Any cheese you've got on hand will work from cheddar to mozzarella to parmesan or a combination of any of these cheeses!
There are three key components to this chicken lasagna. There's the creamy chicken and vegetable filling, the bechamel sauce (white sauce) and lastly, creating the layers.
Contrary to what you might think, homemade lasagna is actually quite straightforward! And guess what!? This white lasagna is even simpler than a classic tomato-based beef lasagna!
Alright, let's get into it.
Prepare the creamy chicken and veggie filling
To start, chop the vegetables. I like slicing the mushrooms so you can see its shape when eating. Can dice these also if preferred.
To avoid any last-minute scramble, take out all of the ingredients you need for this recipe and chop everything up before you begin cooking.
When ready, saute the mushrooms till golden brown.
How to saute mushrooms the proper way
The trick and secret to flavour-packed cafe-style nutty, golden sauteed mushrooms is by not stirring it much whilst cooking.
First, get the pan and oil nice and hot. Add sliced mushrooms into the pan, spread it out evenly and leave it. Do not stir the mushrooms. Let it sizzle on medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. You'll find the mushrooms will start to sweat and shrink in size.
As tempting as it is, let it be undisturbed in that 2 to 3 minutes. Then, check 1 piece by lifting it with a spatula. If the pan side has turned golden, it's time to turn the mushrooms. Once turned, let it be again, undisturbed until golden then it's safe to stir every 30 seconds or until completely nutty, and size reduced by about half.
Now you're good to introduce the garlic, onions and a little more oil.
To get some caramelisation on the chicken mince (like mushrooms, remember, colour = flavour), push the mushrooms, onions and garlic mixture to the rims of the pan. This helps ensure the chicken gets direct heat from the pan (just like you would want for the rice when making a good prawn fried rice). Refer to image step #4 above.
Again, don't disturb the chicken too much, let the pan side turn lightly golden first.
Season the chicken and cook until brown then mix in zucchini, cook for a further 3 or so minutes. Zucchini should be barely soft. Don't worry, it'll have plenty of time in the oven to soften up.
Make the bechamel sauce (white sauce)
Making a creamy white sauce is super easy, just have a whisk ready. All you have to do is melt butter in a small saucepan on medium-low heat then add in flour.
Now briskly whisk until a thick paste (white roux) is formed. Tip: keep the heat gentle to avoid burning.
Then pour in about half of the milk and quickly whisk. Turn the heat up to high, the sauce will turn thick fairly quickly. Once the sauce is smooth with no lumpy bits, pour in the remaining milk and whisk well.
Instead of more milk, we're using chicken stock instead to keep the bechamel fairly light (cream is also used in this chicken lasagna so we're pacing ourselves!)
Pour in hot chicken stock, whisk every 20 seconds or so until the bechamel turns thick and coats the back of a spoon (like the below image). Season with salt and pepper.
Time to turn the chicken and vegetable filling creamy.
Pour in ¾ of the bechamel sauce you've just made with some heavy cream and fresh parsley. Mix well over high heat for a minute. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper if required.
Time to layer up!
For a successful layering, keep the lasagna sheets, creamy filling within arms' reach. Make sure it's close to the oven tray to minimise dripping mess.
I find the standard size baking dish is ideal to use, at approx. 23x33cm (9x11inch).
To begin creating the layers, first spread a thin layer of filling at the bottom of the casserole dish.
Now lay down a single layer of lasagna sheets, breaking sheets apart to fit the little gaps.
Then spread ⅓ of the remaining creamy chicken and vegetable filling, top with a layer of lasagna sheets. Repeat one more time.
To finish up, spread the last ⅓ of the filling evenly followed by the remaining bechamel sauce.
Make sure to cover all of the pasta sheets.
Sprinkle cheese of choice all over and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden. Up to 40 minutes.
That's it! Creamy, cheesy and absolutely delicious!
As tempting as it may be, let the chicken lasagna rest for at least 20 minutes before dividing with a knife and serving. This will ensure the layers stay perfectly intact when you scoop a slice out of the oven dish!
Tips for making a great chicken lasagna
- Season season season! You can saute the mushrooms perfectly but without proper seasoning, you'll end up with a very underwhelming dish. Make sure to season when sauteeing the mushrooms, the chicken, making the bechamel sauce and finally, the creamy filling. Don't worry, it's all written down in the recipe card below!
- Saute the mushrooms until golden and nutty for depth of flavour! Refer to the above 'how to saute mushrooms the proper way' section for full low-down.
- Use a mix of different varieties of mushrooms to take things up a notch! As mentioned in the 'ingredients' section, this will help make the final dish proper gourmet. 😉
- Use a fish spatula to cleanly scoop up each serving out of the baking dish. Nothing worse than using a spatula that's too small or too thick. The risk of the layers falling apart is just too high!
Good to know (FAQs)
Absolutely! Mix things up, there are no rules really. I also like adding some frozen corn kernels or some baby spinach leaves.
Lasts 3 to 4 days in the fridge and 2 to 6 months in the freezer. Make sure to store in airtight containers. Best freeze a portion per container so you only defrost and reheat what you will consume on the day.
Yes! Simply cover the prepared lasagna (up to step 13 in the recipe card below) well with cling film (plastic). Can be made 1 day in advance before baking.
If you're feeling super indulgent, spread whatever cheese you like in between the layers. Some cheese suggestions: ricotta, mozzarella and cheddar.
Made this recipe? Let me know your thoughts or questions by dropping a note in the comments section below! I'd love to hear from you 🙂
Happy cooking! - Gen
White Chicken Lasagna
- 250 g / 9 ounces dried lasagna sheets or 375g fresh
- 1½ cup grated cheddar cheese alternatives: mozzarella or parmesan
Chicken and vegetable filling
- 500 g / 1 pound chicken mince or shredded rotisserie chicken (note 1)
- 300 g / 11 ounces button mushrooms sliced
- 3 zucchinis diced
- 1 onion finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup heavy cream aka thickened cream
- ½ cup fresh parsley finely sliced
- ⅔ bechamel sauce (below)
Bechamel sauce (white sauce)
- 2 cups milk full cream or reduced-fat
- 60 g / ½ stick unsalted butter
- ½ cup plain flour
- 3 cups chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
Make the chicken and vegetable filling
- In a large non-stick frypan saute mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on high heat until golden and nutty. Season with salt and pepper. About 7 minutes. (note 2)
- Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil, onions and garlic, saute for 1 minute then push mushrooms mixture to the rims of the pan. Add chicken mince. Break chicken mince apart with a spatula into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
- After about 3 minutes of stir-frying and chicken browned, add zucchini. Cook for a further 3 minutes on medium-high heat. Set the pan aside.
Make the bechamel sauce (white sauce)
- In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium-low heat then add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk until a thick paste is formed. This will happen quickly.
- Pour half of the milk into the saucepan. Whisk well until no lumpy bits then pour in the remaining half of the milk. Increase heat to high. Whisk well until creamy.
- Add chicken stock and bring up to boil. Whisk regularly. This sauce should thicken and once it coats the back of a spoon then the bechamel sauce is ready. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Assemble the chicken lasagna
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
- To assemble the white chicken lasagna, use a rectangular oven-safe dish. A standard sized baking dish is ideal to use, at approx. 23x33cm (9x11inch).
- Pour heavy cream, ¾ of bechamel sauce and fresh parsley into the pan of chicken and vegetable filling. Mix well over high heat for 1 minute. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper if required. (note 3)
- Scoop a thin layer of creamy chicken and vegetable filling into the base of the baking dish. Then, lay a single layer of lasagne sheets, breaking up sheets to fill in the gaps.
- Now, evenly spread ⅓ of the remaining filling followed by a second layer of lasagna sheets. Repeat.
- Spread the last ⅓ of filling then evenly pour remaining bechamel sauce.
- Scatter grated cheese all over the bechamel sauce.
- Bake for 30 - 40 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven or until cheese blisters and turns deep golden.
- Allow lasagna to rest for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving for the perfect layers!