An allergen-free take on chicken tetrazzini

chicken tetrazzini bowl

The No Whey station in the main dining hall at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., offers students meals that are free of the eight most common allergens. When Brittany Parham, the dietitian who oversees the station, polled food-sensitive students on which favorites they missed most, “comfort foods” was the overwhelming response. Parham, who herself has food allergies, worked with chefs on the 20,000-student campus to focus on allergen-free versions of pasta bakes, biscuits, banana bread and other down-home dishes. Recently, the chefs reworked the school’s traditional chicken tetrazzini recipe into a dairy- and gluten-free option. “It took three tastings before we got it right,” says Parham, who uses students as taste tasters and solicits feedback through short surveys. It’s now a No Whey favorite, she says.  

chicken tetrazzini graph

  1. It “took a bit of fine-tuning” to get the correct cooking time for the brown rice spaghetti, says Parham. The gluten-free product retained more water than traditional pasta, so cooking too long resulted in mush once it was sauced and baked. After three tries, the chefs figured out that six minutes of boiling worked best, she says.
  2.  The original tetrazzini recipe uses sour cream and cheese as the base for a rich sauce; the substitution of rice milk and vegan cheese didn’t produce a similar texture and flavor, Parham says. So the dining hall chefs created a mushroom cream sauce, starting with a roux made from quinoa-rice flour and vegan butter. A mixture of rice milk and chicken broth is whisked into the roux to finish and smooth the sauce.
  3.  In the classic recipe, the next step is to stir shredded mozzarella and Asiago into the thickened sauce until the cheeses melt, but vegan cheese tends to separate. Instead, the mushroom sauce is mixed with the cooked spaghetti and chicken, transferred to a baking dish and topped with vegan mozzarella cheese. “The tetrazzini takes a little longer to bake, but the cheese melts nicely and the finished dish is very close to the original,” says Parham.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code