The perfect quick and easy weeknight meal; this healthy version of Easy From Scratch Hawaiian Haystacks is not only delicious but also gluten and dairy free!
These are THE best Easy From Scratch Hawaiian Haystacks. No lie. If you’ve never tried Hawaiian Haystacks, you are missing out! They are one of our families’ favorite quick weeknight meals and are so easy to whip up! If you don’t know what a Hawaiian haystack is, let me explain. It’s a chicken in gravy/sauce that you put on top of rice and then throw on different toppings. Most versions use some type of canned cream soup (chicken or mushroom), however they usually contain gluten and dairy. This version is much healthier and lower calorie, not to mention delicious!
One of the best things about Hawaiian Haystacks is that it’s something you can easily make without having to go to the grocery store. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now! Also, they are completely customizable and can easily please the whole family. The kiddos always love to pick their own toppings and it’s a great way to get some veggies in! If you have picky eaters but want some variety in your own diet, then this is the perfect meal for you. I like to put all the toppings on the table and let everyone build their own however they prefer. And really, the topping ideas are endless!
My favorite part of this meal is that it’s a great way to clean out your fridge and pantry. I often use random leftovers like mushrooms, bell peppers, and canned olives and they work perfect! I think every family I know has different topping favorites. We love pineapple, cheese, tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, olives, celery, black beans, shredded coconut, cashews, chow mien noodles, mandarin oranges and avocado. Yes I know I left both of those last items off in the picture!! Ugh. But see? You use whatever you have on hand and it works great!
These Easy From Scratch Hawaiian Haystacks are also awesome at feeding large crowds. They are one of my favorites for large family gatherings, because the ingredients are super easy to make a lot of. Instead of one can of pineapple, grab four! Whenever we have a family reunion, you can bet these will be on the menu.
The sauce for these haystacks is amazing. Seriously, everyone I’ve ever served it to has asked for the recipe! It’s packed with flavor from the herbs and seasonings, and honestly tastes WAY better than any canned soup. Plus it’s gluten and dairy free! Now that’s hard to top.
TIPS ON MAKING A ROUX:
Now I do make a roux for the base of the sauce, and if it’s your first time making one, it may be a little intimidating! Don’t fear though, once you’ve tried it a few times it’s really quit easy! Here are some tips to help you:
- Use a small to medium saucepan. I’ve found that roux work best in a small area of space (versus a large frying pan, etc.)
- Melt the butter first and then add the flour or cornstarch while whisking vigorously. MAKE SURE TO USE A WHISK NOT A SPOON! It will be clumpy at first, don’t give up! Keep whisking briskly and it will form into a smooth, thick paste.
- I like to tip my pan a little so that I’m whisking the butter and cornstarch on just one side of the pan instead of the whole bottom surface. This helps me to whisk faster, creating that smooth paste.
- You only need to cook the roux for a minute or two while whisking. It should all be happening very fast, which is why I like to have everything measured out first so I can just grab what I need.
- Gradually add the broth or liquid a little at a time, stirring constantly. This is really important at the beginning and then once half the liquid has been added the remainder can be added more quickly. Cook the sauce gently and stir constantly until it thickens and becomes glossy and smooth.
- Bring the sauce to a boil to help fully thicken it, then reduce and simmer.
Here are some of my favorite links for tips on making a roux:
EASY Cheat Version of Recipe!!
If you are wanting to try this recipe, but are intimidated to make a roux or find yourself not being able to make one successfully you can always skip the roux, and just add cornstarch (mixed with a tablespoon or two of water so it doesn’t clump in your warm liquid) directly to the warm broth and then boil to thicken. It won’t have quit as rich of a flavor since the cornstarch won’t have cooked with butter, but it still tastes wonderful and is much easier for those who may not be up for making a roux!
Also spoiler alert: I use rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep time!! Fist bump. You can definitely use another form of chicken, however I love to grab a few rotisserie chickens from Costco, have my husband pull them apart (I hate touching chicken and yes I know I need to get over it) and throw them in freezer bags for quick use later. Then, when making this sauce (or any meal when you need chicken quick) just grab one out of the freezer, throw it in the microwave to de-thaw and you’re ready to go!
If you’re looking for a new go-to busy weeknight meal, this is it! I promise it won’t disappoint.Print
The BEST Healthy Hawaiian Haystacks
The perfect quick and easy weeknight meal; this healthy version of Hawaiian Haystacks is not only delicious but also gluten and dairy free!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- 4 tablespoons butter (I like to use dairy free Earth balance)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 32 oz chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2–3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 2–3 chopped green onions
- 2 cups shredded chicken (I like to use about half of a rotisserie chicken)
- 3–4 cups cooked brown rice (type and quantity based on preference)
- shredded cheddar cheese
- diced tomatoes
- diced bell peppers
- diced fresh mushrooms
- chopped green onions
- sliced black olives
- chopped celery
- black beans
- shredded coconut
- sliced almonds
- chow mien noodles
- mandarin oranges
- cubed avocados
- Cook rice according to package instructions and set aside.
- To make the sauce, in a medium/large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
- Using a whisk, vigorously whisk the cornstarch a little at a time into the butter to make a roux. I like to tip my pan to the side a little so I’m just whisking quickly in the corner of the pan. It seems to be easier than whisking over the whole surface of the bottom of the pan.
- Continue to whisk until the cornstarch is completely incorporated into the butter. It my be a little clumpy at first, don’t give up! As you continue whisking briskly, it will turn into a smooth, thick paste.
- Still whisking vigorously, add in the chicken broth a little at a time, incorporating with the butter/cornstarch mixture as you go. The liquid/flour mixture will be separate at first, but as you are whisking vigorously it will combine and smooth out.
- Once all of the liquid and cornstarch/butter mixture is combined and smoothly whisked, bring the sauce to a boil.
- While bringing to a boil add the dry seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Once the sauce has been brought to a boil, continue to boil for a few minutes, stirring regularly. Your goal is to thicken the sauce. If it looks too thin you can add more cornstarch but make sure to add the cornstarch to a little water first in a separate bowl so that it doesn’t clump together in the sauce.
- Add in the shredded chicken, fresh parsley and green onions.
- Serve over rice and top with desired toppings.
TIPS ON MAKING A ROUX:
*If you are wanting to try this recipe, but are intimidated to make a roux or find yourself not being able to make one successfully you can always skip the roux, and just add cornstarch (mixed with a little water) directly to the broth and then boil to thicken. It won’t have quit as rich of a flavor since there won’t be any butter, but it still tastes wonderful and is a much easier version!
*Also, here are some of my favorite links for tips on making a roux:
*Lastly, this sauce freezes excellent! I always make a large batch and freeze for another meal at a later time!
Keywords: hawaiian haystacks, dinner, easy recipes, rice, vegetables, healthy, homemade gravy, gluten free, dairy free