Mexican Chicken Casserole

Is there anything in life quite so beautiful as a gooey, cheesy casserole? Mexican Chicken Casserole says, “I think not.”

Now, ocean sunsets, the Grand Canyon, and every Tim McGraw song ever recorded might argue for the title and tiara, but I maintain that the casserole deserves recognition in the beauty department, especially at this most blustery time of year.

Oh sure, casseroles are ultra oozy, lose their shape immediately when cut, and are generally a food photographer’s worst nightmare, but their inherent value as a one-dish meal that’s comforting enough to cure a broken heart is worthy of respect.

The casserole’s allure is at a deeper level—and I don’t simply mean that they have a good personalities.

Perhaps I am genetically disposed to love casseroles. Growing up, my mom’s trusty 9×13-inch baking dish was among the most well-used and duly-splattered tools in our kitchen.

Today, now that I’m the one doing the cooking, I am all about the casserole, especially when they are as delicious and simple as this easy Mexican Chicken Casserole.

Casseroles are a friendly way to cook in large quantities, hit every food group in a single pan, and generate yummy leftovers for the rest of the week.

Casseroles can also be adapted to suit any number of tastes and are categorically creamy and cheesy, leaving me with a welcome case of the warm fuzzies.

The only two things about casseroles I will not embrace: the ubiquitous canned fried onion topping (I’m sorry but why does this exist?) and cream of anything soup. Hate me if you will, but those are two places I will not go.

Although my friend did mention that she makes this Mexican Chicken Casserole with Doritos, so perhaps there is something to the whole crunchy topping thing…

The canned soup, however, can stay away. We have a better plan!

Better Ingredients for Mexican Chicken Casserole

Instead of the gobs of heavy, processed add-ins, this healthy Mexican Chicken Casserole uses Greek yogurt, real cheese, and a mix of fresh ingredients like bell peppers and canned pantry staples like black beans to create a healthy dinner that’s still reasonably easy to prepare on a weeknight.

Simply sauté the chicken and veggies, stir in the black beans and other ingredients, top with cheese, and bake!

DELICIOUS.

Recipe Adaptations

  • Mexican Chicken Rice Casserole. I love using quinoa because of its high fiber and protein content, but if you’d prefer using rice, cooked rice (or farro or any other whole grain) can be swapped in easily.
  • Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Casserole. Check out my Crock Pot Mexican Casserole (similar ingredients, but this one is already adapted to a crock pot, so I’m 100% sure of the results).
  • Mexican Chicken Casserole with Corn Tortillas. You might like this slow cooker Taco Casserole or this Chicken Tortilla Casserole, which have layers of them.
  • Mexican Chicken Casserole Dip. And if what you were actually looking for was a dip…Ben actually eats his casserole with tortilla chips, as if he were scooping up a dip. Naturally, I scolded him but then tried a bite that way myself.

More Easy Chicken Casserole Recipes

  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole
  • King Ranch Chicken
  • Fiesta Chicken

Official Casserole Fan Club, member number one right here. Anyone else care to join? We can wear sashes, create a secret handshake, and eat healthy Mexican Chicken Casserole directly from the pan, with or without tortilla chips. All interested parties, raise your forks!

4.9 from 39 votes Leave a Review “

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Yield: 6 –8 servings Prep Time: 25 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 55 mins A healthy, easy Mexican chicken casserole recipe your entire family will love! Made with quinoa, fresh veggies, black beans, and cheese, this creamy, cheesy Mexican casserole has received dozens of glowing reviews. You’ll love it too!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion — chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper — chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper — chopped
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts — cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 large breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder — plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic — about 2 cloves
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes — (15 ounces) well drained
  • 1 can black beans — (15 ounces) , rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese — divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese — divided
  • Fresh cilantro — for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large casserole dish (9×13 inch or similar) with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Place 2 cups water and quinoa in a large saucepan, then bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  3. In a Dutch oven or similar large, deep sauté pot, heat the olive oil over medium high. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. Sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Continue to sauté until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and drained tomatoes and cook 1 additional minute. Remove from the heat. Stir in the black beans, reserved quinoa, Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread evenly in the pan. Top with remaining cheddar and mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and the casserole is hot, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven to broil, then continue cooking until the cheese is lightly browned, about 3 to 4 additional minutes, watching carefully so that the cheese does not burn. Let rest 5 minutes, sprinkle with chopped cilantro, and serve.

Course: Main Course Cuisine: American, Mexican Keyword: Healthy Casserole Recipe, Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole All text and images © Erin Clarke / Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Amount per serving (1 (of 8)) — Calories: 277, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 39mg, Sodium: 496mg, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 24g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

23 Easy Casserole Recipes That Are Actually Healthy

15. Ratatouille Orzo

Ah, it’s like a dish that keeps on giving. There are so many secrets tucked into this casserole, but all of the attention really belongs to the freshness of the tomatoes, spinach, and eggplant. To learn the other secrets, you’ll just have to make it.

16. Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole

Get out that cast iron skillet because things are about to heat up—Cajun style. Jalapeños, vitamin-rich garlic, and spices give quinoa and shrimp a kick, while just one cup of Fontina cheese tempers the heat and satisfies those creamy cravings.

17. Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole

No canned, condensed goop here. Instead, fill up on wholesome Midwestern freshness with 2 percent milk, reduced-sodium chicken broth, Gruyere cheese, broccoli, quinoa, and chicken. The recipe creator was right when she called it “a big gentle hug loaded with good-for-you ingredients.”

18. Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole

Spinach artichoke dip lovers, rejoice! Your favorite app can now be enjoyed as dinner. Quinoa delivers a high dose of protein, and plain nonfat Greek yogurt keeps it light and creamy. And we can’t forget those hearty spinach greens. Feeling ambitious? Switch out the frozen spinach and jarred artichoke hearts for fresh goods.

19. Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Imagine a casserole with all the bacon-y, chive-y, cheesy, sour creamy goodness of a loaded baked potato, but with less fat and way more health benefits. Now feast your eyes on this dish, which replaces the starchy spuds with nutrient-rich cauliflower. To make it even healthier, substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream.

20. Quinoa Kale Taco Casserole

When chili alone won’t get the job done, turn to a casserole overflowing with corn, ground beef, black beans, and kale. While kale may not seem like the usual add-in to Tex-Mex dishes, the leafy green complements the flavor and ups the nutrients. Topping it with a slice or two (or five) of avocado is not a bad idea either.

21. Layered BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole

You guys. We’re just going to say it right now: You’re welcome for this recipe. Barbecue and enchilada sauce on top of sweet potatoes and shredded chicken (and then do that again) basically means it’s layers of heaven in one pan. Jump in and see for yourself.

22. Curried Spinach Rice Lentil Bake

Try to picture every nutritious vegetable possible. Guess what? Almost all of them are in this recipe. With onions, lentils, spinach, brown rice, and coconut milk, this casserole is a vegan’s dream come true.

23. Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

Welcome to Team Cabbage, because you’re about to fall in love with this cruciferous veg. Minced onion and garlic combine in a tomato sauce that perfectly complements chopped cabbage, brown rice, and ground beef. Consider using brown rice and lean ground turkey for a lighter option.

Originally published July 2014. Updated August 2016.

★★★★★

4.8 from 11 reviews

Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole with brown rice, broccoli and no canned soup makes one easy baked healthy chicken casserole from scratch.

Healthy Chicken Casserole

Who doesn’t love a combo of chicken and rice, right?! This healthy chicken and rice casserole is one of my older healthy casseroles I gave a makeover. Originally I used a skillet to pre-cook chicken, a pot to cook rice and then a baking dish to bake casserole in.

Whoa-whoa-whoa, it’s 2019! We can do so much better and prepare chicken broccoli and rice casserole without canned soup, and in just ONE POT. One pot, my friends. One Lodge dutch oven pot, I love it!

Isn’t it a beauty?! Not mushy and yet moist, with moderate amount of animal products and with 1.5 lbs of broccoli. This healthy chicken chicken casserole will become a staple in your house.

You and yours will love it! So easy to make as well. So, “good-bye” Betty and “hello” Olena. Let’s do it!

P.S. Check out all of my one pot meals and sheet pan dinners if you are always in a hurry like me. Also if you are a fan of chicken and rice and have an Instant Pot, try my Instant Pot chicken and rice.

How to Make Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat large dutch oven on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat.
  2. Add chicken, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add rice and stock, stir and bring to a boil. Lay broccoli on top and do not stir, cover and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, add yogurt and green onion, stir. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese has melted. Serve hot.

Tips and Substitutions

  • I like to use brown jasmine or basmati rice because grains stay separated once cooked. But long grain brown rice is just as good taste wise. Short grain rice will yield in more mushy casserole but still delicious. Ukrainian in me would use what I have on hand.
  • I have not tested this casserole recipe with wild rice or white rice. My gut tells me, it won’t work.
  • Dutch oven cooks food evenly in a cast iron pot. You need it to make this recipe and many others, trust me!
  • I used organic low sodium bouillon cubes to make vegetable stock. You can use from a carton as well, I just like the convenience.
  • Plain or Greek yogurt with 2% and higher fat content is the best. Skim yogurt lacks flavor and will not make casserole as creamy.
  • You can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are more dry than thighs. Use what you have or like.
  • Broccoli comes out not mushy but rather soft. You can blanch broccoli separately and add before stirring with yogurt. If you are very specific about your broccoli.:)
  • Cannot make this in slow cooker. For pressure cooker version, see my Instant Pot chicken and rice.

How to Store and Reheat

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave or in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes with a splash of water.

To freeze, fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in a fridge overnight. Reheat like above mentioned. Rice and chicken freeze well.:)

After reheating you might add a bit more yogurt to bring back creaminess. Sprinkle fresh herbs as they always add another layer of flavor.

More Healthy Casserole Recipes to Try

  • Healthy chicken broccoli casserole with pasta and no canned soup!
  • Ground turkey quinoa casserole so good and simple.
  • Turkey pasta bake with kale but no one will complain!
  • Skillet enchiladas in one pot in 30 mins.

Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

★★★★★

4.8 from 11 reviews

Healthy Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe with brown rice, broccoli and no canned soup makes one easy baked healthy chicken casserole from scratch.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian American

Scale 1x2x3x

  • 1 lb raw boneless & skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups brown rice, rinsed & drained
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 8 cups (1.5 lbs) broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, fat 2+%
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup marble or any hard cheese, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Preheat large dutch oven on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat.
  2. Add raw chicken, garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add rice and stock, stir and bring to a boil. Lay broccoli on top and do not stir, cover and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, add yogurt and green onion, stir. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese has melted. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in a fridge overnight. Reheat in a microwave or in the oven at 375 F for 10 minutes.

Notes

  • I like to use brown jasmine or basmati rice because grains stay separated once cooked. But long grain brown rice is just as good taste wise. Short grain rice will yield in more mushy casserole but still delicious. Ukrainian in me would use what I have on hand.
  • I have not tested this casserole recipe with wild rice or white rice. My gut tells me, it won’t work.
  • Dutch oven cooks food evenly in a cast iron pot. You need it to make this recipe and many others, trust me!
  • I used organic low sodium bouillon cubes to make vegetable stock. You can use from a carton as well, I just like the convenience.
  • Plain or Greek yogurt with 2% and higher fat content is the best. Skim yogurt lacks flavor and will not make casserole as creamy.
  • You can use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. Chicken breasts are more dry than thighs. Use what you have or like.
  • Broccoli comes out not mushy but rather soft. You can blanch broccoli separately and add before stirring with yogurt. If you are very specific about your broccoli.:)
  • Cannot make this in slow cooker. For pressure cooker version, see my Instant Pot chicken and rice.

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com

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