This light and creamy chicken and broccoli casserole is the perfect all-in-one meal. It’s made with tender chicken, broccoli, tasty quinoa, and melty cheeses, all baked in a creamy, flavorful sauce.
Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
You’re in for a treat! This sensational casserole combines the perfect medley of tastes and textures, from tender chunks of juicy chicken to crunchy, vitamin-rich broccoli to chewy, nutty quinoa to not one, but two delectable cheeses! Your taste buds are in for an unforgettable ride. The best part is that this delicious hodge-podge of wonderful ingredients is combined with a luscious and flavorful creamy sauce. The whole meal is baked into a gloriously savory, cheesy casserole that is sure to have you coming back for seconds and thirds.
Whether you’re looking for a comforting family dinner or a dish to impress your guests, this chicken and broccoli casserole will surely be a hit. Prepare to savor a culinary masterpiece that will elevate your casserole game to new heights of deliciousness!
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Need a little motivation to hop in the kitchen and make this divine casserole? Here are just a few of the reasons you have to try it.
Healthy and nutritious. Packed with protein from tender chicken and quinoa, and loaded with vitamins and minerals from broccoli, this casserole is a wonderfully well-rounded, healthy meal.
The best flavor combo. The rich, savory cheese combined with the broccoli and nutty notes from the quinoa is enough to treat your taste buds to something different. Also, adding a rich, creamy, garlicky sauce with just the slightest kick of spice makes this dish irresistible.
So many textures. The soft, slightly chewy quinoa next to the tender chicken, the slight crunch of the broccoli, and the ooey-gooey melted cheese is a texture combination that will have you coming back for more.
Quick and easy. With just about 20 minutes of active time in the kitchen and a few simple steps, you’ll soon pop this hearty, healthy casserole in the oven.
How to Make Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Ready to start cooking? Good! Here’s a quick look at how to make chicken broccoli casserole with quinoa. For exact measurements and directions, scroll down the page to get to the recipe card.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. This will remove some bitterness from the quinoa and any dust/residue it carries.
Frozen broccoli florets: If using fresh broccoli, I suggest you first blanch them for a couple of minutes.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Boneless skinless thighs will work as well. Not a chicken person? Try turkey instead.
All purpose flour
1% milk: Feel free to use 2% or whole milk.
Seasonings & Spices: garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
Reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese: Full-fat will do just fine if you’d like. You could also use shredded pepper jack or mozzarella instead.
Shredded parmesan cheese: If you want a slightly sharper flavor, try shredded pecorino cheese instead.
Prep. Preheat oven to 375˚F and grease a casserole dish with cooking spray.
Start layering. Spread the quinoa in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with broccoli.
Brown the chicken. Saute the chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat until browned on all sides. Spread the chicken over the broccoli.
Make the sauce. Add the chicken stock to a saucepan over high heat, whisk in the flour, and cook until smooth. Whisk in the milk, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until thickened.
Put it all together. Pour sauce into the casserole dish and mix to coat all of the ingredients. Sprinkle the cheeses.
Bake. Cover with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Can I Use Fresh Broccoli?
I suggest not using fresh broccoli in this recipe because it won’t cook through in the oven. You can steam the fresh broccoli first, then add them to the casserole dish.
Can I Use Rice Instead Of Quinoa?
Rice will absorb different amounts of liquid than quinoa, and the cooking time will be different, so it’s best to precook the rice – just boil until tender for white long-grain rice – and drain it before using it in this casserole.
Tips for Success
If you’re aiming for the perfect casserole, follow these simple tips and tricks. They will help you achieve the pinnacle of casserole deliciousness.
Rinse the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for 2 minutes. This will not only remove any residue and some of the bitterness inherent in the grain, but it will also help ensure that it cooks completely in the oven.
Brown the chicken. Getting a nice caramelization on the chicken before adding it to the casserole brings a lot of flavor to the finished product, so don’t skip this step.
Be patient. It can be tempting to whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce and add it to the casserole immediately but don’t do that. You really want to give the sauce a chance to thicken up on the stovetop. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a runny casserole.
Whisk, whisk, whisk. Be sure to whisk the sauce continuously as it cooks. This will help prevent it from burning and will allow it to cook and thicken evenly.
What to Serve with Chicken Broccoli Casserole
This chicken and broccoli casserole is a complete meal on its own but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve it with a favorite side dish or two. Here are some suggestions for you.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Refrigerator. Cool the casserole completely before wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap or placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer. Cool the casserole to room temperature, wrap the dish tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, or transfer the contents of the casserole dish to an airtight container. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the casserole to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat. Transfer the casserole to an oven-safe dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes at 350˚F or until heated through. Alternatively, transfer the desired portion to a microwave-safe dish and microwave at 30-second intervals until heated through.
More Easy Casserole Recipes
Dust off your casserole dish and get inspired by these tasty, loaded casserole recipes. They are perfect for even the busiest weeknights.
Prep Time 10 minutesmins
Cook Time 50 minutesmins
Total Time 1 hourhr
Preheat oven to 375˚F.
Grease a casserole dish with cooking spray and layer the quinoa on the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with the frozen broccoli and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer the browned chicken to the casserole dish. Set aside.
Place a saucepan over high heat; add chicken broth and flour and whisk and cook until smooth, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, and pepper; continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened.
Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture in the casserole dish; mix and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the shredded cheeses over the top and cover the casserole dish with foil.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly and the quinoa is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and let stand for 7 to 8 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and serve.
Wash the quinoa under cold water for 2 minutes in a fine mesh strainer. It gets rid of any bitterness and helps it cook evenly.
Brown the chicken first. It makes the casserole taste better, so don’t miss this part.
Broccoli: Frozen broccoli works like a charm here. If you have to use fresh broccoli, I suggest blanching them for about 2 minutes before adding them to the casserole.
Rice vs. Quinoa: Rice will absorb different amounts of liquid than quinoa, and the cooking time will be different, so best to cook the rice and drain it before using it in this casserole.
Cheese choices: I suggest using reduced-fat shredded cheddar, but full-fat works too. You can also use shredded pepper jack cheese or mozzarella or whatever shredded cheeses you have on hand.
Be patient with the sauce. Let it thicken on the stovetop, or you might have a watery mess. Keep whisking that sauce while it cooks; it’ll stop it from burning, and make sure it thickens up just right.
Storing Leftovers: Transfer leftovers to a sealed container and keep them in the fridge for about 3 days. To freeze it, place the casserole in a freezer-safe container, and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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