Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole

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Delicious, hearty, easy cheesy casserole with shredded rotisserie chicken, broccoli, quinoa, and tons of melted cheese for a savory, healthy crave-worthy dinner everyone loves!

A plate with chicken, broccoli and carrots on it.
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Cheesy Casserole with Chicken, Rice, Quinoa, and Vegetables

Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole is a comforting and wholesome dish that combines tender pieces of chicken, fluffy quinoa, and tons of rich, melted cheese.

It’s a one-pan wonder that’s both hearty and satisfying, making it a perfect family meal.

The cheesy goodness and the protein-packed quinoa come together to create a delightful casserole that’s as delicious as it is nutritious.

Whether served as a weeknight dinner or at a gathering, this casserole is sure to please both kids and adults alike with its cheesy, creamy, and flavorful appeal.

A cheesy chicken casserole with quinoa and broccoli, served with a fork.

How to Make Cheesy Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Quinoa, Rinsed: Quinoa is the base of the casserole. It’s a nutritious grain that’s high in protein and fiber, adding a slightly nutty flavor and a unique texture.
  • 2 Cups Water or Chicken Broth: This is used to cook the quinoa. Chicken broth adds more flavor than water, infusing the quinoa with a savory chicken essence.
  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken, Shredded or Diced: The chicken adds protein, making the dish more filling and satisfying. It also contributes to the overall flavor profile.
  • 1 Can (10.5 oz) Cream of Chicken Soup: This soup creates a creamy base for the casserole, adding depth and a rich, savory chicken flavor.
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets: Broccoli adds color, texture, and nutritional value, including vitamins, fiber, and a subtle earthy taste.
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese: The cheddar cheese melts into the casserole, providing a gooey, creamy texture and a sharp, tangy flavor.
  • 1/2 Cup Milk: Milk helps to thin the soup and create a more cohesive, creamy sauce for the casserole.
  • 1/2 Onion, Diced: Onion adds a foundational flavor, bringing a slight sweetness and aroma when cooked.
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced: Garlic adds a pungent, aromatic flavor that’s essential in many savory dishes.
  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil: Used for sautéing the onion and garlic, olive oil adds a hint of richness and helps in releasing their flavors.
  • Salt and Pepper, to Taste: These seasonings are fundamental for enhancing and balancing all the other flavors in the casserole.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika (Optional): Paprika can add a sweet, smoky note and a touch of color.
  • Extra Cheese for Topping: More cheese on top creates a deliciously melted and golden crust when baked.
A cheesy casserole dish with broccoli, carrots, and rice.

Once you gather your ingredients, we will use this process:

  • Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Cook Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
  • Sauté Onion and Garlic: In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until soft and fragrant.
  • Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, cooked chicken, steamed broccoli, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheese, milk, sautéed onion and garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika if using.
  • Assemble Casserole: Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Spread evenly and top with additional cheese if desired.
  • Bake: Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve: Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This casserole is great on its own or with a side salad.
A plate with chicken, broccoli and carrots on it.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Cheesy Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

Rinse Quinoa Well: Rinse the quinoa under cold water before cooking to remove its natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy.

Use Chicken Broth: Cook the quinoa in chicken broth instead of water for added flavor. It infuses the quinoa with a savory depth.

Pre-Cook Chicken Thoroughly: If you’re cooking chicken specifically for this casserole, ensure it’s well-seasoned and fully cooked. You can also use leftovers or rotisserie chicken as a time-saver.

Sauté Onions and Garlic: Sautéing onions and garlic until they’re translucent brings out their natural sweetness, adding a rich flavor base to the casserole.

Steam Broccoli Right: Steam or blanch the broccoli just until it’s bright green and slightly tender. It will cook further in the casserole, so you don’t want it too soft from the start.

Cheese Quality: Use a good quality cheddar for better flavor and melting properties. You can mix in some other cheeses like mozzarella or Gruyère for different flavors and textures.

Season Properly: Don’t forget to season each component. The quinoa, chicken, and broccoli all need a bit of salt and pepper.

Layering: Consider layering your ingredients for a more even distribution of flavors and textures.

Add a Crunch: For a textured topping, mix some breadcrumbs or crushed crackers with extra cheese and sprinkle over the top before baking.

Bake Until Bubbly: Bake the casserole until it’s heated through and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly. This usually takes about 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C).

Let it Rest: Allow the casserole to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven. This helps it set and makes serving easier.

Garnish: Add a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chives for color and a fresh flavor before serving.

FAQs

Can I use other types of cheese besides cheddar?

Absolutely! You can experiment with different cheeses like mozzarella, Gruyère, Swiss, or even Parmesan to create unique flavor profiles.

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the casserole ahead of time, cover it, and refrigerate it until you’re ready to bake. Just remember to adjust the baking time if you’re starting with a cold casserole.

Can I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use frozen broccoli if you prefer or if it’s more convenient. Just make sure to thaw and drain it before adding it to the casserole.

Can I substitute cream of chicken soup with something else?

If you prefer not to use canned soup, you can make a homemade cream sauce using butter, flour, chicken broth, and milk. This allows you to control the ingredients and flavors.

Can I add other vegetables to the casserole?

Absolutely! You can customize the casserole by adding vegetables like peas, carrots, spinach, or bell peppers for additional flavor and nutrition.

How can I make this dish more spicy or flavorful?

To add some heat or extra flavor, you can incorporate spices like red pepper flakes, paprika, or cayenne pepper into the dish. Adjust the amount to your taste preference.

Can I use rotisserie chicken for convenience?

Yes, using pre-cooked rotisserie chicken is a convenient option. Simply shred or dice the chicken and incorporate it into the casserole.

Can I make this casserole gluten-free?

Yes, you can make it gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour or a thickening agent in place of regular flour, and ensuring that the other ingredients, such as the chicken broth and canned soup, are gluten-free.

What side dishes pair well with Cheesy Chicken and Quinoa Casserole?

This casserole pairs nicely with a simple side salad, steamed vegetables, or a crusty bread for a complete meal.

Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in an airtight container. When reheating, consider adding a little extra liquid to maintain the creamy consistency.

A plate of chicken, broccoli and carrots with a fork.

What to Serve with Cheesy Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

Green Salad: A simple green salad with fresh lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette dressing adds a refreshing contrast to the creamy casserole.

Steamed Vegetables: Steamed broccoli, carrots, or green beans make a nutritious and colorful side. Season them with a touch of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Garlic Bread: Crusty garlic bread or a baguette is perfect for mopping up the creamy sauce from the casserole. You can also make garlic butter rolls for a twist.

Roasted Vegetables: Roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or cauliflower add a delightful caramelized flavor to balance the richness of the casserole.

Coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw with cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing complements the dish and provides a satisfying crunch.

Fruit Salad: A fruit salad with a medley of fresh fruits like pineapple, strawberries, and grapes brings a sweet and juicy element to your meal.

Quinoa Salad: If you want to double down on quinoa, a cold quinoa salad with diced vegetables, herbs, and a light vinaigrette is a great choice.

Herb-Roasted Potatoes: Roasted or baked potatoes seasoned with herbs and spices add a starchy component to your meal.

Mixed Grains: A side of mixed grains like wild rice, brown rice, or couscous complements the quinoa in the casserole.

Soup: A warm bowl of soup, such as tomato basil or vegetable soup, is a comforting option to serve before or alongside the casserole.

Pickles and Olives: A platter of pickles, olives, and marinated vegetables can provide a tangy and savory contrast.

Stir-Fried Vegetables: Quickly stir-fry a mix of colorful bell peppers, snap peas, and baby corn in a teriyaki or soy sauce for an Asian-inspired side.

Mushrooms: we love serving with with garlic butter mushrooms for an extra hearty side!

Try these casseroles next:

Cheesy Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

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A delicious and hearty casserole made with tender chicken and nutritious Quinoa, topped with melted cheese.

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A plate of cheesy chicken and broccoli with a fork.

Cheesy Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Creamy, cheesy, hearty casserole baked with chicken, broccoli, and quinoa!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed or blanched
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • Extra cheese for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cook Quinoa: In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
  3. Sauté Onion and Garlic: In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and minced garlic, and sauté until soft and fragrant.
  4. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, cooked chicken, steamed broccoli, cream of chicken soup, shredded cheese, milk, sautéed onion and garlic, salt, pepper, and paprika if using.
  5. Assemble Casserole: Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Spread evenly and top with additional cheese if desired.
  6. Bake: Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  7. Serve: Let it cool for a few minutes before serving. This casserole is great on its own or with a side salad.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 302Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 71mgSodium 620mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 4gSugar 4gProtein 22g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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