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This Chicken Broccoli Casserole recipe is made healthy using brown rice, tender chicken, fresh broccoli, and a flavorful sauce. It’s super easy to make, perfect for any weeknight. Plus it is gluten-free and full of veggies and protein

Chicken & Broccoli Casserole in baking pan on counter
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Making this Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole is super simple and fast. It uses healthier ingredients and omits cream soup, making it a lower-fat, more nutritious casserole. This is the perfect recipe for busy weeknights because it doesn’t take much time and everyone loves it (even kids!). This easy chicken casserole is loaded with protein, fiber, and flavor. The perfect meal to serve your family or guests. They are made with brown rice which can easily be swapped with quinoa for an even healthier chicken casserole dish!

Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Easy. You can’t get much easier than a casserole. Make the sauce while the chicken bakes, then pile it all together and finish baking.
  • Healthier. This is a healthier version of a traditional casserole. It replaces pasta with brown rice, adds chicken for protein, and eliminates cream of mushroom soup (so less fat and carbs). It is also gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour.
  • Tasty. The flavors of the creamy sauce, broccoli, and seasoned chicken complement each other perfectly. A delicious way to eat more broccoli!
top view of chicken casserole in a white dish

Ingredients you will need

  • Chicken breasts: you could use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, but we much prefer chicken breasts since they are leaner.
  • Brown rice: You do not have to use brown rice. Any other rice will work just fine. You may even use a whole grain option like quinoa.
  • Fresh broccoli: Fresh broccoli always sounds fresh and healthy. Frozen broccoli will be fine to use.
  • Olive oil: use any other oil like avocado oil.
  • Onion: go with white or sweet onion.
  • Gluten-free flour: use any other flour, like all-purpose or whole-wheat.
  • Milk: Use any milk you have on hand. 2% will do.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, Onion powder, Dry mustard powder, smoked paprika, and Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • Cheddar cheese: If you don’t like cheddar you may use other cheese like Colby jack, American, or gruyere.
  • Fresh parsley: used to garnish, so if you aren’t a fan, you may skip it.
Ingredients for chicken & broccoli casserole on counter

How to make this easy chicken broccoli casserole – step by step

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare chicken. Season the chicken with some salt and pepper and drizzle over with 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well to coat, then place in a 2 qt casserole dish; arrange in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
  • Bake. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Season chicken and bake in casserole dish for 10 minutes.
  • Make sauce. While the chicken is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Then add flour and whisk quickly for about a minute or so.
  • Add milk. Carefully pour in the milk and continue whisking; as the mixture starts to bubble add garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stirring thoroughly, let the mixture simmer on low, until thick and bubbly.
  • Mix in cheese. Remove from the heat and add 1-1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, whisk well until cheese is melted.
  • Add rice and broccoli. Add a layer of cooked rice and then broccoli florets.
  • Pour on sauce. Pour the prepared cheese sauce on top and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
Pour sauce over broccoli and bake.
  • Bake. Bake for 20 minutes more, until broccoli, is tender, and the cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
  • Serve. Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve warm.
Baked finished chicken broccoli casserole

faq’s and tips

  • Brown rice: Have this cooked before you start making the casserole. Or you can use pre-cooked rice packs that you simply reheat in the microwave and they are ready to go. You may also substitute the brown rice with quinoa if you like.
  • Broccoli: Trim the leaves from the broccoli and cut the florets close to the stalk. Then trim the florets so they are roughly the same size. Alternatively, you can buy florets pre-cut. You could also use frozen broccoli but we recommend allowing them to thaw out in a colander first.
  • Onion: We prefer sweet or yellow onion in this recipe.
  • Gluten-free flour: You can use regular flour if you do not have gluten restrictions.
  • Milk: Use non-dairy milk or any other milk of choice.
  • Cheddar cheese: You can omit the cheese to make this low in fat, use light or fat-free cheese, or substitute with mozzarella, Colby, or parmesan.

What goes with chicken Broccoli casserole?

If you’re looking for side dishes to serve alongside this casserole, try any of these options.

Full dish of healthy chicken and broccoli casserole

Frequently asked questions

Can this casserole be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze the casserole after cooking the chicken and adding the broccoli, rice, and sauce. Wrap tightly in tinfoil or store in an air-tight container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake as directed.
You can also freeze the casserole after it has been cooked (we love leftovers!). Wrap tightly or store in an air-tight container, freeze for up to 3 months, then reheat in the microwave or oven.

Can I use frozen broccoli for chicken casserole?

Yes, you can use frozen broccoli instead. It usually takes less time to cook than fresh, so check it 5-8 minutes early. Also, we prefer that you allow the broccoli to thaw in a colander first.

How do I store chicken casserole? How long does it last?

Store the casserole in the fridge covered in tinfoil or in an air-tight container. It should last up to 3-4 days. If you want it to last longer, freeze the leftovers and reheat them in the oven or microwave when ready.

Spoon in finished chicken & broccoli casserole

Other easy and healthy recipes

Side of casserole dish with healthy chicken and broccoli casserole

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5 from 65 votes

Easy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

By: Rena
Servings: 6
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
cheesy chicken casserole with spoon in it
This Healthy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole recipe is made with brown rice, tender chicken, fresh broccoli, and a flavorful sauce. It's super easy to make, gluten-free, and full of veggies.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets

Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 tbsp curly parsley, freshly chopped to garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Season the chicken with some salt and pepper and drizzle over with 1 tablespoon of oil. Mix well to coat, then place it in a 2 qt casserole dish; arrange in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
  • Bake into the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Sauce

  • While the chicken is cooking prepare sauce. In a skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  • Add flour and whisk quickly for about a minute or so.
  • Carefully pour in the milk and continue whisking; as the mixture starts to bubble add garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Stirring thoroughly, let the mixture simmer on low, until thick and bubbly. Remove from the heat and add 1-1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, whisk well until cheese is melted.
  • Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Add a layer of cooked rice and then broccoli florets. Pour the prepared cheese sauce on top and gently toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top and bake for 20 minutes more, until broccoli is tender, and cheese on top is golden and bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven, garnish with fresh parsley, and serve warm.

Notes

  • Brown rice: Have this cooked before you start making the casserole.
  • Broccoli: Trim the leaves from the broccoli and cut the florets close to the stalk. Then trim the florets so they are roughly the same size. Alternatively, you can buy florets pre-cut.
  • Onion: We prefer sweet or yellow onion in this recipe.
  • Gluten-free flour: You can use regular flour if you do not have gluten restrictions.
  • Milk: Use non-dairy milk to make this recipe vegan.
  • Cheddar cheese: You can omit the cheese or use light/fat-free, or substitute with mozzarella, Colby, or parmesan.
  • Storage: Store wrapped in tinfoil or in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze after cooking the chicken and adding the broccoli, rice, and sauce. Wrap tightly in tinfoil or store in an air-tight container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge. Bake as directed. Alternatively, freeze after it has been cooked. Wrap tightly or store in an air-tight container, freeze for up to 3 months, then reheat in the microwave or oven.

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 33gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 583mgPotassium: 787mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1288IUVitamin C: 85mgCalcium: 421mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

Author

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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Recipe Rating




31 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Really a good recipe. Especially because it’s gluten, dairy and egg free. Well seasoned and easy prep. Didn’t have brown rice so used white. Worked well. Will be checking out your other recipes.
    Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I used 3 cups of milk and used almond flour. Used 2 cups if chopped chicken from a cooked roaster Topped with crushed potato chips.

      1. 5 stars
        I was excited to see a recipe like yours that doesn’t use a ton of prepared and processed foods, until I saw the garlic powder. The taste is terrible and no substitute for garlic. It doesn’t seem right in this recipe.