Baked goodness is the antidote to winter. Yes definitely in the form of warm baked cookies and breads and muffins, but also, and please stay with us here, in the form of casseroles.
Cozy, bubbly, throw-it-all-in-one-dish, easy, cheesy, delicious is exactly what calls to our midwestern hearts to warm us from the inside out. WE ARE HERE FOR IT.
Under this cozy food blanket we have generously seasoned chicken, cooked quinoa, crispity delicious bacon, velvety homemade (yes, homemade!), sauce, a tiny bit of Gruyère or whatever kinda cheese you want over the top, and bright green pops of broccoli. Retro? Maybe. Absolutely delicious. YOU BET.
In This Post: Everything You Need For Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole
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Ingredients In This Easy Chicken Casserole Recipe
The ingredients are pretty simple in order to bring this creamy comforting casserole together, and none of them are canned soup, no ma’am. That’s right, we’re doing some super easy, from-scratch business here to make everything sing.
- boneless skinless chicken breasts
- fresh broccoli florets
- gruyere cheese (any kind will work)
- chicken broth
- poultry seasoning
- crisp cooked bacon (optional… sort of)
Grab Your Casserole Dish and Let’s Bake
To achieve maximum velvety creamy goodness, and help everything reach its maximum texture potential, there are a few steps to bring it all together beyond, “Throw in dish. Bake.” Which is a very acceptable list of casserole instructions. But here we’re going to make a sauce, layer the ingredients, save the broccoli until the end to keep it bright and green and tender crisp.
Sauce: Bring the chicken broth and half the milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the rest of the milk with the poultry seasoning and flour and then add that in and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
Assemble: Mix the sauce, one cup water, quinoa, and bacon (if using) in a bowl and pour that into the prepared baking dish. Slice the uncooked chicken breasts into thin strips and lay those right over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning.
Broccoli: Go ahead and give that a quick steam and then set it aside until the last 10ish minutes of baking.
Bake: Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes. Give it a check and a stir, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes if needed to further thicken. Add that yummy broccoli and a little bit of water, stir until creamy and smooth. Top with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.
Canned Vs. Homemade Cream Of Chicken Soup
Generally speaking, if you’re looking for canned cream of something soup, you look no further than a casserole. Because that is the nature of a casserole and don’t question it, you big city slicker hipster person you.
But we kind of have one foot in both the hipster world and the canned soup world, and so this beauty of a casserole has its own creamy velvety sauce that is made from scratch! *jumping up and down for joy* And it works perfectly for creating that mild, creamy texture that casseroles are known and loved for. We first discovered that whole homemade cream of chicken soup thing way back when, and this turned out to be a great time to put that to use. And then we added bacon. And baked it with everything homey and nostalgic under the sun.
Creamy creamy yum yum. Nothing from a can. Everyone = happy.
Freeze Your Casserole
Another amazing dream scenario when it comes to casseroles, is the whole “put it together and freeze it for later” situation. This one is perfect for that, too! Hide it away in your freezer for the perfect chilly night to pull out, pop in the oven and get that bubbling goodness on your dinner table in no time flat.
We’d recommend preparing the sauce, quinoa and chicken and freezing uncooked, but save the broccoli step for when you’re going to bake. Keeps everything fresher, brighter and a little less squishy that way. You’ll have to add a little bit to the cook time so just keep an eye on it, but all the creamy dreaminess will be yours.
Leftovers also freeze well, we’d just maybe recommend pulling them out to thaw beforehand so it doesn’t have to spend too much extra time cooking in the oven/microwave. Just enough to get heated back through. Add a little extra water/broth to get the creamy sauce back in business and this one will keep on rewarding you through and through.
Whether this screams nostalgia to you or if this is your first introduction to the word “casserole,” this easy, saucy, cozy batch of comfort food is an excellent choice any day of the week.
Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole: Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know when my quinoa is done cooking?
You will know the quinoa is done when it is soft and looks as if it has popped open, with the germ of the kernel visible as a little spiral. I’ve gotten quite a few comments about the liquid not absorbing right away – if that’s you, just bake it a little longer. With enough time, it should get that moisture soaked right up into a creamy sauce.
I don’t love quinoa. Can I substitute rice?
Rice takes a lot longer to cook compared to quinoa, but it should work. Just give yourself some extra baking time.
Can I freeze this?
Sure! Just freeze the casserole right before baking it with the chicken and quinoa raw and without the broccoli. Just add the broccoli right before cooking.
Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole is real food meets comfort food. From scratch, quick and easy, and a big gentle hug loaded with good-for-you ingredients.
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup flour
2 cups water, divided
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (optional… sort of)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons seasoning (like Emeril’s Essence or any basic blend you like)
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (any kind will work)
3 cups fresh broccoli florets
Sauce: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a 9×13 baking dish (seriously, be generous because it really, really sticks to the sides). Bring the chicken broth and 1/2 cup milk to a low boil in a saucepan. Whisk the other 1/2 cup milk with the poultry seasoning and flour; add the mixture to the boiling liquid and whisk until a smooth creamy sauce forms.
Assembly: In a large bowl, mix the sauce from step one, one cup water, quinoa, and bacon and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Slice the chicken breasts into thin strips and lay the chicken breasts strips over the top of the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle with the seasoning. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Broccoli: While the casserole is in the oven, place the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute until it turns bright green and then run under cold water. Set aside.
Bake: Remove the casserole from the oven, check the mixture by stirring it around in the pan, and if needed, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes to get the right consistency. When the quinoa and chicken are cooked and the sauce is thickened, add the broccoli and a little bit of water (up to one cup) until the consistency is creamy and smooth and you can stir it up easily in the pan. Top with the cheese and bake for 5 minutes, or just long enough to melt the cheese.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Keywords: chicken and broccoli casserole, quinoa casserole, chicken casserole
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Note: Several of you have kindly noted that after 30 minutes you still had a bit too much liquid. Thank you for your feedback – it really helps make the recipe better for others. Based on your comments, I adjusted the directions to account for a little extra uncovered baking time for some of that liquid to evaporate. Thank you!
Let’s Keep The Casserole Love Going
One More Thing!
This recipe is part of our delicious quinoa recipes page. Check it out!
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