I think nearly every American is well acquainted with this dish: the Baked Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole.
Featuring plenty of white rice and plenty of cheddar cheese.
And topped with a can of Campbell’s Cream of Broccoli Soup.
It’s a classic.
Easy, convenient, rich, hot-from-the-oven comfort food.
So lately I started thinking: the chicken broccoli and rice casserole is the perfect target for a 21st century upgrade.
This dish could be so much healthier and taste so much better, with a few tweaks.
This modern, updated version is still really quick and convenient.
It’s just a lot healthier, with fresh, whole ingredients like cottage cheese (you can’t taste it), quinoa, and broccoli.
Despite all the healthy ingredients, I crave this recipe often because it just tastes so rich and flavorful.
Start to finish, this is an easy dish that takes only 30 minutes to throw together.
So I really love this casserole for hectic weeknights.
End result: a tasty plate of rich, cheesy comfort food.
This easy casserole is full of healthy ingredients.
But all the melted, gooey cheddar makes it a dish that could please a crowd.
Here’s the recipe for Easy Quinoa Cheddar Bake with Chicken and Broccoli:
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 pound frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
- 1½ cups low-fat cottage cheese, strained
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and season with salt. Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when the spiral germ becomes visible around the grains.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the cubed chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the outsides are nicely browned, about 7 minutes. Add the thawed chopped broccoli and cook until the broccoli is lightly softened, about 2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add the cooked quinoa, cottage cheese, and ⅔ cups grated cheddar. Stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- (If skillet is not oven-safe, transfer ingredients to a large casserole dish at this point.)
- Spread the remaining ⅓ cup grated cheddar over the top of the casserole.
- In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, and one teaspoon of olive oil. Stir until breadcrumbs are well coated with oil. Spoon breadcrumb mixture all over the top of the casserole.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until breadcrumbs are lightly browned and cheese begins bubbling, about 10 minutes. Serve.
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