Healthier Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice Casserole

Kaleigh McMordie
Total Time: 45 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Servings: 9 servings (1 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

218 calories
8g fat
22g carbs
17g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 9 servings (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 218
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 34mg 11%
Sodium 189mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 17g  
Vitamin D 1mcg 5%
Calcium 146mg 11%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 283mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

It’s important to consume a variety of food from all of the food groups to stay healthy and get all of the essential nutrients your body needs. Nutrition experts recommend building balanced meals that include a lean protein, a whole grain or starch, and a fruit or vegetable. These components are all important to provide you energy throughout the day and help control your blood pressure.

It’s easy to visualize when you have separate portions of protein, grains, and vegetables, but it can be harder to tell if you’re getting a good variety of foods in mixed dishes like casseroles. This cheesy chicken, broccoli, and wild rice casserole ​is loaded with vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and dairy. It’s an easy and delicious meal that has all of the food groups in one, and one that your family will love!

This recipe tastes like comfort food but it is filled with fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains, making it a gut-friendly and heart-healthy dish. It’s even easier to prepare with frozen broccoli, leftover chicken, and leftover wild rice.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 3/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, divided
  • 2 cups cooked whole-grain wild rice blend
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes. Season with salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

  2. In a large skillet, heat about a quarter of the oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and place in a large bowl.

  3. In the same skillet, heat another quarter of the oil. Add garlic, onion, and broccoli. Cook, stirring until onion is soft and broccoli is bright green. Pour into the bowl with the chicken.

  4. Turn heat to low and add the remaining oil to the skillet. Sprinkle flour over oil and whisk to make a paste. Slowly add milk, whisking to combine. Stir in two-thirds of the cheese and remaining black pepper. Remove from heat.

  5. Add rice to chicken and broccoli in the large bowl. Stir to combine. Gently stir in cheese sauce.

  6. Spray a 9x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread rice mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.

  7. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly. Remove from the oven and serve hot

Variations and Substitutions

If you can’t find whole-grain wild rice, you can use brown rice instead. For a vegetarian option, you can simply leave out the chicken or substitute with your favorite vegetarian protein like extra firm tofu.

While the classic dish calls only for broccoli, you can add any vegetables you like such as carrots, cauliflower, spinach, corn, or bell peppers.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • This casserole is great reheated for lunch. To reheat in the oven, cover with foil and bake at 350F until warmed through.
  • While this casserole is a complete meal in itself, if you're craving some variety at the table, serve it with a salad for extra color and vegetables. 

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1 Source
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  1. Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The health benefits of dietary fibre. Nutrients. 2020;12(10):3209.doi:10.3390/nu12103209