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Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe with brown rice, kale and no canned soup makes one easy baked healthy comfort food from scratch. | ifoodreal.com

I’m sure many of you know and love a good old chicken broccoli rice casserole which is delicious but not so light. I created a healthy version of America’s favourite comfort food by cutting down cheese, using brown rice, lean chicken breasts, upped the broccoli and added kale. The result was a delicious healthy chicken broccoli rice casserole without extra calories. My boys ate it twice this week and nobody complained.

You need no canned soup or a pound of cheese to make this chicken broccoli rice casserole saucy and comforting, adding the right amount of seasoning makes a delicious sauce. And as casserole bakes in the oven flavours “marry” each other, yielding a healthy meal full of vegetables and flavour.

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole Recipe with brown rice, kale and no canned soup makes one easy baked healthy comfort food from scratch. | ifoodreal.com

I used regular brown basmati rice, not parboiled or instant. That’s why I pre-cooked it on the stovetop while browning the chicken and cutting up veggies. Very easy and fast. First time I experimented with this recipe was late Saturday afternoon and I was tired. Surprisingly, we had dinner ready in 50 minutes.

My kids love broccoli but they do not like kale. Understandable, right?! And I really loaded this healthy chicken broccoli rice casserole with veggies which they didn’t mind at all. Kale got lost in the sauce. So, I guess it was delicious! You could also use spinach instead. And if your family is not a fan of broccoli I’m sure cauliflower would work great too!

Looking for more healthy casserole recipes? Try my healthy chicken pasta bake with corn, roasted cauliflower mac and cheese casserole, and one pot chili mac.

Skinny Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Casserole with Kale is a light version of America's favourite comfort food. And it's a quick recipe too. | ifoodreal.com

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole


  • 1 cup basmati brown rice, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" size pieces
  • 4 cups kale, coarsely chopped & packed
  • 4 cups broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2% cow's milk, any plain milk of choice works)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp salt + a pinch
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2/3 cup Colby Jack/Tex Mex cheese, shredded
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)


  1. In a large pot, add rice, water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 mins. Remove from heat and set aside. There will be some water left in the pot, do not drain. We need it to continue cooking rice in the oven.
  2. While rice is cooking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Also, preheat large skillet on high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add chicken and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a pot with rice, along with kale and broccoli.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, garlic powder, cornstarch, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour into a pot with rice, chicken and veggies. Also add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and gently mix to combine. Transfer mixture to a 9" x 13" baking dish, level with spatula and sprinkle with 2/3 cup Colby Jack/Tex Mex cheese. Cover with foil tightly and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve hot.
  4. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving = 1 + 2/3 cups:
Calories: 280.0
Total Fat: 5.0 g
Cholesterol: 47.5 mg
Sodium: 492.3 mg
Total Carbs: 31.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Protein: 29.3 g
WW Points+: 7

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    • Olena

      Haha, more like healthy moms think alike – make a casserole.:) Casseroles are fast and make great leftovers. I make at least 1 a week, with testing recipes more like 3 a week.:)

    • Nancy

      This looks sooo delicious and healthy. It’s so unusual to find a good recipe using kale and it’s so healthy. I’ll be trying this as soon as I pick up that ‘special rice’.
      Thanks a bunch (of Kale)

  1. Lauren

    This looks delicious Olena! I love casseroles. They’re so versatile and seem to please everyone. Pinning this one to try for our family! 🙂

    • Olena

      Thank you, Annie. No, casseroles are definitely not easy to photograph. But so much fun to make and so easy!

  2. Nora

    I’m thinking of trying this recipe with quinoa in place of the rice. Looks wonderful.

  3. Meegan

    What do you think will happen if I omit the cornstarch? I can’t have it.

    • Olena

      You can replace the cornstarch with 1/4 cup whole wheat flour. If you skip the cornstarch the casserole will have more liquid and won’t hold as well together but the taste won’t be affected.:)

  4. Meegan

    Unfortunately I can’t use wheat flour or anything of the like -no starch diet. I am going to try a little almond flour. Only thing I can really have. 🙂

  5. Anji

    I made this with a few alterations, instead of rice I used cauliflower and reduced water to 1/2 cup, I substitued the corn starch for Hidden Valley Ranch powder and we used canned chicken, the result was awesome and my entire family loved this (even the picky eaters)

    • Gloria

      Anji, Do you mean you used Hidden Valley Ranch Powder instead of the corn starch? And re the cauliflower, did you use large or small florets?

  6. Heather

    Rice is still crunchy after 45 minutes in the oven. I think I’ll cook mine a little further on the stove top next time. Flavour is really good though.

    • Olena

      Hi Heather. I think it depends on type of rice and how well the casserole is covered. I always use long grain brown rice and rice is cooked. I like not mushy rice. Yes, cooking on a stovetop will yield a softer rice. Glad you enjoyed the flavours.

  7. Angela B.

    Hi Olena: What a very delicious, healthy, and lovely-looking dish! I didn’t change a thing, and my family & I loved it. I’ll bring this dish to our next Pot-Luck Supper. I’m sure everyone will enjoy it every bit as much as my family & I did. Of course, I’ll ‘double’ the recipe. I signed-up to receive your recipes, since I like to serve my family ‘tasty’, yet ‘healthy’ meals. ‘Go Girl”!, and thanks.

  8. Nathan

    I loved this recipe. I used some alternatives though, like almond flour, almond milk and creamed cauliflower instead of cheese.

  9. Amy

    I made this tonight because I had a bunch of kale and broccoli to use up (literally did a pinterest search for “Kale and broccoli recipes” 🙂 I’m on my second bowl! Really tasty. I subbed quinoa for rice and it turned out great. I think I also added more veggies than called for, it seemed really dry, so I mixed up a little extra of the milk & seasoning to add and tossed in an extra handful of cheese. The broccoli on the top got a nice caramelized roastyness. YUM.

  10. Jess

    Just made this! I used spinach instead of kale (because kale is incredibly difficult to find on an island this time of year) and I added a bit of curry powder to the chicken while cooking it. SO GOOD. I just want to eat the full thing!

  11. Megan@ Blue Star Vermont

    Just discovered your blog. It is a gold mine for me! I am thinking of substituting a little arrowroot for the cornstarch. Looking forward to trying this. Thanks for what looks like a great recipe.

  12. Deb

    Another great recipe! I only use turkey, but otherwise followed the recipe – we had NO leftovers. Very reminiscent of chicken divan – but actually better! Next time we’ll have to double the veggies, rice and sauce!

  13. Lauren

    Delicious recipe–it made for such a quick dinner. I used leftover chicken and rice and 2 bags of frozen broccoli. Kale was a lovely addition. Thank you!

  14. Cc

    If I freeze this after putting it together how long would I cook it at 375 before it’s finished?

  15. Melissa

    Made this for dinner on Tuesday and it was a hit! Getting my fiancé to eat kale or brown rice is not easy. Not only did he eat it, he really enjoyed it! I loved it too. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    • Olena

      Love this! Please don’t be shy to let me know what else you make. So awesome to hear I can help a girl in need. It is hard to be a woman because of all this cooking. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to eat…how much more free time and money we would have. Sigh. And back in the kitchen I go…Friday night. Sigh.

  16. Brigitte

    Hello! I am just wondering if I could substitute pasta (penne or macaroni) instead of rice? If so, what would be a good ratio?





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