by Olena

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

Olena Osipov
4.9 from 23 votes

Low Carb Chicken Zucchini Casserole with layers of cooked shredded chicken, zucchini noodles sheets and super easy healthy enchilada sauce. Loaded with fiber, vegetables and protein.

This recipe, zucchini lasagna and Parmesan zucchini tomato bake are my favorite dinners to cook during July-August!

Chicken Zucchini Casserole in a baking dish garnished with parsley

Chicken and Zucchini Casserole

I make this chicken zucchini casserole and zucchini lasagna during super hot July and August months.

Both recipes are time consuming but I don’t care. I just love to throw everything together and see what happens (many food Gods prayers are usually involved). Accompanied by a glass of wine, of course.

This chicken and zucchini casserole is Mexican version of lasagna. Cooked chicken layered in between sheets of low carb zucchini noodles along with super easy and healthy enchilada sauce.

What I like about this recipe is that its ingredients are versatile and you can use depending what you have on hand.

Let’s do it! Just look at all this cheesy veggie goodness!!!

slice of chicken and zucchini casserole on a spatula

Ingredients for Chicken and Zucchini Bake

  • Zucchini – If you happen to have giant garden zucchini, just slice it in thin rounds.
  • Chicken thighs or breasts; ground chicken or ground turkey – Any type of poultry works. Just cook it first. For chicken breasts, you can use my baked, grilled or Instant Pot chicken breast recipes.
  • Tomato sauce – Regular plain one. Just make sure it’s low sodium.
  • Cheese – Tex Mex, Colby or any yellow cheese works.
  • Simple spices – Cumin, garlic powder, jalapeno or use chili powder, taco seasoning, fajita seasoning, cayenne to taste. All works.
  • Quinoa – What is quinoa for? We sprinkle a little bit of dry and uncooked quinoa at the bottom of baking dish to help absorb moisture. No matter how hard we try to get rid of extra liquid in zucchini, it still releases more during baking. We are talking about vegetable that is 90% water. You can skip if have none or use breadcrumbs.

Can I Make Ahead and Freeze It?

You can make chicken zucchini casserole ahead. Assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours. Meat is cooked, so it is safe. Then bake as per recipe.

We cannot freeze it. Not ahead, nor the leftovers. Because again going back to the same “issue” that zucchini is 90% water. When defrosted casserole will release so much water…The vegetables will be almost non-existent.

It is a good idea to freeze shredded zucchini in portions for baking healthy zucchini bread in January, for example.

What to Serve Chicken Zucchini Casserole With?

Chicken zucchini casserole is low carb dinner on its own.

If you are more hungry than that or live with 3 hungry boys like I do, here are great healthy accompaniments to scoop up all the bake’s juices and sauces:

  • Brown rice or quinoa – if you have Instant Pot, it’s a matter of 30 seconds to prep any of them. I am obsessed with my magic pot!!!
  • Whole wheat pasta – Choose tubular pasta like penne, rigatoni, fusilli or elbow macaroni. Unlike white pasta, whole grain pasta contains fiber, vitamins and nutrients from the bran. Also whole foods pasta like chickpea, lentil, quinoa etc. is great!
  • Bread
  • Healthy mashed potatoes

Chicken and Zucchini Bake sliced in baking dish

How to Make Chicken Zucchini Casserole

1. Slice and Salt Zucchini + Cook Chicken

  1. You can slice zucchini using mandoline or grater with slicing blade. I highly recommend to wear cut resistant gloves.
  2. In 9 x 13 baking dish, place sliced zucchini in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, repeating with remaining zucchini. Set aside for 30 minutes. Salt will pull away moisture from zucchini making less watery chicken and zucchini casserole.
  3. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning and using tongs toss to coat. Preheat large skillet on medium heat, swirl oil to coat and add chicken. Cook for 5 minutes or until white edges appear, turn and cook for 5 more minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Set aside.

zucchini lasagna noodlesslicing zucchini on mandolinecooked chicken in a skilletshredded chicken on a cutting board

2. Make Sauce and Remove Moisture from Zucchini

  1. In a medium bowl, add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, jalapeno, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper; stir to combine and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pat dry each zucchini layer with paper towels transferring to another dish (plate). You want to absorb moisture between each zucchini layer as much as possible.

tomato sauce, spices and jalapeno in a bowl with a spoonsliced zucchini noodles covered with paper towel to absorb moisture

3. Assemble and Bake

  1. Wipe dry the baking dish, spread a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce and sprinkle with quinoa.enchilada sauce and quinoa at the bottom of baking dish
  2. Place sliced zucchini overlapping a bit to create a single layer. Top with 1/3 of shredded chicken, then a bit of cheese (reserving a bit more than half for the top) and 1/3 of enchilada sauce. Inside layers of zucchini don’t have to look perfect. layers of chicken zucchini casserole
  3. Repeat until you run out of ingredients finishing with a layer of zucchini, topped with a bit of enchilada sauce, then sprinkled with remaining cheese. If you would like a nice weave of zucchini on top, reserve a bit more zucchini noodles than for a regular layer.layers of chicken zucchini casserole
  4. Bake covered with aluminum foil or silicone lid for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.

Enjoy this chicken and zucchini bake!

How to Store Leftovers

Chicken zucchini casserole leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days. It is one of those foods like borscht and stew that taste better the next day.

Make sure container has a tight lid and I always prefer glass to plastic for health and taste reasons.

More Savory Zucchini Recipes to Try:

chicken zucchini casserole

Chicken Zucchini Casserole

Low Carb Chicken Zucchini Casserole with layers of chicken, zucchini noodles and easy enchilada sauce. Lots of fiber, vegetables and protein.
4.92 from 23 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Casserole
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 234kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs zucchini cut lengthwise into 1/8" thick slices
  • 1 lb chicken thighs or breasts boneless & skinless
  • 28 oz tomato sauce low sodium
  • 3 tsp taco seasoning low sodium, divided
  • 1 tbsp jalapeno minced
  • 2 tsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt + more for zucchini
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper ground
  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup quinoa uncooked
  • 1 1/2 cups any hard cheese 7 oz, shredded

Instructions

  • In 9 x 13 baking dish, place sliced zucchini in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, repeating with remaining zucchini. Set aside for 30 minutes. Salt will pull away moisture from zucchini making less watery chicken and zucchini casserole.
  • Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp taco seasoning and using tongs toss to coat. Preheat large skillet on medium heat, swirl oil to coat and add chicken. Cook for 5 minutes or until white edges appear, turn and cook for 5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, add tomato sauce, 2 tsp taco seasoning, jalapeno, maple syrup, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper; stir to combine and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pat dry each zucchini layer with paper towels transferring to another dish (plate). You want to absorb moisture between each zucchini layer as much as possible.
  • Wipe dry the baking dish, spread a few tablespoons of tomato sauce mixture and sprinkle with quinoa (helps to absorb liquids). Place sliced zucchini overlapping a bit to create a single layer. Top with 1/3 of shredded chicken, then a bit of cheese (reserving a bit more than half for the top) and 1/3 of tomato sauce. Repeat until you run out of ingredients finishing with a layer of zucchini, topped with a bit of tomato sauce, then sprinkled with remaining cheese.
  • Bake covered with aluminum foil or silicone lid for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Let stand for 20 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 slices and serve hot.

Notes

  • You can use any cooked chicken.
  • You can slice zucchini using a mandoline or grater with a slice blade (I highly recommend to wear cut resistant gloves). If you would like a nice weave of zucchini on top, reserve a bit more than for a regular layer.
  • If using not low sodium tomato sauce, reduce salt.
  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days.
  • Make Ahead: Assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours, then bake.
  • Freeze: Do not.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 458mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 476IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 1mg
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olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

59 comments on “Chicken Zucchini Casserole

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  1. 5 stars
    A great way to get my kids to eat baby marrows as we call it here in S.A. I used butter chicken instead of shredded chicken and it was a total hit! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    So tasty! The Mexican flavourings and chicken instead of beef was a real treat. My husband is not one to veer away from traditional lasagna and swears that he does not like quinoa, but he loved this and so did I! It’s a delicious way to use those large zucchinis that hide in the garden and became gargantuan. We’ll be making it again! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Due to a lack of certain things I followed the recipe pretty close. Instead of slices I cubed my zucchini and added onion. Used spaghetti sauce and added the spices. My gf is kinda picky on some things but she had 3 servings she liked it so much. I also thought is was delicious and will definitly make it again. Thank you

      1. 4 stars
        Very good. I used fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. I like the quinoa for the thickener. Great recipe for summer garden veggies!

    1. Awe, you are so welcome! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  4. 5 stars
    We really liked this recipe. I usially don’t change a recipe the first time I make it, but we aren’t fans of tomato sauce. I substituted spicy red pepper spaghetti sauce in place of the tomato sauce, and used rotisserie chicken. It was fast and flavorful. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!! Forgot to add the jalapeño and honey but it still turned out amazing! Thanks for sharing!!

  6. I’m confused… ingredients calls for tomato sauce but instructions list enchilada sauce??? Pls clarify 🙂 Thx!

    1. Fixed. Tomato sauce combined with all those spices in step 3 makes homemade enchilada sauce. And I would like to be kissing dolphins right now as well.:)

  7. 4 stars
    Delicious and nutritious! I made this with sliced zucchini that I then halved and thought it worked well. If I made it again, I would use fresh tomatoes and garlic, since I rarely use canned goods, but all in all, this was something I would definitely make a again! Took about one hour to prepare and slightly more than one hour to cook.

  8. I currently have 2 large pans of these in oven now. I added some chopped olives, corn and sauteed onions and made homemade roasted green chile enchilada sauce as I had a mess of green chiles I picked from the garden. Of course zuchinni from garden as well. Yummy smelling as we wait for eclipse this morning in the totality zone. ( I would rather be quilting and cooking though!?)

    1. Those are great additions! Totality zone was good for a few minutes and now let’s move on to more fun stuff haha. I get you. Solar eclipse was great but it’s a quick fun.

  9. All ready for oven…can’t wait to try this…I didn’t have pepper jack cheese so I spread Pace jalape~o pepper jack dip on it with other cheese!

  10. Love the idea of a casserole with zucchini and uncooked quinoa where the quinoa will obsorb the extra water from the zucchini. You could take this idea in a hundred directions. I can’t wait to experiment with this!

  11. 5 stars
    I saw this recipe and it is great for someone like me with celiac disease and is watching her carbs. My friends and I loved it for brunch!! Delicious ?. I read the other comments and I used my mandolin to slice the zucchini and wrapped them in towels overnight in the fridge to get some of the moisture out of the zucchini without salt. It turned out awesome!! Thank you for being this delicious, gluten free and healthy recipe!!
    Liz

  12. 5 stars
    I am making this recipe again today. It’s delicious. I made my own taco seasoning, it’s so easy and worth it. Zucchini has high water content, so I am going to salt it, let it sit, and pat dry to avoid all the excess liquid. I am also using eggplant and zucchini this time.

  13. 5 stars
    I made this tonight for the family because I didn’t have much time and had many chicken breast and zucchinis. It was DELICIOUS. Everyone loved it.

    We are dairy free so I used Daiya shredded cheese in place of the cheese and added chopped cilantro to the enchilada sauce.

    Will make again!

  14. You can make your own enchilada sauce, like store bought, but way better. Just add 2 TBLS oil, 2 TBLS flour,(cook for one minute) then add 4 TBLS Chili powder to the above sauce recipe. It will make a thicker more traditional sauce.

    1. 5 stars
      I love this recipe! I use leftover crock-pot taco chicken for my meat, and this suggestion for the enchilada sauce is spot-on!

  15. OH MY YUM!!! I made this tonight and it was so flavorful and filling. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will definitely be making this often.

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