Comfort meets healthy in Chicken Zucchini Casserole with layers of shredded chicken, zucchini noodle sheets and easy homemade sauce. Loaded with fiber, vegetables, and protein, this will be a weeknight dinner favorite.
Other fresh and filling zucchini recipes on our summer menu include zucchini lasagna and zucchini tomato bake!
Table of contents
I make this chicken zucchini casserole during July and August months when I have garden fresh zucchini.
If you have zucchini and chicken in your fridge, you need to make this summertime dinner. Plus check out these other 45 healthy zucchini recipes!
This zucchini noodle recipe might not be considered the easiest baked chicken and zucchini recipe but I don’t care. I love to throw everything together and see what happens, accompanied by a glass of wine, of course!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
What I like about this chicken zucchini casserole is that its ingredients are versatile and you can use what you have on hand. Just look at all this cheesy veggie goodness!
Cooked chicken layered in between sheets of low carb zucchini noodles along with an easy homemade enchilada sauce. You will love this no noodle version of my traditional Instant Pot lasagna.
Be sure to check out my crazy popular Tex Mex chicken and zucchini for other south of the border dinners!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Ingredients for this zucchini chicken casserole are relatively simple with a combination of fresh and pantry items.
- Zucchini: If you happen to have giant garden zucchini, just slice it in thin rounds.
- Chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts or ground chicken: Any type of cooked poultry works.
- 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 : 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.
How to Make Chicken Zucchini Casserole
It may look like a lot of steps, but time flies by when making this Mexican chicken zucchini lasagna!
Salt zucchini: 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.
Cook chicken: Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning and use 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.
Make homemade sauce: In a medium bowl, add tomato sauce, taco seasoning, jalapeno, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper; stir to combine and set aside.
Pat zucchini dry: 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.
Assemble casserole: Wipe dry the baking dish, spread a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce and sprinkle with quinoa.
Continue casserole layers: 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.
Repeat layers: Until you run out of ingredients finishing with a layer of zucchini, topped with a bit of tomato sauce, then sprinkling with remaining cheese.
Bake casserole: 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.
Tips for Success
- Summer squash: You can use zucchini squash or yellow summer squash in this casserole. Or both! Eating the rainbow is so much fun!
- Zucchini noodles: For even thickness, use a mandoline or grater with slicing blade. I highly recommend to wear cut resistant gloves.
- No quinoa?: You can skip if have none or use breadcrumbs.
- Chicken: Any leftover chicken works, I often use grilled chicken recipe or Instant Pot chicken breast.
Can You Make Ahead Chicken Zucchini Casserole?
You can make chicken and zucchini noodles ahead. Meal prep, assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours.
Meat is cooked, so it is safe. Then bake as per recipe.
Can You Freeze This Casserole?
You cannot freeze it. Not ahead, nor the leftovers. Zucchini is 90% water. When defrosted casserole will release so much water, your 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.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Chicken and zucchini noodle casserole leftovers keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days. It is one of those foods like borscht that tastes better the next day.
Make sure container has a tight lid and I always prefer glass to plastic for health and taste reasons.
Chicken zucchini casserole recipe 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:
- Grains: Like whole grain brown rice or quinoa.
- Pasta: Choose tubular pasta like penne, rigatoni, fusilli or elbow macaroni to scoop up the sauce. Unlike white pasta, whole grain pasta contains fiber, vitamins and nutrients from the bran. Also whole foods pasta like chickpea, lentil, quinoa is great!
- Crusty bread: A chunk of fresh crusty baguette or sourdough dipped and enjoyed with chicken and squash casserole is priceless experience on a hot summer day.
- Potatoes: Serve veggie and meat in sauce zucchini casserole over creamy healthy mashed potatoes. I always do with baked chicken and peppers, the sauce makes the best ‘gravy’.
More Healthy Zucchini Recipes
- Garlic zucchini, chicken and corn
- Ground turkey and zucchini
- Zucchini sticks
- Pasta with zucchini and tomatoes
More Healthy Casserole Recipes
- Zucchini potato bake
- Healthy zucchini casserole recipe
- Healthy chicken pot pie casserole
- Healthy chicken broccoli casserole
- Healthy chicken and rice casserole
Chicken Zucchini Casserole
- 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 ground black pepper
- 1 tsp oil for frying
- 1/4 cup quinoa uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups (7 oz) any hard cheese shredded
- 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.
- Store: Refrigerate in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days.
- Make ahead: Meal prep, assemble and refrigerate tightly covered for up to 24 hours. Meat is cooked, so it is safe. Then bake as per recipe.
- Do not freeze: Not ahead, nor the leftovers.
- Chicken: You can use any cooked chicken.
- Zucchini slices: 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.
- Low sodium: If using not low sodium tomato sauce, reduce salt.
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!
You are so welcome Lorna!
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
Such a great recipe!
The quinoa is key and also helps create a delish sauce!
I’m so happy to read this! Thanks for your positive feedback, Melissa!
I love this recipe. I’ve made several times. Always soooooo good.
I’m so glad you enjoy this casserole so much, Sandra.
Very good. I used fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. I like the quinoa for the thickener. Great recipe for summer garden veggies!
So happy to hear this Kim!
Super yummy! It was filling and light- and my partner who hates both zucchini and quinoa had a second helping!
Delicious recipes! Keep up the good work.
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!
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!!
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!!
You are welcome, Jaynee!
This chicken zucchini casserole is 5 stars! Thank you!
I’m confused… ingredients calls for tomato sauce but instructions list enchilada sauce??? Pls clarify 🙂 Thx!
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.:)