by Olena

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

by Olena

Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.

It is so cold at my beach house, all I can think of is comfort food and this healthy chicken broccoli casserole is it this week! Sometimes when I mark recipe “kid friendly” I understand that’s a very broad definition just like “healthy”. However, today this chicken pasta bake is for 99% of kids. Ha!

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe

This casserole is so good! Everything cooks in one pot ( you don’t even have to drain pasta). Casserole has healthy amount of white sauce, pasta is not dry and broccoli are not mushy. And it’s easy, no bazillion steps or ingredients. My family members love casseroles, hope yours will too!!!

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What Are Casserole Ingredients and Substitutions?

Pasta

I used whole wheat pasta. Any whole grain or gluten free short pasta that can “scoop up” some of the cheese sauce (really it’s super healthy white sauce involved here) is good. Just follow pasta’s package instructions when cooking because for example, brown rice and quinoa pasta cook very fast.

Chicken

I used leftover cooked turkey. You can use any pre-cooked chicken breast or thighs, I have very simple Instant pot chicken breast recipe that is perfect for this casserole dish. Worst comes to worst, rotisserie chicken is OK too. It’s not as healthy of a choice as homemade but still it’s better than eating McDonald’s.

Alternatively, you can use shredded chicken instead of cubed.

Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.

Broccoli

Both fresh or frozen broccoli work. You can add frozen broccoli without thawing first because they cook fast.

Cheese

I used marble cheese which is a mix of yellow and white cheese. You can use cheddar cheese, however it’s hard to find organic which is my preference for dairy, or mozzarella cheese. Full fat would be the best meaning anything with fat content more than 15% and that doesn’t say “low fat” on the label.

Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.

Milk

Whole milk with 3.5% fat content a.k.a homogenized milk is A MUST for tasty chicken broccoli casserole. Why? Because it makes the sauce creamy. I would highly recommend not to use low fat milk or skim milk because dish will come out flat.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch thickens the sauce. If you are out or have sensitivity or preference, you can substitute with whole wheat flour or arrowroot powder.

Broth

Vegetable or chicken broth work well. Make sure it’s low sodium though because that’s what I used developing this recipe. Regular broth is VERY high in sodium plus if you don’t adjust amount of salt, the casserole will come out super salty.

Can I Add Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt to the Sauce?

Sour cream

I personally love the taste of sour cream but not its ingredients list, even organic has additives. However, it tastes very good and different from yogurt. Maybe once in a while it “won’t kill me” like I like to say.

Greek yogurt

Plain Greek yogurt is strained yogurt that is high in protein. It is more tangy than sour cream.

Stir in desired amount of any (I would say 1/2 cup) after casserole has baked but before sprinkling cheese. Do not add to the sauce and bake with sour cream or yogurt. Yogurt will curdle for sure, and sour cream will dry out anyways iMHO.

 How to Make Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.In a large pot, add stock and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5-6 minutes or al dente, stirring occasionally. Do not drain. Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch and add to the pot with pasta along with garlic powder, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes until thickened, stirring once or twice. Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.
  3. Turn off heat and add cooked chicken and broccoli. Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.
  4. Stir, transfer to previously prepared baking dish and bake covered for 15 minutes. Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese, turn off the oven and “bake” until cheese is melted. Serve hot. Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it's healthy.

Can I Freeze Leftovers?

Yes, technically you can but I will be very honest with you and say that I wouldn’t.

  1. Casserole has been already cooked, stirred and mushed around. I wouldn’t like the texture of this casserole particularly thawed. Especially if you use gluten free pasta like brown rice or quinoa – to me it would reminds a texture of baby puree.
  2. My offer to you is cut recipe in half if you are cooking only for 2. If for more, make full recipe and leftovers refrigerate well for a few days and prevent you from eating junk food.

More Healthy Casserole Recipes:

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Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole

5 from 1 reviews

Almost One Pot Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole Recipe that is saucy with firm pasta and crunchy broccoli. No canned soup, cheesy, easy, kids love it and it’s healthy.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American Ukrainian

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, low sodium
  • 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, cubed
  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup marble cheese, shredded
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, add stock and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 5-6 minutes or al dente, stirring occasionally. Do not drain.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch and add to the pot with pasta along with garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until thickened, stirring once or twice.
  4. Turn off heat and add cooked chicken and broccoli. Stir, transfer to previously prepared baking dish and bake covered for 15 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with cheese, turn off the oven and “bake” until cheese is melted. Serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

About Olena

Hi, I’m Olena and this is my healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I now live on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I’m here to help you with “What’s for dinner?”.

Made a recipe? Tag @ifoodreal or #ifoodreal on Instagram. I would love to share in the “Look what you made” stories.

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