Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole is a tasty recipe with tender chicken, crisp broccoli florets, creamy sauce, and cheese mixed with whole wheat rotini. This classic recipe gets a healthy makeover for those of us who want to start eating healthier.
It is an absolutely delicious recipe you can make on a busy weeknight or when you crave high-quality comfort food. The seasoned chicken breast can be replaced to make a vegetarian version of this casserole dish too.
Another filling and delicious recipe that makes great leftovers and can be made in advance is these stuffed cabbage rolls, which are healthy and tasty.
Here’s a list of the ingredients you’ll want to gather to make this healthy chicken broccoli casserole recipe. You can find the ingredient amounts and instructions for cooking in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Whole wheat rotini: Boiled, drained, and set aside.
- Small finely chopped onion: You can use onion powder.
- Olive oil: Or whatever oil you like.
- Uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts: Cut into cubes.
- All-purpose flour: Or use gluten-free flour like rice, coconut, or almond flour.
- Fat-free milk: Skim milk will also work.
- Steamed broccoli florets: Frozen broccoli or fresh broccoli.
- Minced garlic cloves: Or garlic powder will work.
- Dried Italian herbs: Make your own with oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and basil.
- Paprika: You can use smoked paprika for a smoky flavor.
- Fat-free plain Greek yogurt: Make extra creamy sauce with sour cream or cream cheese but it will add carbs, fat, and calories.
- Light mayonnaise: Fat-free is good too.
- Shredded cheddar cheese: Sharp cheddar cheese is perfect.
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
How to make healthy chicken broccoli casserole from scratch?
- Preheat oven: First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
- Cook broccoli: In the meantime, cook broccoli in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions.
- Heat onions: Now, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Add onions and let them cook until they get tender.
- Add chicken: Next, add the paprika, Italian herbs, minced garlic, and chicken. Heat on medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Drain the oil if needed.
- Make the sauce: Then, sprinkle the flour over the cooked chicken and cook for one minute. Stir in the milk and bring it to a boil before cooking for three more minutes. It should be bubbly and thick.
- Add more: After, stir in the cooked broccoli mixture and heat for about a minute. Add mayo, yogurt, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.
- Bake and serve: Stir in the cooked pasta and pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese melts, turns bubbly, and is golden brown around the edges.
- Broccoli rice chicken casserole: Make this a healthy chicken broccoli rice casserole with a cup of cooked brown rice instead of pasta. Use cooked rice so you do not have to worry about it not getting done.
- Low-carb rice: Instead of pasta or rice casserole, use cauliflower rice to make this even healthier.
- Other shredded cheese: You can use any shredded cheese you like for the cheese sauce like pepper jack, mozzarella, or parmesan.
- Chicken stock or broth: Add chicken broth or stock to the pasta water for extra flavor but make sure it is low-sodium.
- Creamy soup: Instead of Greek yogurt, try canned cream of mushroom soup or some other condensed canned soup.
- Add veggies: Make this even heartier with some more veggies like fresh mushrooms, green beans, bell peppers, carrots, and cauliflower.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my chicken dry?
You may have overcooked it. Try not cooking it all the way in the skillet and let it finish cooking in the oven. Just cook to 140 degrees F on the stove and let it continue to cook to 165 degrees F in the oven. If it is still too dry, check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. It may be cooking too hot.
Why are my broccoli and pasta mushy?
It could be that they were overcooked too. If you are using fresh broccoli, do not cook it first in the skillet. Just let it cook in the oven. This is especially true if you like your broccoli crisper. The pasta should only be cooked al dente and then rinsed with cold water to stop the cooking process before baking.
How can I thicken this up?
If your casserole dish is too runny or watery, you may have used too much milk or yogurt. Add some more flour and stir to see if that helps. If not, make a cornstarch slurry with water and cornstarch and use that to thicken the sauce before serving.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: Store leftover healthy cheesy chicken broccoli casserole in an airtight container for four days.
- Freeze: Freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 90 days.
- Thaw: For best results, thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat: Cook for one to two minutes in the microwave depending on how much you are reheating.
- Shorten meal prep time and add even more flavor by using rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken from the day before.
- Top this healthy casserole with crushed Ritz crackers, potato chips, or cornflakes for extra crunch and flavor.
- Serve with a bit of Dijon mustard, curry powder, or hot sauce on top to give your healthy chicken broccoli casserole an even more delicious flavor.
- You can always add more onion powder and garlic powder to taste before serving.
- For a firmer broccoli texture, do not cook first. Let it cook in the oven.
Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat rotini
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp Italian dried herbs
- 1 tsp paprika
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fat-free-milk or whole milk
- 16 oz broccoli florets can use fresh, frozen, or steam-in-bag package
- 5.3 oz plain Greek yogurt small container
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray 2 qt. casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.
- Also, in the meantime, steam or lightly cook broccoli, ensuring it remains crisp. If using steam-in-bag package, cook broccoli in the microwave according to the directions on the package; set aside.
- Place a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, and cook chopped onion tender.
- Add the cubed chicken, garlic, Italian dried herbs, and paprika. Cook stirring until the chicken is cooked through. Drain any extra liquid from the pan, if needed.
- Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and stir constantly, cooking for one minute. Add the milk, little by little, and always stirring until fully combined. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly.
- Stir in the cooked broccoli, and heat for about 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and add yogurt, mayo, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.
- Stir in the cooked pasta and pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese melts and it's bubbly. Enjoy!!
- For a firmer broccoli texture, do not cook first. Let it cook in the oven.
- Top the casserole with crushed Ritz crackers, potato chips, or cornflakes for extra crunch and flavor.
More Healthy Dinner Recipes
Here are a few more of our readers’ favorite dinner recipes made with healthy ingredients that you and your whole family will enjoy…
- Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Wrap with Spinach, Strawberries and Walnuts
- Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts Recipe
- Mediterranean Cod Sheet Pan Dinner