Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake

4.82 from 37 votes
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Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Bake is the healthy, cheesy, and easy recipe that will please everyone at your table. The flavors are simple and appealing, the prep is a breeze, and it’s perfect for busy weeknights.

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Chicken broccoli bake in a red baking dish with a serving spoon digging in.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Broccoli Bake

We all love a casserole, right? Especially a cheesy chicken and broccoli combo, which may be the most universally appealing duo.

This one take a detour from classic creamy, cheesy casseroles with its secretly healthy ingredient lineup. In the lineup, you have:

  • Gluten free + protein-packed quinoa
  • Lean chicken breasts
  • Nutrient-rich broccoli
  • Just enough melty cheddar cheese to appease the picky eaters

And best of all, this chicken broccoli bake contains NO SOUP (cream of, canned, or otherwise).

Instead, the smooth, bubbly sauce is made of aromatics, broth, whole milk, spices, and cheddar.

This quinoa bake is easy to scale up to feed a crowd, as well as freezer-friendly. It saves and reheats like a dream, making it an ideal option for healthy meals throughout the week.

Recipe Ingredients

Recipe ingredients in separate bowls on a white surface with labels.

This recipe checks all of the boxes for a weeknight win.

Plus, it’s filling and comforting while boasting a wholesome ingredient list.

  • Chicken: I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken breasts to keep the casserole lean, however you can also use tenders or thighs.
  • Broccoli: You need 4 cups of broccoli florets, which amounts to 1 large crown. Alternately, grab a bag of pre-chopped florets for convenience. 
  • Quinoa: Quinoa is actually not a grain, but a protein-rich pseudo-seed. It’s nutritious, filling, and one of the only plant-based sources of all nine essential amino acids.
  • Aromatics: A mix of garlic and shallots create the aromatic foundation of this quinoa bake. Alternatively, you can use yellow onion.
  • Flour: A little flour helps thicken the cheesy sauce mixture. For a gluten free alternative, use corn starch or a 1:1 gluten free baking flour blend, such as Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Broth: Use chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Milk: I prefer using whole milk, however you can also use cashew milk for a dairy-free alternative. 
  • Cheddar: Sharp cheddar is my favorite, because a little goes a long way. It’s bold, complex, and a perfect pairing with the broccoli. For a dairy-free alternative, use your favorite brand of cheesy shreds.

The Directions

Step 1: Make Cheese Sauce. Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in flour and cook 2 full minutes to remove raw flour taste.

Shallots, garlic, milk, and broth simmering in a pot.

Slowly whisk in broth and milk; increase heat to bring mixture to a simmer. Gently simmer for 5 minutes, until sauce thickens. Stir in poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Cheese sauce being poured over quinoa, chicken, and broccoli in a casserole dish.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients in a Casserole Dish. Pour cheese sauce overtop, and carefully stir to make sure all components are submerged in sauce.

Step 3: Bake at 375ºF for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the quinoa and chicken are cooked through.

A spoon digging into the corner of a baking dish filled with chicken, broccoli, and quinoa mixture.

Step 4: Top with more cheese, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheesy is bubbly.

How to Store and Reheat:

  • To Store. Refrigerate quinoa bake in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a small baking dish in the oven at 350ºF. Alternatively, you can rewarm individual portions in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note:
    • You can freeze either before or after baking it – just be sure your dish is freezer-safe.
  • 4-quart Casserole Dish: Love that this one comes with a lid for easy storage and travel.
  • Small Saucepan: For making the cheesy sauce.
  • My Favorite Measuring Spoons: These double-sided spoons have one narrow end designed to fit in spice jars, and one round end for measuring liquids. They’re also magnetic for easy storage.
A small white serving plate filled with chicken broccoli bake.

More Healthy Casserole Recipes to Try:

If you try this chicken broccoli bake, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth so I can see your beautiful creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates!

4.82 from 37 votes

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa Bake

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Bake is the healthy, cheesy, and easy recipe that will please everyone at your table. The flavors are simple and appealing, the prep is a breeze, and it's perfect for busy weeknights. 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5 servings

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion or shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
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Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    Heat butter and oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Stir in flour and cook 2 full minutes to remove raw flour taste.
    Slowly whisk in broth and milk; increase heat to bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking often, until sauce thickens. Stir in poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. salt, 3/4 tsp. black pepper, and 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Remove from heat.
  • Cut chicken into small bite-sized pieces, and season with remaining 1/4 tsp. each of salt and black pepper.
    Grease a 4-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Add quinoa, chicken, and broccoli to dish. Pour cheese sauce overtop and carefully stir, making sure all components are mostly submerged in sauce.
  • Bake for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the quinoa and chicken are cooked through.
    Remove from oven, stir again, and top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheesy is bubbly and golden. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • To Store. Refrigerate in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a small baking dish in the oven at 350ºF. Alternatively, you can rewarm individual portions in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
    •  You can freeze either before or after baking it – just be sure your dish is freezer-safe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 800mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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Recipe Rating




29 Comments

  1. Marissa says:

    What can we use if we don’t drink dairy milk

    1. Dorothy says:

      Fairlife milk

  2. Andrea says:

    2 stars
    Tasted good, but not enough liquid to actually cook the quinoa. Had to add a lot more broth and then the chicken and broccoli were overdone by the time the quinoa finally cooked.

    1. Dorothy says:

      I’m going to make this. Thank you for the heads up. I’ll now be prepared to add more low sodium broth.

  3. Jodi M. says:

    5 stars
    My family loved this recipe! It was great the next day, too.

  4. Courtney H. says:

    5 stars
    Very tasty. Thanks for creating this.

    1. Mart says:

      5 stars
      We enjoyed this one a lot and it will be on our regular rotation. It’s healthy, on the cheaper range (the chicken and cheese were on sale) and relatively quick; it took me about an hour from prep to serve. It gave us 6 portions so we had some leftovers for lunch as well. I used 2% milk and the sauce was still very creamy. Tx for this great recipe!

  5. JPN says:

    5 stars
    This was the perfect dish on a cold fall day.
    Ended up adding cubed butternut squash pieces, mixing brown rice with the quinoa, and a splash of white wine.
    Delicious and still nutritious!

  6. Jennifer Barton says:

    4 stars
    Very tasty. I used violife cheese and oat milk in the sauce and it turned out just fine. I didn’t cover and the quinoa/chicken was done in 40-45 minutes. I had some internal debate on what size pan to use bc the linked (and pretty pan) was smaller in dimension than my Pyrex that said 3 quarts. I made two batches so I just spread between two large Pyrex’s and it worked. I used cornstarch bc my flour was embarrassingly out of date. I also didn’t have poultry seasoning so I used thyme, sage and a dash of nutmeg. I used real cheese to top one dish and the rest of the violife on the other. Now we have lunch for at least half the days this week. Woohoo!
    I do prefer Jamie’s newer more-veggie heavy recipes but this had chicken and was a nice cozy option for the cool front hitting.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Jennifer, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for taking time to leave a review!

  7. Leanne says:

    5 stars
    I made this on a whim because I happened to have almost everything on hand, love when that happens! The one thing I didn’t have was quinoa so I subbed a Thai jasmine rice and it still turned out great. I covered with foil like some others mentioned. And I did take it out at 35 minutes, stirred, sprinkled the cheese on top and put the foil back over the top for a couple of minutes to help it melt instead of doing the broil step. We all loved it!

  8. Rebecca says:

    5 stars
    Enjoyed this! It did taste healthy but I may have not seasoned my chicken enough. I didn’t cover with foil like other comments suggested and my quinoa still cooked after 40 minutes.

  9. Carla says:

    5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly as I am still learning and trying new thing. Turned out amazing!!! Defiantly adding this to my favourites. The only thing I did was cover the dish as per a previous comment and it turned out great! No problems with the quinoa cooking at all

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Carla – I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for coming back and leaving a review!