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. Steph says:

    Cathy, did you use the same amount of liquid for the sauce? I’m thinking of cooking the quinoa in the 2 c of broth, and then making the sauce just with the milk, adding in rotisserie chicken, and using gruyere. Thoughts?

  2. Christina M says:

    5 stars
    I recommend covering the dish while in the oven to make sure the quinoa cooks properly. This was delicious and pretty easy for a weekend meal!

  3. Kristen says:

    This recipe changed! I’ve been making this for a few years and came back to it today to make it, and it’s quite different. The chicken, quinoa, and broccoli were all cooked before. I’m going to try and make it the old way as comments suggest the new way isn’t quite working.

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi Kristen,

      Yes, I did update the recipe a few months ago in an attempt to make it more streamlined. My hope was for all of the components to cook in the same pan, rather than cooking them individually and then baking together. Less dishes is always a win in my book!

      I tested the new version many times with success, however I have seen commenters have issues with the cook time so far. I am going to revisit it again soon to address these issues.

      I apologize for the confusion, and hope it turns out the way you have enjoyed it in the past.

      Cheers

  4. Cathy says:

    5 stars
    I used leftover cooked quinoa and leftover rotisserie chicken. I kept an eye on it after 20 mins and ended up cooking for 30 mins plus the time for browning the cheese. This is going into my fall/winter meal rotation 🙂 thank you!

    1. Steph says:

      Cathy, did you use the same amount of liquid for the sauce? I’m thinking of cooking the quinoa in the 2 c of broth, and then making the sauce just with the milk, adding in rotisserie chicken, and using gruyere. Thoughts?

  5. Anna says:

    2 stars
    First time I used a slightly larger (I didn’t realize) pan and the quinoa wasn’t fully submerges so not edible. The second time right pan but still, the quinoa isn’t as fluffy as the picture – more of a soupy mix 🙁

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Hi, Anna! I’m sorry the recipe did not turn out – I can’t figure out why your quinoa turned out soupy? Was the milk mixture thickened before you added it to the baking dish?

  6. Kelly says:

    5 stars
    My fam didn’t complain about this meal. I think I’ll be making it again in the future. Thanks for sharing it! I might suggest noting the size pan in the recipe section, I took a stab with using a 9-x13 and see now, after scrolling through comments to use that size.

  7. Sara says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious!

  8. Amy says:

    This was seriously so good! We made it gluten free by substituting corn starch for flour. Excellent!

    1. dishingouthealth says:

      Hi Amy—so glad to hear!! And thanks for letting me know about the success of your substitution—it’s always great for me to include tidbits like that in the recipe notes. Cheers!

  9. DM says:

    What size casserole pan?

  10. Melanie @ Nutritious Eats says:

    It looks delicious. I want some!