in ,

Chipotle Quinoa Casserole with Chicken

chipotle-quinoa-casserole-with-chicken

Boasting those delicious Tex-Mex flavors that everyone loves, this quinoa casserole is a great way to please the eaters in your home and insert some well-rounded nutrition all at the same time! If you love our Chicken-and-Rice Taco Casserole, then this Chipotle Quinoa Casserole with Chicken is a must-add to your menus!

Chipotle Quinoa Casserole in white baking dish topped with melted cheese and avocado slices.

Quinoa Casserole for a healthy, Delicious Dinner!

We love to add a casserole (made ahead OR the night of) to our weekly menus because they are a great way to have a well-rounded dinner out of one dish. Plus, they’re easy to make, can be a nice way to use up leftovers (such as pre-cooked chicken or partially used veggies), and feature several food groups. This quinoa casserole get high marks from our families for delicious taste, and it gets high marks from us (as registered dietitians and moms) for health and ease.

All ingredients for chipotle quinoa chicken casserole arranged in small bowls, cans, and measuring cups

Ingredients to make this chicken Quinoa casserole

Here’s what to gather to make this healthy chipotle chicken quinoa casserole for dinner this week!

  • Cooked chicken – you’ll need 1 pound of pre-cooked chicken (see the recipe card below for our quick instructions to make cooked chicken on the stovetop, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot)
  • Spices – chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle powder (or substitute regular chili powder)  
  • Uncooked quinoa
  • Salsa – you’ll need a 16-ounce jar of any type of salsa
  • Frozen corn – or use fresh corn cut from the cob
  • Zucchini
  • Diced green chilies – you’ll need a 4-ounce can of diced green chiles
  • Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • Optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges, sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, and/or diced or sliced avocado

Yes, We Have a Cookbook!

The Real Food Table includes more than 100 easy and delicious mostly gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free recipes for every day.

Buy Now

All ingredients for chipotle quinoa casserole in a white baking dish ready to stir together.
Chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken in a white baking dish with cheddar cheese being sprinkled on top.

How to make chipotle Quinoa Casserole with chicken

This recipe couldn’t be easier, especially since you mix the ingredients right IN the baking dish! No need to dirty extra bowls or kitchen tools. Here are the four quick steps to make this easy quinoa casserole for dinner:

  1. Heat the oven and prep the dish: Preheat the oven to 375℉. Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Combine ingredients in the baking dish: To the baking dish, add the diced or shredded chicken, seasonings, quinoa, salsa, water, corn, zucchini, green chiles, and 1¼ cups of cheese. Then, stir until everything is combined.
  3. Cover and bake: Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and let the quinoa casserole stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Garnish and serve: Serve with fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, and/or lime wedges. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, freeze the fully baked and cooled casserole for longer storage.

Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

4 Easy Methods to Cook Chicken

We offer several methods on this website for easy fool-proof ways to make chicken that you can use in the quinoa casserole recipe:

For cooked shredded chicken, follow our instructions for Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken. Or for the crockpot, place 1 to 1 1/2 lbs  raw boneless skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot with 1 cup of broth or water. Cover and cook on the high for 3 hours or until the chicken shreds easily. Or make a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot, which you can pull, shred, or dice for later.

For diced cooked chicken, use this method for Perfect Cooked Chicken Breast in a skillet.

We recommend reading through this blog post for our step-by-step instructions and photo tutorial showing you exactly how to make this chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken. For the printable directions, ingredient amounts, and complete nutrition analysis that lists calories, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, and more per serving, scroll down to the printable recipe card below.

Overhead view chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken, topped with melted cheddar cheese and avocado slices.

Healthy ingredients in this quinoa casserole

This delicious dinner casserole boasts many nutritious ingredients that represent several important food groups. When you make it, you can know that you’re getting a well-rounded and healthy dinner that also tastes fantastic! Here are some ingredient highlights:

  • Quinoa – this gluten-free grain is high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, essential for cardiovascular health
  • Chicken – this lean protein is liked by many and contains body-building amino acids, as well as micronutrients, including vitamin B12, tryptophan, choline, zinc, iron, and copper, which we need for overall brain and body health, as well as a normal functioning metabolism
  • Corn – corn is a healthy starch vegetable (it’s a whole grain when dried, like popcorn or ground into a flour) that boasts a bunch of B vitamins, as well as fiber and eye-protective carotenoids
  • Zucchini – this easy-to-find veggie is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium along with antioxidants. It’s also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to promote healthy digestion

More Healthy Quinoa Recipes to Try

See All Quinoa Recipes

Two black bowls filled with chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken and melted cheese.

FAQs about this Quinoa Casserole with Chicken

Here are some frequently asked questions we get about this delicious quinoa casserole recipe. Perhaps one of them will answer your question, too!

  • Do I need to pre-cooked the quinoa? No, you should use dry (uncooked) quinoa in this recipe.
  • What is the texture of this casserole? The texture of this casserole is similar to a chicken-and-rice casserole. Note: The casserole will appear slightly soupy when it comes out of the oven. But it does thicken up nicely during the 15 minutes of stand time.
  • How should I store leftovers: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or, freeze the cooked casserole for longer storage (see question below).
  • Can I freeze this for future meals? Yes! You can either freeze individual portions in oven-safe and freezer-safe glass meal prep containers like these or freeze the entire dish. For best results, allow the quinoa casserole to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • What is the best way to reheat a quinoa casserole? The microwave is the easiest method for reheating, plus it prevents the casserole from drying out while reheating. You can also get excellent results by reheating the casserole in a covered skillet over medium-high heat to which 1-2 tablespoons of water has been added.
  • Is this casserole spicy? This casserole has traditional southwest seasonings, which provide familiar and crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex flavors and smokiness, but not a ton of spicy heat. If you prefer to increase the spiciness, add some cayenne pepper and use hot diced green chiles in place of the mild diced green chiles.
A spoonful of chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken and cheddar cheese being lifted from a white casserole.

Perfect Occasions to Serve this Dish

Wondering when you should serve this dish? Of course, we think the best answer to that question is “Whenever you’re hungry for it!” But some other perfectly appropriate times that this healthy quinoa recipe is just right are for:

  • easy weeknight meals
  • make-ahead or meal prep lunches and dinners
  • Sunday dinners
  • small potluck dinners
  • for entertaining when you dress it up with garnishes
  • a great option to bake ahead for an expecting mom, a sick friend, or someone who needs a quick and healthy dinner option at the ready

A white baking dish filled with chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken, a spoon full of

Recipe

Chipotle Quinoa Casserole with Chicken

Here’s a healthy and delicious weeknight dinner that boasts nutritious ingredients and crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex flavors. This family-friendly quinoa casserole is high in protein, veggie loaded, and provides wonderful leftovers.

Prep: 20 minsCook: 55 minsTotal: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded or diced*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (may substitute regular chili powder)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (uncooked) 
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa 
  • 2 cups water, add water to empty salsa jar and shake
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 8 ounces shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese (2-2 1/2 cups)
  • Optional: Chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges, avocado

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Mist a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Directly to the baking dish, add the diced or shredded chicken, seasonings, quinoa, salsa, water, corn, zucchini, green chiles, and 1 ¼ cup of cheese. Stir the ingredients until combined. 
  3. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45-55 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. 
  4. Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes. (Note: The casserole will appear slightly soupy when it comes out of the oven. But it does thicken up nicely during the 15 minutes of stand time.)
  5. Serve with fresh cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, and/or lime wedges. 
  6.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. May be frozen for longer storage.

Last Step! Please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive so we can continue providing free recipes and high-quality content for you.

Notes

*For the cooked chicken – You may cook the chicken however you please. Here are three ways we like to cook chicken to use in casseroles like this one, as well as for adding to soups, salads, and other recipes:  

  • Slow Cooker Cooked Chicken (great for shredded): Place 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot along with 1 cup of broth or water Cover and cook on the high setting for 3 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and can easily be shredded.
  • Skillet Cooked Chicken (great for diced): Click here to see our method for Perfect Cooked Chicken Breast in a skillet
  • Instant Pot (great for shredded): To an Instant Pot, place 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts along with ½ cup broth or water. Seal the lid and select manual high pressure cooking for 12 minutes. Manually release the pressure when time is up and shred the chicken (see this post on Easy Shredded Instant Pot Chicken).

Dietary

© The Real Food Dietitians

Pin It Now to Make It Later!

A serving of chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken topped with melted cheese in a black bowl with a silver fork

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House

For ultimate success, we highly recommend reading the tips in the full blog post above. All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words. Link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Jessie Shafer

Jessie Shafer

Jessie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living near Denver, CO where she splits her time among nearby playgrounds, typing away at her trusty laptop, and heating up her home kitchen with delicious experiments. Her best taste tester is her husband, a Denver firefighter with a well-trained palate. A former magazine editor-in-chief, Jessie has a long career in food publishing and health writing. While she once played centerfield for the Northwestern University softball team, Jessie now prefers her fitness in the way of biking up mountain passes and chasing two busy toddlers (the latter proving to be the more exhausting activity).

Read more…

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

apple-burrata-salad

Apple Burrata Salad

the-menace-podcast-roundtable-discussed-andrew-jacked-and-the-2022-texas-pro

The Menace Podcast Roundtable Discussed Andrew Jacked and the 2022 Texas Pro