Cheesy Corn Quinoa Casserole with Chicken

When I was planning the recipe for this summery Cheesy Corn Quinoa Casserole, one word kept coming to mind: abundance.

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole — A lightened up, healthy corn bake made with simple, REAL ingredients. EASY recipe that our whole family loves. High protein and no canned soups! @wellplated

An abundance of sweet corn and zucchini and peppers! An abundance of healthy whole grains! And, by way of its nature as a casserole, a deliciously gooey abundance of CHEESE.

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole — A lightened up, healthy corn bake that’s loaded with juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and cheesy goodness. Freezer-friendly, gluten free, and the whole family loves it! @wellplated

Too often, the word “casserole” conjures foreboding images of mysterious ingredients disguised as carefully as possible beneath an mask of cheese. Not so with today’s Cheesy Corn Quinoa Casserole. Fear not—I kept the quintessential cheese layer (I do have a soul). What you’ll find beneath it, however, are ingredients that deserve a celebration, not a disguise.

 

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole — A lightened up, healthy corn bake made from scratch! Loaded with juicy chicken, fresh veggies, and cheese. EASY recipe that the whole family loves! (gluten free) @wellplated

This quinoa casserole can be easily adapted to suit any veggies you have lurking in your refrigerator or garden. Here in Wisconsin, we are currently up to our ears in summer sweet corn (<—did you see what I did there?), so it plays the starring role in this comforting recipe.

The corn I used in my quinoa casserole hails from Ingersoll Farms, a family operation in Sullivan, Wisconsin. Fortunately, I didn’t have to drive all the way to Sullivan to pick it up. Pick ‘N Save, my local grocery store who I am working with to create this special seasonal recipe, sells it! Since I’m not able to shop at the farmers market every week, I truly appreciate that Pick ‘N Save makes local produce readily available and supports our state farmers too.

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole — A lightened up, healthy corn bake loaded with chicken, veggies, and CHEESE. An easy, all-in-one meal that our whole family loves! @wellplated

To turn this Cheesy Corn Quinoa Casserole into a filling all-in-one meal, I added diced red bell peppers and zucchini, protein-packed quinoa, and juicy chicken pieces. Everything bakes together in a bubbly, lightened up cream sauce. No canned condensed soups or mystery meat here, my friends. This quinoa casserole is pure, fresh abundance.

I love the way the confetti of colors look together. It’s like eating a comfort food rainbow!

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole - A lightened-up, healthy corn bake chockfull of quinoa, chicken, veggies and cheesy goodness! From scratch and gluten free. @wellplated

To make the quinoa casserole vegetarian, swap the chicken for white or black beans. You can also omit the chicken entirely and serve it as a crowd-pleasing potluck side.

Tools I used to make this recipe:

Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review »

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole. A lightened-up, healthy corn bake full of quinoa, chicken, veggies and cheese! Easy, freezer-friendly and gluten free.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 pound—omit or substitute 1 can of rinsed white or black beans to make the dish vegetarian)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 cups white or yellow corn, cut from the cob (about 2 large ears)
  • 2 small zucchini, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour (to make gluten free, use a gluten free all-purpose flour blend)
  • 1 cup non-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated reduced fat cheese, divided (I used half mozzarella, half extra sharp cheddar), about 6 ounces

Directions:

  1. Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan, then add the quinoa. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes, depending upon the brand of quinoa you purchase. Keeping the pan covered, remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Uncover, lightly fluff with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8-inch baking dish or other 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray then set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium high. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook the chicken just until no longer pink on the outside (it does not need to be completely cooked through), about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  4. Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, diced bell pepper, corn, zucchini, garlic, and half of the green onions. Cook until frangrant and the corn is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove to the plate with the chicken.
  5. Melt the butter in the skillet, then sprinkle the flour over the top and briskly whisk to coat the flour with butter and break it up. Let cook until the flour is golden and smells lightly nutty, about 30 seconds to 1 minute,  Slowly pour in the remaining 1 cup chicken broth, then the milk, adding a few splashes of liquid at a time. Whisk constantly and pause as needed to break up any lumps.  Add the oregano and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let gently bubble until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Remove skillet from heat, then stir in the cooked quinoa, chicken, reserved veggies, and half of the cheese. The mixture will be liquidy. Carefully pour into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese and green onions on top.
  7. Place the mixture on top of a rimmed baking sheet (this will catch any spill over). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve.
  • This Cheesy Quinoa Casserole can be frozen baked or unbaked. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight prior to baking or reheating.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (of 5)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 464
  • Total Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg
  • Sodium: 619mg
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Protein: 37g

If you like this Cheesy Quinoa Casserole, you’ll love these other healthy casserole recipes:

Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole. A lightened up version of the classic casserole recipe.

Healthy Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole

Mozzarella Meatball Casserole. FINALLY a healthy pasta recipe your entire family will love! Made with ground turkey, whole wheat pasta, spinach, and lots of fresh gooey mozzarella cheese

Mozzarella Meatball Casserole

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese. Homemade baked mac and cheese with your favorite pizza toppings like mozzarella and pepperoni

Pizza Mac and Cheese Casserole

I am sharing this recipe in partnership with Pick ‘N Save. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue providing quality content to you!

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

24 comments

  1. Perfect weeknight dinner recipe, I love it Erin! I know what you mean about casseroles too, but thank you for not skipping the cheese with this one ;) Abundance is definitely the right word but I LOVE the abundance of the veggies in this!

  2. I am trying this TONIGHT! Thank you!

  3. hey girl I would just love this! It looks so yummy!

  4. kudos to you. i’ve tried two of your recipes and you are two for two. The mexican quinoa chicken casserole and the curried coconut chicken. Both big hits – and hubby was himming and hawwing about quinoa but he gobbled it. I always find recipes need to be adjusted or just miss the mark, yours were bang on! thank you, thank you! :)

    • Leslie, this comment makes my day! THANK YOU so much for leaving this glowing review, and I’m so happy that both you and your husband enjoy my recipes. Have a wonderful day!

  5. “Up to our ears in sweet corn” <–too cute! We've had an abundance of zucchini ;) so this would be an absolutely lovely way to prepare it!

  6. Summer is corn season! I love your use of the corn in this casserole with all the cheese and protein :)

  7. This looks fabulous and I love the color combination! I need to make this soon!

  8. Made this tonight and it was a hit – thank you!  My husband raved about it and my daughter asked for seconds.  Neither one of us have ever really liked quinoa that much until this recipe.  I made it with black beans instead of chicken and just cooked it right in ye olde cast iron skillet.  Made enough for leftovers!  Thanks – fantastic recipe.

  9. Thanks so much for this recipe! I actually happened to have leftover frozen corn, a huge zucchini and three peppers – red, green, and yellow. So I made this recipe alllmost exactly as written – my only substitute was brown rice for quinoa, as the boy will not eat quinoa. It was soo good, and pretty easy too! 

    • Lauren, I am so excited to hear this!! Thanks so much for sharing this kind review—I’m glad both you and the boy loved it, and it’s great to know that the recipe works well with brown rice too.

  10. This was SO good! I used Gouda cheese and we loved it. Has anyone tried to freeze it? I’m thinking about doubling the recipe and freezing one next time for a quick weeknight meal! 

  11. I’ve never cooked Quinoa before and thought this would be a good time to try it. While I loved the recipe, I’m not going to be a Quinoa fan. My kids were a little weirded out by it’s consistency, and so was I. This is definitely on my repeat list, but will probably use brown rice next time. Also, I thought I had frozen corn to use but didn’t. I had only frozen mixed veggies and it was great, peas, carrots, corn and green beans with the fresh zucchini and bell pepper.

    • Hi Jessica, I’m glad you at least gave quinoa a try! It does have a different texture than rice, but it definitely shouldn’t have a super strange consistency or be mushy at all. Could you maybe have overcooked it? Also, sometimes the brand makes a difference. Or maybe quinoa just isn’t your thing! Regardless, I’m glad the rest of the recipe worked well, and I think it would taste great with rice too.

  12. Another home run, Erin! I love the way this tasted so healthful and indulgent at the same time — the veggies shine and the creamy sauce is delicious. My husband loved it too, and even asked if it was one of your recipes because he knows how often I make things from your blog — you have a reputation in our house for creating delicious meals :). Thanks for all that you do!

  13. I’m so excited about this recipe! I went to the farmers market and got my veggies. I love quinoa, but it needs to be pretty doctored up for my kids to eat it, I’m making it for dinner tonight, it’s all prepped! Looks sp good!

  14. This is delicious! My favorite quinoa recipe to date! I’m excited about all the potential variations of  this recipe – Mexican! Italian! – depending on the veg and cheese and spices. Thanks, Erin! 

    And Go Irish!!

    • Kate, HOORAY!!! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed this so much, and I love your suggestions for different ways to vary it up. You are making me hungry :) Thanks so much for leaving this lovely review and GO IRISH!!! Hope you are well!

  15. So yummy! As always! I absolutely love your recipes. I’ve probably made at least 15 of them over the last year, and I’ve loved every one of them. I did half quinoa, half white rice. And my only other change was to leave out some of the red bell peppers, and add in some chopped fresh spinach. Really good! My 3-year old son asked for seconds at dinner, which hardly every happens! Thanks so much, Erin!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *