When I was planning the recipe for this summery Cheesy Corn Quinoa Casserole with Chicken, 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 (or this Broccoli 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!

Dietary Swaps

  • To Make Vegetarian. 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. Or this Crock Pot Creamed Corn would be another delicious vegetarian side dish option.

More Cheesy Casserole Recipes

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

Tools Used to Make This Recipe

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

Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole

4.5 from 4 votes
Cheesy Corn Chicken Quinoa Casserole. A lightened-up, healthy corn bake full of quinoa, chicken, veggies and cheese! Easy, freezer-friendly and gluten free.

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups  reduced sodium chicken broth divided
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus 2 teaspoons, 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 corn or yellow corn, cut from the cob (about 2 large ears)
  • 2 small zucchini diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper (or orange) 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish or other 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray then set aside.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 5)Calories: 464kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 37gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 619mgFiber: 5gSugar: 7g

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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!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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38 Comments

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  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. 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! :)

    1. 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!

  3. “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!

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

  5. 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.

    1. I am so excited to hear that Laura!! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and letting me know how it came out for you.

  6. 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! 

    1. 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.

  7. 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! 

    1. Kelli, I am so excited to hear how much you liked this recipe! It also freezes beautifully—please see the recipe notes for more direction.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!!

    1. 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!

  12. 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!

    1. Sharice, this makes me so, so happy to hear! Thank YOU so much for trying my recipes and for taking time to come back and leave a review. It means a lot!

  13. Do you think this recipe doubles well? I’d like to double it and freeze for a lakehouse meal! So excited to try it tonight! 

  14. This was delightful for a cold January day. All the veggies and flavors of summer in an easy casserole. You have SO many fabulous recipes Erin, I’m glad I found your site last year!

  15. This turned out well.  Made it to freeze but snuck a cupful before hand. Mine did not turn out liquidy.  Maybe inthickened it too much? It is so delicious. 5 stars

  16. I made this last night, and it was a hit with me and my husband. Our 4 year old toddler, who is in a current state of food defiance/pickiness -to-show-power, even ate a few bites. My only complaint is not having more a more specific serving size for calorie/nutritional counting. It says serves 4-6 and then serving size down below is 1 of 5. 5 stars

    1. Hi Tara, I’m so glad it was a hit with the whole family! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave this awesome review!

  17. I love the recipe as is. But if I want to lower the fat (and the weight watches points) how do you feel about me subbing the milk for nonfat greek yogurt. I would also reduce the cheese to a total of 1 cup vs 1.5 cups. How do you think that would turn out? I am doing this based on your mexican chicken quinoa casserole which I also love.

    1. Hi Anne, since the milk is already nonfat milk, using nonfat Greek yogurt wouldn’t change the fat content. You could certainly reduce the cheese if you prefer!

  18. One of the few times I wasn’t over the moon about one of your recipes, Erin. This didn’t work for us. These was too much liquid that wasn’t absorbed, and it seemed to dilute the flavors. If I make it again (and I might, just because I so trust your blog), I will throw it together without the milk and roux.3 stars

    1. Hi Eileen, I’m sorry to hear this recipe wasn’t a hit. We loved it as-is, but I hope you enjoy it with your planned tweaks!

  19. Cleaning out the pantry in order to lay in stuff for Xmas. Put in keywords quinoa, corn/cheese and this recipe popped up. Did a lot of subbing w/creamed corn, beans and canned chili’s. Added cumin/chili powder/smoked paprika. Sautéed half an onion/garlic. Stirred it and 1/4 cup enchilada sauce in. Topped w/Mexican cheese blend. No need for a roux based sauce. Delish. Thanks for the basic recipe.5 stars