In the event you are in need of a bit of reprieve from the sugar-dusted holiday baking action, I bring you Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries.

An easy and healthy chicken dinner: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries. Crowd pleasing and gluten free!

Not that I would begrudge you for turning Candy Cane Snowball Cookies and 2 Ingredient Homemade Hot Chocolate into dinner by any means, but I find that priming my cookie intake with a hearty, healthy meal like this seasonal spin on chicken and wild rice casserole helps the sweets settle more pleasantly.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole from scratch without the creamy of anything soup! Butternut squash and cranberries make this a healthy all-in-one-meal. (gluten free)

Further, this chicken and wild rice casserole is wildly delicious—as in, I can’t promise you leftovers, even though you are definitely going to want them for lunch the next day and the day after that and next week too.

I brought a big pan of this chicken and wild rice casserole with butternut squash and cranberries to dinner at a friend’s, and between the four of us, we ate every last scrap, minus the proverbial final few bites that every native Midwesterner is too polite to claim for his or her own.

Thus, I ate those last three bites on our drive home. No shame. Chicken and wild rice casserole with butternut squash and cranberries is irresistible healthy comfort food at its finest.

If you are looking for an ultra gooey, cream-of-no-one-knows-what chicken and wild rice casserole, I am afraid this isn’t it.

If you are looking for a dinner recipe that’s cozy, wholly satisfying, and healthy enough to leave you wiggle room for that Frosted Cream Cheese Sugar Cookie afterwards, chicken and wild rice casserole is the one.

Ingredients for a Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Let’s examine the exciting happenings inside our casserole dish:

  • Chewy, nutty wild rice brings the whole grain goodness and fill-you-up prowess.
  • Sweet chunks of butternut squash add creaminess and earthly sweetness.
  • Chicken is diggin’ the hang out time with it’s wintertime BFF, wild rice. Plus, lean protein = extra healthy satisfaction.
  • Cranberries get all sassy with their sweet tang.
  • Parmesan cheese melts over all, making the casserole gooey and nutty and just plain wonderful.
Butternut squash takes this easy chicken and wild rice casserole over the top! (gluten free)

A sprinkle of savory thyme, and we have just about every cold-weather ingredient I adore coming together into a dynamite healthy dinner that I plan to serve again and again. It doesn’t always work out this well to throw all of your favorite seasonal foods together in a single dish and watch what happens, but this golden time, it did, and I couldn’t be happier.

For other delicious butternut squash recipe ideas, check out my list of Healthy Butternut Squash Recipes.

More Easy and Hearty Casserole Recipes

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash. Great freezer meal to bring to friends and a healthy dinner too! Gluten free.

Tools Used to Make This Recipe

An easy and healthy chicken dinner: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries. Crowd pleasing and gluten free!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Butternut Squash and Cranberries

4.9 from 73 votes
A cozy and filling chicken and wild rice casserole made with butternut squash and cranberries. This easy and healthy chicken dinner is a winner every time!

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 55 mins

Servings: 4 -6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice blend  3 cups cooked
  • tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 small butternut squash about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups cubes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme plus additional for garnish
  • 3/4 cup  dried cranberries  I prefer the ones with reduced sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided (about 2 ounces)

Instructions
 

  • Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain off any excess cooking liquid and set aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced chicken and sauté until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink on the inside, about 6 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  • With a paper towel, carefully wipe the skillet clean. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the diced squash, onions, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender but still retains some chew, about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the thyme, cranberries, reserved chicken, rice, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake 5 additional minutes, until the cheese melts. Sprinkle with additional chopped fresh thyme and serve warm.

Notes

  • To freeze: Bake the casserole completely, then let cool to room temperature. Cover it tightly, then freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat, covered, in a 350 degree oven until warmed through.
  • You could also try freezing the casserole unbaked. Again, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake as directed.

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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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207 Comments

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  1. Very tasty!! Reminds me of Thanksgiving all in one!! Perfect for a cold northeast day!! Recipe was perfect, moist and yummy! Thank you!!5 stars

  2. Yum! This a terrific dish. I added some Brussels sprouts just because I had a few left in the vegetable drawer. I cut them in quarters and sautéed with the other veggies. This casserole hit all the right notes with me. Thank you.5 stars

  3. Dropped off this delicious casserole to my in-laws who are recovering from being sick and they absolutely.loved.it!! As soon as I took it out of the oven I instantly regretted not making one to keep lol! well done! This recipe is outstanding! Thank you!!5 stars

  4. Very enjoyable and adaptable to different diet preferences in our family. I added a bit of tumeric to the meat for a little extra health and flavor. The rice in my frig was half brown half wild.4 stars

  5. Five stars for taste. For ingredients that are yummy. 4 stars if I could for the instructions that seem to not include all the prep time for the ingredients. But I also think I could have upped the moisture content a little, and more than just Thyme, salt, pepper for the next time I make it. I did it in 4 small- 5×7 food pans as a few of us decided to try it. I cooked, they bought ingredients, pans. All asked if there was a ‘sauce’ missing. When I do this again, I will add some more sauce/ liquid to the plated item. 4 = 5⭐🌟⭐🌟 overall. 👍5 stars

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