This easy healthy chicken broccoli casserole is creamy, delicious, and made with a special homemade cream of mushroom soup. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients, and is loved by the entire family! Make it with rice or cauliflower rice for a dish that’s paleo and low carb.
This healthy chicken broccoli casserole is the ultimate comfort food. It’s warm, deliciously hearty and creamy, and packed with nourishing ingredients. While holidays are typically the time where casseroles shine, I am a big fan of eating them year round, mostly because the are easy to make, produce a ton of food, and the leftovers are so good.
If you have nostalgic memories of eating creamy chicken broccoli casserole as a kid, this recipe is going to bring back all the feels (just like my Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup!).
Let’s face it—easy weeknight dinners are hard to come by. Because of this, I intentionally kept the prep work with this healthy chicken broccoli casserole to a minimum. You can sauté the chicken and broccoli while cooking the sauce in a saucepan. Combine everything together in the casserole dish and you’re done!
Because this healthy chicken broccoli casserole makes a ton of food, it’s great for meal prep! Make it and eat leftovers for lunch, or double the recipe and store the extra meal in the freezer! Your entire family will LOVE this—even the picky toddlers will be asking for more (I speak from experience on this one).
What You’ll Need to Make Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
There are just a few simple ingredients you’ll need to make this healthy chicken broccoli casserole. The ingredients are fresh, healthy, and super flavorful. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Coconut oil
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Cooked rice or 1 bag frozen riced cauliflower
- Yellow onion
- Arrowroot flour
- Garlic cloves
- Coconut milk (or other dairy free milk)
- Nutritional yeast (optional for cheesy flavor)
- Dried thyme
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
How to Make Healthy Chicken Broccoli Casserole
The best part about this healthy chicken broccoli casserole is that it’s incredibly easy to make. Just sauté your chicken and broccoli, make your sauce, and combine everything together in your casserole dish! Here’s how to make it in five easy steps:
- Prepare the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a large casserole dish.
- Cook the chicken and broccoli. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and stir. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the broccoli is tender. Remove from the pan and add to the prepared casserole dish.
- Make the sauce. Heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the arrowroot flour and minced garlic. Slowly add the coconut milk and broth and whisk until combined. Stir in the nutritional yeast, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Assemble the casserole. Add the cauliflower rice (or cooked rice) and mushroom sauce to the casserole dish. Fold everything together so it’s mixed well and spread evenly in the dish.
- Bake and serve. Bake for 20 minutes. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
The Secret’s in the Sauce
What makes this casserole irresistibly creamy is the nourishing cream sauce, of course! The cream sauce is basically my homemade cream of mushroom soup. It’s made with onions, mushrooms, broth, and coconut milk. The ingredients are simple, easy, and nutrient-dense, and the soup is great on its own.
To me, it’s what sets this healthy chicken broccoli casserole recipe apart from the rest. It tastes great with rice or cauliflower rice and brings all the components of the casserole together. Super warming and hearty!
Paleo Chicken Broccoli Casserole
Want to make this a paleo chicken broccoli casserole recipe? Use cauliflower rice! Frozen cauliflower rice is available at most grocery stores now, which is awesome because it makes things so much easier. It typically comes in a 12 oz bag, which is about 2.5 – 3 cups of riced cauliflower.
If you can’t find frozen or fresh cauliflower rice, you can make it on your own with a small head of cauliflower. Simply remove the stems and break the cauliflower head into smaller, bite-sized florets. Then, working in 2-3 batches, pulse the cauliflower in a large food processor until it’s broken down into small pieces resembling grains of rice.
To save time, you can do this a day before or in the morning, and store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Using cauliflower rice will also make this a low carb and whole30 chicken broccoli casserole recipe.
Can I Make Substitutions?
Sure can! However, this is where I make that special note that you won’t get the same consistent results if you vary from the original recipe. But, if you find yourself short, here’s a few swaps you can make:
- Coconut oil: Use another oil like olive or avocado oil.
- Arrowroot flour: Use tapioca flour or cornstarch instead.
- Garlic cloves: Use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Coconut milk: Use another dairy free milk.
Cooking Tips and Tricks
- Make sure to cut the chicken into small, 1-inch bite size pieces.
- Don’t worry if the amount of chicken you have exceeds 1 lb. This healthy chicken broccoli casserole recipe is great with anything between 1 – 1.5 lbs of chicken.
- You can leave out the nutritional yeast if you don’t have any on hand. It gives the dish a nice cheesy flavor, but it’s still good without it.
- Swap out the fresh garlic for 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- If you’re making paleo chicken broccoli casserole and forgot to lay out the bag of frozen cauliflower (it happens to the best of us), just add everything to the casserole dish, and place the frozen cauliflower rice in the pan you cooked the broccoli and chicken in. Place the pan over medium heat and stir until it thaws, about 1-2 minutes.
- You can use a variety of casserole dishes for this—square, round, and rectangle. It will work in most medium to large casserole pans!
Can You Freeze Chicken Broccoli Casserole?
YES! Chicken broccoli casserole is one the best freezer-friendly dishes. You can even double the recipe and cook it in a 9 x 13 lasagna dish for double the meals! To freeze, let the casserole cool completely, then store individual or large portions in freezer-safe silicone storage bags. It will last in the freezer up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat your healthy chicken broccoli casserole, let it thaw in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave until warm.
If you don’t plan to freeze your leftovers, just store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Recommended Equipment + Pantry Items
These are my favorite baking dishes for this recipe. You can also double the recipe an and cook it in this 9 x 13 lasagna dish! It’s a great investment. For a complete list of my recommend pantry items and what I use in my home, check out my favorite kitchen tools and pantry items.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup (Whole30, Paleo)
- Creamy Crockpot White Chicken Chili (Dairy-Free, Paleo, Whole30)
- Egg Roll in A Bowl (Healthy, Low Carb, Paleo)
- Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup (Paleo, Whole30, Vegan)
- Healthy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cooked rice or 1 (12 oz) bag frozen riced cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (or other dairy free milk)
- ¾ cup broth
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional for cheesy flavor)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- If using cauliflower rice, lay out the bag of frozen riced cauliflower to thaw. Preheat the oven to 400°F and generously grease a large casserole dish.
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli florets and stir. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the broccoli is tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the prepared casserole dish.
- For the cream sauce, heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the arrowroot flour and minced garlic.
- Slowly add the coconut milk and broth to the saucepan, whisking everything together as you stir to make sure there are no clumps. Stir in the nutritional yeast, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and let the sauce cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the cauliflower rice (or cooked rice) and mushroom sauce to the casserole dish. Fold everything together so it’s mixed well and spread evenly in the dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides are bubbly. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
If you don’t have access to frozen cauliflower rice, you can also use 2.5 cups of fresh riced cauliflower (about 1 small head cauliflower). Simply remove the stems and break the cauliflower into smaller, bite-sized florets. Then, working in 2-3 batches, pulse the cauliflower in a large food processor until broken down into small pieces resembling grains of rice.
Did you love this healthy chicken broccoli casserole recipe? Let me know in the comments below!