This quick and easy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole is a healthier way to enjoy Mexican food! With only 12 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep required, this is the perfect weeknight dinner!
This post was originally published in January 2019. I’ve updated the post below to include more information about quinoa casserole. Plus, I’ve included a step-by-step video to show you how easy this healthy Mexican Chicken Casserole recipe is to make!
Hey there, friends!
Can we talk about casseroles for a hot minute? I want to know, what are your thoughts on them?
Love them? Hate them? Or, are you totally indifferent?
As for me, growing up I always dreaded casseroles. They evoke images of sad, overcooked vegetables and weird canned cream of something soup.* Needless to say casseroles, or bakes, were a hard ‘no’ for me.
But, casseroles done right? You know, the ones with tender-crisp veggies, a moist, flavorful filling and a generous amount of bubbly cheese?! Gimme ALL of that! Those casseroles I fully support eating, because they are not only delicious, but they are also a total life saver on busy weeknights!
The casserole I am sharing today is honestly one I could eat weekly for the rest of my life.
It’s Mexican food meets healthy and delicious with the perfect amount of cheese. Basically, this super easy cheesy quinoa bake is lightened up Mexican comfort food that is so good you may want to say sayonara to Taco Tuesday and opt for healthy Mexican Monday instead.
*There was one exception to the “just say no” to casseroles situation in my youth – my mother’s broccoli casserole. I honestly lived for that dish and it’s still a favorite of mine to this very day.
Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Fluffy, nutty quinoa mixed with tender, shredded chicken, mild green chiles, roasted kernels of corn, hearty black beans, pungent yellow onions, bright salsa verde and a generous amount of sharp colby jack and soft mozzarella cheeses. Baked until warm, melted and bubbly, it’s the perfect fix when you are craving Mexican food, but you also want a healthy dose of protein, fiber and general feel-good eats.
This Mexican Chicken Bake is literally going to be your weeknight dinner lifesaver. With only 12 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep, you can simply throw everything into a casserole dish, give it a good stir, top with shredded cheese and bake. I mean, dinner doesn’t get any easier than that!
How to make a quinoa casserole?
Quinoa casseroles are quick and easy to prepare, which make them perfect for busy weeknight dinners! To make a quinoa casserole, simply cook the quinoa according to package directions and transfer it to a large bowl. Add in chicken, salsa (or sauce of choice), vegetables and seasonings then stir well to combine. Next, fold in shredded cheese and season generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer the quinoa mixture to a greased 9×13’’ baking dish and top with more shredded cheese before baking.
Step by step photos how to make a quinoa casserole bake:
How long to bake a quinoa casserole?
Bake a quinoa casserole in an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 22-25 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Can you make a quinoa casserole in advance?
Yes, this healthy casserole can be made in advance.
To make a Mexican chicken casserole in advance, simply assemble the casserole as directed in the recipe instructions, cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. An unbaked quinoa casserole can be assembled and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
How long will a quinoa casserole keep?
Cooked quinoa casserole can be kept in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze quinoa casserole?
Yes you can freeze this easy Mexican chicken casserole!
Baked casserole leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Pro-tip: Portion out leftover Mexican Chicken Casserole into individual servings and freeze for an easy microwave meal (perfect for lunches)!
Unbaked casserole can be assembled and covered tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight and bake per the recipe instructions, adding 15-20 minutes to the cook time.
How to reheat quinoa casserole?
There are two ways to reheat this Mexican quinoa bake:
- In the oven. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until warmed throughout.
- In the microwave. Place desired amount of casserole on a microwave safe plate and microwave until warmed throughout.
What to put in a Mexican casserole?
Mexican casseroles are extremely versatile and easy to customize!
Below are some delicious ingredient options and add-ins for your quinoa casserole:
- Cooked chicken or turkey (shredded or chopped)
- Salsa verde, fire roasted tomato salsa or enchilada sauce
- Green chiles, jalapenos, poblano, or chipotle peppers (chopped)
- Corn Kernels
- Onion – red or yellow (chopped)
- Black beans or pinto beans
- Bell pepper
- Diced tomato
- Roasted cauliflower
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Fresh cilantro
- Shredded cheese
What to serve with a Mexican chicken casserole?
While this Healthy Mexican Casserole is already loaded with super-grain quinoa, protein packed chicken, beans and veggies, there are a number of side dishes you can serve to round out this meal.
- Fresh cabbage slaw or jicama slaw
- Southwestern or Mexican chopped salad
- Slow cooked Mexican beans (Frijoles de la Olla)
- Black bean salad
- Mexican corn (Elote) or Mexican corn salad (Esquites)
This Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole is packed with all your favorite Mexican flavors and it’s easy to make! Loaded with protein and fiber, this one pan bake is a delicious spin on comfort food and perfect for weeknight dinners!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to casseroles done right!
The best Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole recipe with step-by-step video! 👇
This quick and easy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole is a healthier way to enjoy Mexican food! With only 12 ingredients and 15 minutes of prep required, it is the perfect weeknight dinner!
- 1 ¼ Cups Uncooked Quinoa
- 3 Cups Cooked Chicken – shredded or chopped (If using Rotisserie – make sure you discard the skin)
- 1 1/3 Cup Salsa Verde Click on ingredient name for homemade salsa recipe (SEE NOTES for salsa amount)
- ½ small Yellow Onion – finely diced
- 1 (4.5 ounce) Can Chopped Green Chiles - drained
- ¾ Cup Roasted Corn Kernels – canned or frozen (drained if using canned)
- ¾ Cup Black Beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp EACH: Garlic Powder, Cumin and Chili Powder
- 1 ½ Cups Colby Jack or Monterey Jack Cheese - freshly shredded, divided
- 1 ¼ Cup Mozzarella Cheese – freshly shredded, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13’’ baking dish (or similar sized casserole dish) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Cook the quinoa according to directions on package (SEE NOTES for how to make perfectly cooked quinoa!). Once cooked, remove from heat, fluff and season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl.
Mix casserole ingredients: Add the cooked chicken, salsa, onion, green chiles, corn, black beans, garlic powder, cumin and chili power to the bowl of quinoa. Stir to combine. Fold in 1 cup of jack cheese and ½ cup of mozzarella. Generously season with salt and pepper. (SEE NOTES)
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheeses.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve: Remove baking dish from the oven and top with optional garnishes. Serve and enjoy!
- If your quinoa and the chicken quinoa mixture seems on the dry side, add more salsa one tablespoon at a time. If you cooked the quinoa according to the directions below, you shouldn't need more salsa.
Baked quinoa casserole leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Pro-tip: Portion out leftover quinoa casserole into individual servings and freeze for an easy microwave meal (perfect for lunches)!
Unbaked quinoa casserole can be assembled and covered tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight and bake per the recipe instructions, adding 15-20 minutes to the cook time.
How to Cook Perfect Quinoa: (Method from cookieandkate.com)
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer with cool water and drain well.
- Transfer quinoa to a saucepan and add 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook quinoa, stirring occasionally, until all of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as necessary.
- Remove pan from heat and cover. Let the quinoa steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove lid, fluff and season generously with salt and pepper. Proceed with recipe.
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