This healthy chicken and rice casserole is the perfect upgraded classic recipe that is made with a dairy-free cream sauce, fresh herbs and other nourishing ingredients.
Chicken and rice casseroles can range from really decadent and unhealthy to dry and lacking in flavor to this perfect balance of creamy, hearty and still nourishing! Plus, it’s super family-friendly and it couldn’t be easier to whip together. Sometimes a classic recipe just needs a healthy and fresh twist!
What ingredients do you need for chicken and rice casserole?
- White rice (pre-cooked)
- Leftover chicken (perfect recipe to use leftover chicken from making a whole chicken.
- fresh herbs (basil, sage and parsley all work really well.)
- mushrooms (you can omit if you’re not a mushroom lover but they add a lovely heartiness and savory kick.)
For the dairy-free cream sauce, you will need:
- coconut milk (full-fat- don’t skimp here and get reduced fat or use the refrigerated carton.)
- bone broth (here’s my favorite easy homemade recipe!)
- egg (I haven’t tried substituting with a vegan option so I’m not sure how well it will work!)
- arrowroot powder (this really helps thicken the sauce. You could sub tapioca flour, if needed.)
- nutritional yeast (adds such a savory and slight “cheesy” flavor!)
- Herbs de Provence (can sub Italian seasoning, if needed!)
- Poultry seasoning
- garlic powder
- s & p
How do you make a dairy free cream sauce?
Making a dairy free cream sauce can be done a variety of ways but this particular recipe (see above ingredients) utilizes full fat coconut milk, a gluten-free flour to help thicken (arrowroot or tapioca), egg broth and spices. I promise you won’t even miss the butter or cream!
Do you cook chicken before putting it in the casserole?
This particular chicken and rice casserole does call for pre-cooked chicken. I’ve found this recipe to be the perfect way to use leftover chicken, bone broth and other pantry staples. I usually just end up needing to grab some fresh herbs from the store.
Do you have to cook the rice before putting it in the casserole?
Yes. Once again, it’s the perfect recipe to utilize leftovers. Whether you have extra chicken from pushing the easy-button with a rotisserie chicken or you roasted a whole chicken, the pulled meat is PERFECT for this healthy casserole.
KISS Tip- If you don’t have leftover chicken and want to make this recipe on the fly, using meat from a rotisserie chicken will work well!
Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?
Yes! I actually often make a double batch of this so I will have extra to freeze. I would recommend freezing in single-serving glass containers or assembling the casserole with the pre-cooked chicken and rice then freezing before baking. When you’re ready to have it on your weekly menu, simply thaw the casserole completely and cook at the same time and temperature in the recipe below!
A chicken and rice casserole is the perfect post-holiday meal and chances are you may have leftover turkey you could use instead of chicken. It’s always nice when you can use leftover chicken or turkey for something other than sandwiches!
I can’t wait to hear how you and your family love this recipe! This *might* be the last blog I post before our family grows to a family of four! I have some exciting content planned for the coming months though so definitely check back for all things baby and postpartum next month, plus follow along on Instagram for more timely updates! 💛, Shannon
KISS Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Hand immersion blender (a whisk will work fine if you don't have one)
For the base
- 4 cups cooked white rice
- 3 cups cooked chicken
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used half basil and half Italian parsley, but any combination of basil, parsley and sage works well.)
- 1 8 oz. package Baby Bella mushroom, sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
For the sauce
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup bone broth
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8.5x11" casserole baking dish with avocado oil.
- In a skillet, sauté the chopped onion in avocado oil for about 5 min, or until soft.
- Add the chicken, rice, chopped herbs, mushrooms, and sautéed onion to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. After all of the base ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, transfer to the baking dish.
- Add all the ingredients for the sauce into a saucepan and blend with a hand immersion blender. Once the mixture is smooth, bring to a simmer and continue to stir for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. You may need to periodically blend the mixture if it becomes lumpy.
- Remove sauce from heat and carefully pour over the base. Give it a good stir to evenly coat everything.
- Bake for about 55 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
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