Cheesy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
by Family Food on the Table
Cheesy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole is loaded with black beans, tomatoes, corn and peppers—plus plenty of cheese! It’s a delicious and healthy family dinner, and it’s easy to make ahead for busy weeknights. This is one recipe you are going to want to have on-hand all school year!
I know things get busy during the school year, but it’s still so important to have family meals together whenever possible. It’s a great way to spend time together, to decompress at the end of the day, to share stories, and to enjoy a healthy dinner.
Home cooking and scratch-made meals are healthier because we can control the ingredients and limit the amount of sodium and fat. Not to mention, you can skip over those additives that come in packaged foods and some restaurant fare.
And because we love the cheese, let’s talk a little more about the cheese in this recipe. As is, this recipe has one cup of shredded cheese mixed into the casserole mixture and another 1 to 1 1/2 cups sprinkled over the top of the casserole in the baking dish.
The cheese on the inside helps get it evenly distributed, while the cheese on the outside gives it a nice melty, cheesy top. You can use shredded sharp cheddar cheese like I do, or you could substitute Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese for this recipe.
Want to make this extra cheesy?! Add up to 1/4 cup of cream cheese into the mixture in the pan before adding the quinoa, stirring to get it melted. It’ll give a great creaminess to the casserole.
Notes on Cheesy Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole:
- I use a white quinoa for this recipe, but you could use a mix or red quinoa if you prefer.
- We prefer black beans in this recipe, but you could try pinto beans as well.
- The corn is optional, and you can certainly leave it out. Also, feel free to use fresh corn, sliced off the cobs, frozen corn that’s been thawed or canned corn that’s been drained. Whatever you have!
- I use a regular can of diced tomatoes, but fire-roasted diced or a Mexican-flavored canned diced tomato would work well too.
- As mentioned, you can use shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or you could substitute Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack cheese.
- Use the full 2 1/2 cups of shredded cheese if you want to make it extra cheesy and get plenty of melty cheese on top.
Add my Mashed Cauliflower Casserole with Cheese & Bacon to your weekday dinner lineup, too—it’s the perfect low-carb side dish! And, fellow cheese lovers will eat up my Cheesy Italian Chicken Burgers, which are easy to make in the oven or on the grill.
- 20 minutes
- 15 minutes
- 40 minutes
Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Casserole
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rotisserie chicken, chopped
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup corn (frozen, canned or fresh; optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or black pepper for less heat)
2 - 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
Optional toppings: sliced avocado, sour cream or Greek yogurt, chopped fresh cilantro, pico de gallo or salsa, hot sauce or pickled jalapeños
- Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Fluff and stir in 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt once it’s finished cooking.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and peppers and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
- Add chopped chicken and the black beans, tomatoes, corn and spices. Stir until well combined and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa and 1 cup of shredded cheese and stir well to mix. (If your pan isn’t big enough, you can do this in a large bowl.)
- Add the quinoa chicken mixture to the greased casserole dish. Top with remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted, and casserole is bubbly. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving to let it set up completely.
- Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!