A white baking dish filled with chipotle quinoa casserole with chicken, a spoon full of

Chipotle Quinoa Casserole with Chicken

Here’s a healthy and delicious weeknight dinner that boasts nutritious ingredients and crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex flavors. This family-friendly quinoa casserole is high in protein, veggie loaded, and provides wonderful leftovers.

Prep: 20 minsCook: 55 minsTotal: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings 1x


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked and shredded or diced*
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (may substitute regular chili powder)
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (uncooked) 
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa 
  • 2 cups water, add water to empty salsa jar and shake
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 1 small zucchini, diced (1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 8 ounces shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese (2-2 1/2 cups)
  • Optional: Chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges, avocado


  1. Preheat the oven to 375℉. Mist a 9×13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Directly to the baking dish, add the diced or shredded chicken, seasonings, quinoa, salsa, water, corn, zucchini, green chiles, and 1 ¼ cup of cheese. Stir the ingredients until combined. 
  3. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. 
  4. Remove the foil from the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the casserole. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes. (Note: The casserole will appear slightly soupy when it comes out of the oven. But it does thicken up nicely during the 15 minutes of stand time.)
  5. Serve with fresh cilantro, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips, and/or lime wedges. 
  6.  Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. May be frozen for longer storage.


*For the cooked chicken – You may cook the chicken however you please. Here are three ways we like to cook chicken to use in casseroles like this one, as well as for adding to soups, salads, and other recipes:  

  • Slow Cooker Cooked Chicken (great for shredded): Place 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot along with 1 cup of broth or water Cover and cook on the high setting for 3 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and can easily be shredded.
  • Skillet Cooked Chicken (great for diced): Click here to see our method for Perfect Cooked Chicken Breast in a skillet
  • Instant Pot (great for shredded): To an Instant Pot, place 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts along with ½ cup broth or water. Seal the lid and select manual high pressure cooking for 12 minutes. Manually release the pressure when time is up and shred the chicken (see this post on Easy Shredded Instant Pot Chicken).

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
  • Calories: 288
  • Fat: 9 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 753 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 32 g
  • (Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 5 g)
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Cholesterol: 48 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians
Recipe By: Stacie Hassing
Overhead view of vegetable beef soup with a cheddar biscuit in the bowl.

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