Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole


This Southwest-inspired Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole is filled with bite-sized chunks of juicy chicken, black beans, sweet corn, and tender rice in a cheesy salsa verde sauce!

While you’re here, grab this recipe for Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken, too! 

close up shot of chicken casserole topped with avocado slices and cilantro

AN EASY ONE-SKILLET CHICKEN CASSEROLE DINNER

Chicken and rice is such a winning combination. Just about any way you prepare them, these two ingredients shine together!

In this Tex-Mex inspired casserole, we’re adding tender black beans, sweet corn kernels, green tomatillo salsa, cheese, and more, to create a one-skillet bake that will knock your socks off! Best of all, (my) KIDS love it! 

WHAT IS SALSA VERDE?

Salsa verde is a tangy and delicious Mexican sauce that goes well with almost everything! It’s similar to red, tomato-based salsas, but it uses green tomatillos as the base, instead of tomatoes.

This salsa variation usually includes green chilies, as well. In this salsa verde chicken recipe those flavors of the sauce turn this dinner into a cozy tex mex meal!

overhead shot of a skillet with salsa verde chicken and rice casserole garnished with avocado, limes, and cilantro

CASSEROLE INGREDIENTS

  • Olive Oil: For sautéing. You can also substitute avocado oil, coconut oil, or other high-temp oils.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: You’ll need a pound of chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Garlic Powder, Paprika, Oregano, and Cumin: These dried spices amplify and intensify the savory flavor profile.
  • Salt and Pepper: To season the chicken.
  • Onion: You’ll need one small yellow onion, finely diced. White, red, or sweet onions may be substituted.
  • Fresh Garlic: Mince the garlic, or use a garlic press. You can also use a tablespoon of garlic paste.
  • Rice: This recipe uses ¾ cup uncooked long-grain white rice.
  • Canned Black Beans: Rinse and drain one 15-oz can of black beans.
  • Corn: I use frozen corn for the best flavor and texture. Canned corn is perfectly fine to use. If frozen, the corn should be thawed before using.
  • Salt: For the casserole.
  • Chicken Broth: I use low sodium chicken broth; you can also substitute homemade broth, vegetable broth, etc.
  • Salsa Verde: You’ll need 1 cup of tomatillo salsa.
  • Cheese: This recipe uses 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar.
  • Garnishes: Add color and flavor with salsa, cilantro, lime wedges, diced avocado, etc.

diced chicken cooking in a stainless steel skillet

HOW TO MAKE SALSA VERDE CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE

  1. Sauté the Chicken. Heat olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet set over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Then add chicken pieces to the hot oil, and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet, and set aside.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics and Rice. Add remaining oil to the hot skillet and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and cook for 2 minutes, or until just softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute, or until lightly toasted.
  3. Add the Remaining Ingredients. Stir the beans and corn into the onion mixture. Season with salt. Then add the chicken broth and salsa; bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in the previously cooked chicken and 1 cup of shredded cheese until melted.
  4. Bake. Remove the skillet from heat. Cover the skillet with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 375˚F.
  5. Top with Cheese and Broil. Remove the skillet from the oven. Set the oven to BROIL. Remove the foil from the skillet, and sprinkle the casserole with the remaining shredded cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Serve. To serve this dish, set out the desired toppings and allow guests to choose their own!

black beans and corn in a skillet with salsa verde sauce

TIPS FOR THE BEST CHICKEN CASSEROLE

  • Spice It Up: Want more of a spicy kick? Try adding a bit of cayenne, a spoonful of canned green chilies, or a touch of your favorite hot sauce!
  • Thighs Work Too: If you have boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, feel free to substitute! Chicken thighs are dark meat, which means that they are tender and full of flavor.
  • Just Add Veggies: If you like, feel free to sauté some extra vegetables to add to this casserole. Bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, and even zucchini can make great additions!
  • If you’d like to use brown rice, cook it in the oven, covered, for 45 minutes, then bake uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked. Stir, top with cheese, and broil for few more minutes, or until cheese is melted.

side shot of a skillet with salsa verde chicken and rice casserole garnished with avocado, limes, and cilantro

GARNISH AND SERVING SUGGESTIONS

  • Crunchy Chips: I like a good, crispy textural contrast when having a creamy and soft casserole. Healthy Baked Garlic Parmesan Zucchini Chips are a great option because they’re healthy and low-carb!
  • Cool Coleslaw: A fresh and cool helping of Cilantro Vinaigrette Coleslaw makes a tangy and pleasing contrast to the comfort-food-goodness of this baked casserole.
  • Cheesecake: Well, let’s be real: cheesecake is always welcome. Still, it is especially yummy after a well-spiced, salsa-y dish like this one. Try my No-Bake Cookies and Cream Cheesecake for an easy (and amazing) dessert that doesn’t require oven time!
  • Garnish Smorgasbord: Sour cream, crème fraiche, sliced black olives, chopped tomato, diced seeded cucumber, sautéed veggies, tortilla, or plantain chips… The topping possibilities for Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole are truly endless! Set out an array of all of your favorites and go for it!

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT LEFTOVERS

  • To refrigerate. Place leftovers in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat. Place leftovers in a covered ovenproof dish with a splash of water, and bake at 375˚F until thoroughly heated through.

overhead shot of a skillet with salsa verde chicken and rice casserole garnished with avocado, limes, and cilantro

CAN YOU FREEZE SALSA VERDE CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE?

  • Yes! To freeze Salsa Verde Chicken, cover tightly in two layers of freezer wrap, or place leftovers in airtight storage containers, and freeze for up to 3 weeks.

ENJOY!

Tools Used in this Recipe