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!
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Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole
Salsa verde chicken casserole is not just another casserole dish – it’s a fantastic fusion of flavors and textures, merging juicy chicken with rice and the rich depths of black beans, cheese, and corn, making it a perfect blend that is both hearty and delicious. The standout ingredient here is undoubtedly the salsa verde. Traditionally used to complement various Mexican dishes, it’s a refreshing alternative to the well-known red salsa. Made from tangy tomatillos, it provides a slightly tart edge that contrasts beautifully with the creamy cheese in the dish.
Chicken and rice, as a combination, have been adored across all cultures for simplicity and comfort, but what sets this casserole apart is the infusion of the Tex-Mex spirit – a cuisine known for its bold, spicy flavors and hearty ingredients. With the addition of black beans, there’s a layer of earthy richness, and the sweet pops of corn add a welcoming texture.
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!
Salsa Verde Chicken 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.
How To Make Salsa Verde Chicken Casserole With Rice
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake. Remove the skillet from heat. Cover the skillet with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 375˚F.
- 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.
- Serve. To serve this dish, set out the desired toppings and allow guests to choose their own!
Tips For The Best Salsa Verde 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.
What To Serve With Salsa Chicken Verde
- Crunchy Chips: I like a crisp textural contrast with 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: Cheesecake is especially delicious after a well-spiced salsa 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 endless! Set out an array of all of your favorites, and go for it!
- 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.
- 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 1 month.
Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, well-rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (you can also use canned corn)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup tomatillo salsa
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- fresh cilantro
- lime wedges
- diced avocado
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-safe pan or skillet set over medium-high heat. I use this 3-quart pan with a lid.
- Season chicken pieces with garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add chicken pieces to the hot oil and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- 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 garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute, or until rice is lightly toasted. Stir in beans and corn; season with salt.
- Add chicken broth and salsa; bring mixture to a simmer. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheese until melted. Stir in previously cooked chicken.
- Remove from heat. Tightly cover with foil or a lid and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and set the oven to BROIL.
- Remove foil from skillet; stir the casserole, then sprinkle the top with remaining shredded cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and top with salsa, cilantro, lime wedges, diced avocado, etc.
- Kick Up the Heat: For extra spice, add cayenne, green chilies, or a dash of hot sauce.
- Use Chicken Thighs: Boneless chicken thighs are a flavorful substitute for chicken breasts.
- Veggie Boost: Toss in sautéed veggies like bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini for added texture.
- If using brown rice: You will need to add 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth instead of 1-1/4 cups. You will also need to cook the casserole for 45 minutes, covered, then uncover and continue to cook at 375˚F for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven; stir, top with cheese, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.