This meal came about as a spur-of-the-moment, I-need-to-make-something-with-my-leftovers kind of thing. Casseroles are honestly great for that. They are a perfect one-dish meal where you can get creative and throw in anything you like to make one delicious dish!
I had some leftover chicken breast, and some quinoa that I needed to cook up. Instead of just making a typical salad, which is what I would usually do with those ingredients, I thought I’d see if I could come up with something a little heartier and warming!
I perused my fridge for what else I could find and saw the kale, salsa, and egg whites. Then the lightbulb turned on.
Perfect! A quinoa, chicken, veggie casserole! (I’d also been dying to use this super cute little red casserole dish I got back in the summer and have barely touched since!!)
The casserole was kind of a shot-in-the-dark because I wasn’t sure how it might turn out, but I was realllly happy with the results, and I will totally be making this again as a planned dish!
The flavors come together perfectly, and you can really choose to put whatever spices you want in this dish. I went with some simple staple spices; cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and it worked great with the salsa.
I chose to leave out dairy and breadcrumbs, which are also typical casserole ingredients, because they don’t fit into my 12-week fit challenge plan right now.
Honestly, without them, the dish was still fantastic, although, I must admit, just a little shredded cheese or whole wheat breadcrumbs on top would also taste equally as delicious. So, feel free to try that too, and for those with dairy or gluten allergies, know that this dish tastes amazing without and you can dig in without worry!
The egg whites work great to hold everything together and add in extra protein. With all the ingredients combined, this dish ends up being a great nutrient rich meal: high in protein and full of fiber while low in saturated fats and well portioned for calorie control! It is also super filling!
What do you typically make as a spur-of-the-moment, need-to-use-up-the-leftovers kind of meal or dish?
I’d love to hear about it!!
5 oz cooked chicken breast, cut into small pieces or shredded
1 cup cooked quinoa
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup kale, “massaged” with a dash of sea salt
½ cup frozen corn
1 green onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh salsa
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
(optional: you may choose to add breadcrumbs and cheese as a top layer if you want – and if you do not need the dairy or gluten free option)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. “Massage” the kale, or rub it between your fingers until it starts to break down and become slightly wilted – this makes it not so bitter and less voluminous.
Add in the chicken, quinoa, corn, salsa, green onion, and spices and mix all ingredients together.
Pour in the egg whites and combine well.
Press mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish, pressing firmly down to pack.
(Top with whole wheat breadcrumbs and cheese if you choose to do so).
Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 10 minutes (less if you top with breadcrumbs/cheese) at 500 degrees until the top is slightly browned.