This casserole is made for dipping.

It’s spicy with a bit of Spanish rice flair and falls on the healthy-ish side.

I know it’s not the prettiest meal, but it tastes so good.

Usually, my healthy experiments don’t go so well.

However, this casserole is an exception.

I was able to use brown rice, nonfat sour cream and less oil than the original and it still tastes fab.

The cheese is the one caveat to this mostly healthy dish.

It’s optional, though, if you have a no-cheese eater in the fam like we do.

The salsa you pick has everything to do with the “heat” of the casserole.

I always go for the hot type, which makes for a spicy dish.

The sauteed chicken makes it a main meal, but I swear, this casserole is a dippable dinner.

Tortilla chips are almost required.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3 large breasts), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms
  • 4 cups cooked rice (I use brown but white works just fine)
  • 3/4 cup non-fat sour cream
  • 16 oz (about 2 cups) prepared salsa (I use the hot stuff)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, optional — see note
  • Taco seasoning (I use a blend of cumin, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

If you haven’t done so already, prepare rice according to package directions. (I prefer the slow-cook kind, which takes about 45 minutes, but instant works just fine.) You will need 4 cups of cooked rice. Set aside.

Place 1 teaspoon olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breast pieces and season with taco seasoning or your own Mexican season blend. Stir and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Set aside.

Place 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until they release their liquid and darken in color. Set aside.

Add cooked chicken, mushrooms, cooked rice, sour cream, salsa, black beans and cheddar cheese to the baking pan. Stir everything together until all of the ingredients are well-combined and the casserole is a fairly uniform color.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until casserole bubbles around the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Note: If you’re looking to avoid cheese, you can decrease it or skip it altogether. I’ve made it without the cheese and found that it wasn’t as creamy, but it still had good flavor. Also, on a veggie note, the recipe is versatile. I’ve added steamed corn and red bell pepper to mix in the past.