Healthy chicken fajita casserole with brown rice and a cheesy topping is an easy recipe that’s great for a hands-off weeknight family dinner (or to prep ahead and serve to a crowd)!
Here’s 5 fun highlights from my weekend:
- We got new pine needles in the yard. It makes me inexplicably happy. #littlethings
- My husband made his annual red beans and rice -- an Emeril Lagasse recipe -- for the playoff football games on Saturday. The house smelled amazing and it was OH SO DELICIOUS. You'll have seen some of this if you follow me on Instagram, which you totally should. 😉
- My parents kept the kids overnight on Saturday night and I got to sleep in on Sunday with no one bursting in my room telling me how hungry their little tummy was!
- Hubby and I sat down to a breakfast of just us on Sunday morning. I made us fried eggs over sautéed spinach on toasted English muffins. (With hot sauce of course.) We talked. We sat. We sipped a mimosa. It was kind of glorious!
- I had an Aveda pampering party on Sunday afternoon with some girl friends. I felt so spoiled!
But now it's back to real life. The rest of my family has today off of school and work for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Not me. I still have a regular work day for my day job as a health and nutrition editor, so I’m gonna keep this short today and get right to the food, mkay?
This healthy chicken fajita casserole is an easy way to make oven baked fajitas. Everything is mixed together and put in the oven for a super hands-off dinner.
It’s great for a weeknight but you can also prep this ahead and bake when you’re ready, so it’d be great to serve to a crowd. Plus it looks pretty with all those colors 👌
(If you are serving a bigger crowd, you can double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan or use two casserole dishes.)
No sizzling skillet to deliver to the table, but all the great fajita flavors are here and accounted for. 👍
Notes on healthy chicken fajita casserole:
- The rice for this recipe needs to be already cooked, so please plan accordingly. (Here's how I do my perfect steamed brown rice.)
- I like the long strips of onions, peppers and chicken — like you would see with regular fajitas — but you can dice them if you prefer more bite-size pieces.
- I use all cheddar cheese here but you could substitute some Monterey or Pepper Jack cheeses as well.
- You could add a can of black beans (rinsed and well-drained) if you wanted to bulk this up a little bit.
- You could also add in some diced green chilies if you have those on hand.
- The recipe card includes a mix of spices. You can use that or substitute 1 ½ tablespoons fajita seasoning, homemade or store-bought.
- You can spice it up with some jalapeño peppers or a pinch of cayenne pepper. And of course, serve with hot sauce!
Also, it helps to let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes after it bakes to absorb some of the juices.
(If yours has lots of juices, which can happen depending on how much moisture the veggies release, just use a slotted spoon to scoop it out and serve it.)
For serving, you can have it alone - this is gluten free as is — or you can use tortillas (like regular fajitas are served with) or even serve it over some baby spinach like a fajita salad. I usually do this. 👍
Add any of your favorite fajita toppings: shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado slices, etc.
Love these flavors? You may also like my easy skillet salsa chicken, a one-pan stovetop dish that's ready in 25 minutes. 🙌 Or this King Ranch chicken casserole that's so cheesy and delicious!
Have a great week friends and be sure to check back on Wednesday for a fun appetizer recipe and a collaboration with some other food bloggers on good eats for the big football game!
Healthy chicken fajita casserole
Oven baked chicken fajitas with brown rice and a cheesy topping is an easy recipe that’s great for a hands-off weeknight family dinner.
- 2 cups cooked brown rice, (from about ¾ cup uncooked)
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (about ½-inch thickness)
- 1 large bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I use fire-roasted), well drained
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- (See notes about substituting fajita seasoning)
- 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
For serving (optional):
- Shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream or Greek yogurt, avocado slices, or any of your favorite fajita toppings!
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9x13 or 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients, except for the cheese, in a large bowl and stir well to combine (or just mix it together in the casserole dish if you want).
- Transfer mixture to casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle the top with cheese and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Rice: The rice for this recipe needs to be already cooked, so please plan accordingly.
Cheese: I use all cheddar cheese here but you could substitute some Monterey or Pepper Jack cheeses as well.
Seasoning: I've also made this using 1 ½ tablespoons of fajita seasoning in place of the spices listed above, and that works great, too.
Spicy: You can spice it up with some jalapeño peppers or a pinch of cayenne pepper. And of course, serve with hot sauce!
Rest time: It helps to let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes after it bakes to absorb some of the juices. (If yours has lots of juices, which can happen depending on how much moisture the veggies release, just use a slotted spoon to serve this.)
Serving Size:6 people
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 337Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 409mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 35g
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Ohhh you got new pine needles!? I wonder if they came from my area! I always see them collecting all the pine needles from the sides of the roads over here. How cool would that be, it would kind of be like having me in your yard. hahahahaha. Not really, but still. 😉 Anyways, sounds like you had a pretty great weekend! And umm your husband sounds wonderful, he did a lot of cooking! High five to that!! And double high five to this casserole!!! Chicken fajitas are a go-to weeknight meal for us, so I'm loving that you gave them a super delicious makeover! This casserole is totally going on our menu!! Pinned!! Cheers, girlfriend!
Haha, I need you in my yard but not in pine needle form. More like real life form and we'll cheers with a bourbon cocktail! Come visit! XO
Kate @ Framed Cooks
Sounds like you had a fabulous and productive weekend! And how much do I love that you made fajitas healthy for us AND in a casserole? Yay!!
It's all kinds of goodness + deliciousness right?! 🙂
Dawn @ Girl Heart Food
You had a freakin' fabulous weekend! Tell me more about the Aveda pampering day! Sounds divine! And mimosas on the weekend? Um, YES please 🙂 My kinda weekend, girl!
These fajita casserole looks delicious! I love to leave my peppers in long strips too. That's what I typically opt for and I would totally add jalapeno or cayenne here. You know I love spice too! This is so perfect for busy weeknights, but I would more than happily make this on Friday or Saturday night. Hubby would love this too. Pinned, of course. Have a wonderful week, my friend. XOXO
Always mimosas. Always 😉 And yes, my spicy loving friend - you know I'm with you on that! XO
Silly question, but doesn't the chicken need to be cooked before added to casserole? Thanks
Hi Erin! Not silly at all. But no, the chicken goes in raw. It cooks in the casserole in the oven, which makes this even easier! Hope you give it a try!
I want to ask why the rice?? It sound like it does not match in this recipe
Hi Enid! I think the rice helps round out the casserole and gives it a lot more heft than just having chicken and the peppers/onion mix. The casserole this way can stand alone as is or be served in tortillas -- I always like rice with my fajitas! But it's a personal preference and you could certainly try the recipe without the rice if you prefer. Would love to hear if you try it!
I made this this morning! It's SOOOOO Good! My husband just got home from work, tried it and loved it!
Thanks for such a simple and delicious recipe!
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it Tracey! Thanks so much for sharing! 😊
Hi! I am taking dinner to a friend going through chemo. Will take it Thursday afternoon and her husband will cook Friday (that’s her hard day). I know you mentioned I can make ahead, just wondering if I prepare Thursday morning, take it to them Thursday evening and he cooks it Friday night, is that ok leaving uncooked that long? Or, if I cook Thursday morning and they reheat Friday, will it dry out? Excited to find this!
You are such a sweet, thoughtful friend! Yes, I think it would be just fine for you to put this together on a Thursday morning for them to bake on Friday night for dinner, as long as it stays refrigerated. That's probably the best option and then they'll still have leftovers they can reheat another day. I hope that helps and I hope they enjoy it!
I've made this a couple of times - substituting either fajita or taco seasoning for the seasonings. I also add a can of drained pinto or black beans to it - makes it even more hearty. Served with some small tortillas and a side salad - it makes a wonderful meal.
I'm so happy to hear you love it Debbie! Thanks so much for sharing! Love the addition of the beans too - yum! 😊