Continuing with our series of healthy versions of comfort foods, this week we have this incredible chicken and rice casserole. It’s a real crowd pleaser! And like all casseroles, perfect for cooking for a large group of people.
Utterly dreamy, the chicken is marinated in yogurt, saffron, lemon juice and turmeric – just check out that gorgeous vibrant yellow colour! The yogurt adds creaminess to the brown rice which feels so indulgent, and the green beans bring a perfect amount of crunch to the dish (along with a layer of crispy rice!). Combine that was the juiciness of baked tomatoes and it’s a dish made in heaven!
This will please even the fussiest of eaters (my kids ate seconds!) and it’s super healthy with a great balance of nutrients!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
3 x chicken breasts, cut into 1.5inch cubes
1.5 cups (320g) brown rice, uncooked weight
1 medium brown onion, diced
1 ¼ cups (300g) plain 3% yogurt
2 cups (250g) green beans, halved
2 large tomatoes, quartered
1.5 lemons, juiced
1 tsp turmeric
¼ tsp Saffron, dissolved in 2 tbsp water (optional, but recommended)
3.5 tbsp olive oil
- Place the cubed chicken in a large mixing bowl, add the juice of 1 lemon and season with salt. Toss well and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the yogurt with the turmeric and saffron water. Pour the yogurt over the chicken, give it a good mix, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour but up to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C/gas mark 4.
- Rinse the rice with cold water in a sieve.
- Tip into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water to ½ inch above the rice.
- Cover the saucepan with a couple of sheets of kitchen paper, then the lid.
- Cook over a medium heat for approx. 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Do not remove the lid to check, but listen for a gentle hissing sound that was water has been absorbed.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over a medium/high heat.
- Fry the onions until just golden, about 3 minutes. Then add the green beans, season with salt, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Toss in remaining lemon juice and set aside.
- Tip the remaining olive oil into a baking dish of approx. 8 x 12 inches (20x30cm). Heat in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon ½ of the cooked rice evenly onto the bottom.
- Take the chicken from the refrigerator, spoon 2 tbsps of the yogurt marinate into the remaining rice in the saucepan.
- Mix the beans and onions into the chicken mixture then spoon into the baking dish. Place the tomato quarters evenly into the chicken mix.
- Spoon the rest of the rice (mixed with yogurt) over the top of the chicken. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 18 minutes.
Casserole is best eaten on the day it’s made, it can be refrigerated for 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months, but must be correctly reheated to avoid food poisoning. To reheat: Cover with foil, bake in a preheated oven at 350F/180C/gas mark 4 for 40 minutes.
Did you try this recipe? Any other Casserole dishes you’d like to see recipes for? Let me know in the comments!