Sundays are usually a day where I take my time in the kitchen, but with the arrival of not-winter (as it’s not really spring here in Anchorage yet but the snow is mostly melted), we spent most of our day playing outside. I left very little time to prepare dinner.
This recipe was a clean-out-the-fridge type of meal. I had pesto, broccoli, chicken and pre-cooked rice hanging out in my fridge so I put them all together and it was delicious and comforting. It’s a one-stop shop for flavor and nutrients.
I used my spinach pesto recipe but feel free to use the regular kind instead.
Broccoli rice chicken pesto casserole
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 7 chicken tenderloins or 2 small chicken breasts
For the casserole:
- 3.5 cups warmed cooked rice (white, brown, farro, whatever grain you want really)
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1.5-2 cups pesto
- zest of one lemon
- shredded mozzarella and pecorino Romano (or Parmesan)
Mix the marinade together in a zip top bag. Pound the chicken breasts lightly and place in bag. Marinate for 15-30 minutes.
Place the rice in a large casserole dish and set aside. Steam the broccoli until tender, about 5 minutes, and add to the rice along with the lemon zest.
Heat a large cast iron skillet over high flame and add a little drizzle of cooking oil. When pan is hot add the chicken with the marinade. Cook chicken until caramelizes and deep brown on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to the casserole dish.
Add in the pesto and stir until everything is well combined. Smooth out the mixture with the back of a spoon and sprinkle lightly with cheeses. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.