I happen to be a big casserole fan. They just seem so easy and the results are delicious. Oftentimes casseroles lean heavily on ingredients like canned condensed soups that jack up the salt content. But you can make a low sodium casserole for dinner that delivers delicious flavor without adding a lot of unnecessary salt.
Casseroles are the ultimate comfort food and this recipe for a low sodium broccoli chicken casserole will become a dinnertime favorite. The low salt dinner comes together very quickly and you even get cheese! Yes, that’s right you can make a low sodium casserole that includes cheese. You just have to pick the right one. By using swiss cheese you can create a low sodium meal complete with a cheesy taste.
Chicken selection plays an important role in determining the sodium content of your casserole. Rotisserie chickens are a non-starter. I know they smell amazing at the grocery store but they are full of sodium.
You’ll also need to read the nutrition labels on the various packages of chicken breasts. You are looking for chicken that has approximately 60-70 mg of sodium per serving. As long as you are in the ballpark of that range, you are ok.
But avoid any chicken breasts that are injected with a saltwater solution. This results in a plumper-looking piece of meat, but it also adds hidden sodium to your meal. And it is incorrect to assume a national brand-name product to be the lowest in sodium. At my local store, the national brand has a lot of added sodium while the generic brand is nothing but plain chicken.
Can you substitute chicken for another meat?
Sure! This dish also tastes great with pork. Just cube up a loin of pork and add it in place of the chicken. But the same grocery store warning about added salt also applies to pork. Be sure to look for pork without added salt.
Can you freeze broccoli chicken casserole?
You sure can! Since this casserole isn’t made with sour cream or cottage cheese, you can easily freeze it. However, I would suggest cutting your casserole into smaller portions instead of freezing the whole dish.
Low Sodium Broccoli Chicken Casserole
This recipe for a low sodium broccoli and chicken casserole will become a dinnertime favorite in your house. It comes together very quickly and you even get cheese! By using swiss cheese you can still create a low salt dish with a cheesy taste.
- 12-ounce bag of broccoli florets
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 chicken breasts, diced
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
- 2 cups grated swiss cheese (divided)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare 2 cups of rice - suggest you use quick-cook rice but not a microwavable bag because those have added salt
- Melt butter in a large skillet and then add onion and chicken breast. Cook until the exterior is browned. It is going in the oven so you do not have to cook the chicken all the way through but you do want a good sear.
- Mix all remaining ingredients, including one cup of swiss cheese, in a large bowl then transfer into an 8x8 casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray. Add chicken and onions.
- Bake in a 350-degree oven for about an hour. With about fifteen minutes remaining, sprinkle the remaining cup of swiss cheese over the top of the dish and return to the oven for remaining cook time. When one hour has passed, double-check that chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- So let’s talk quantity of ingredients here. You may want to play around with the amount of chicken. Some people like a bit meatier casserole, in that case, use three chicken breasts.
- Depending on the amount of chicken you use, you may want to use a 9x13 casserole dish as opposed to an 8x8 dish.
- It can be difficult to find shredded swiss cheese, so I buy a block of Swiss cheese at Walmart and use my box shredder. Yes, it takes an extra minute or two but it is worth the effort to be able to enjoy a low sodium cheese with this dish.
- Make this a one-pot wonder! Use a large castiron skillet to cook everything on your stovetop, then transfer that oven-safe skillet directly into the oven. Well, it is almost a one-pot wonder…you still have to cook your rice. But it is still nice to be able to go right from stovetop to oven.
Do you use frozen broccoli florets or fresh?
Hi Donna. You can use either! I find frozen easier because there’s less chopping. If you use frozen, I suggest defrosting in the microwave and then drying them with some paper towels. You want to remove the excess moisture because it will make your casserole watery.
Hi, this looks great! Have you tried freezing it?
I have not tried freezing it because I’ve been concerned that the rice wouldn’t do well being frozen and then reheated. But I haven’t tried so my concern might not be valid!
Can I use a different white cheese, like mozzerella?
Hi Audriana! I don’t see why not. Fresh mozzarella is low in sodium and could be used in place of swiss. The only thing to take note of is the moisture content. Since fresh mozzarella releases more water than swiss cheese, you may have to add a little extra rice or maybe some low salt breadcrumbs. This will help prevent your casserole from becoming soupy. Hope that helps!
Can I use milk and water instead of 2 cups of milk?
That’s an interesting question Crystal. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure. You could try to dilute the milk by combining one cup of milk with one cup of water. Then add the diluted milk mixture to the other ingredients. I THINK that might work but I’m not 100% sure. But the fun part of cooking is trying new things! So go for it and see how you like it. Let me know how things turn out.
Can this be assembled ahead of time and then baked at dinnertime? Also would almond milk work as a substitute for milk?
Natalie, I suppose it could be assembled in advance. But since I have to brown the chicken in advance, I would most likely just make it all the way through, store it in the refrigerator, and warm it up in the oven prior to serving. But that’s just me. If you try assembling it in advance, please come back and share your experience. I’m sure you are not alone in asking this question.
Thanks for stopping by!
Sorry Natalie! I missed your question about the almond milk. Almond milk is a cup-for-cup substitute for cow’s milk. It might alter the taste slightly but if you are a regular almond milk drinker, you probably won’t notice a difference.
Can I do this in the crock pot
Hmmm. That’s a good question Lori. I don’t know about the crockpot. I would be concerned that the broccoli would break down and become mush when exposed to heat for multiple hours. So I’m inclined to say no but I might be wrong. If you happen to try it, let me know how it turns out!
Bake covered or uncovered?
Most of the time I bake it uncovered. But once or twice I have checked it at the halfway mark and have covered it because I was concerned it might be getting too brown (maybe the oven was running hot that day). I don’t think you could go wrong either way. If you like to bake things covered, then break out the tin foil! Thanks for stopping by.
Mike, what type of milk do you use in this recipe (whole, 2%, etc)? I would think that the type will make a difference in the nutritional information. Also, when you reference one or two chicken breasts can you give me an approximation of the ounces? Not looking to be a “pain” here, but I’m on a very restrictive diet (having to count every little thing) and I’d love to try your fantastic sounding/looking recipes. Thank you for your help!
I typically use 1% so that is what was used in the recipe. You are correct, that different kinds of milk do contain different sodium levels. It is a small difference, maybe 5 to 10 mg, but as you know every little bit of savings counts! So I would say, use the milk of your choice. Whatever works for your diet, should work here. The same could be said for chicken. The serving size of chicken breast is 4 ounces. But again, go with what works for you. Pull back on some chicken and add in more broccoli if you want to lower the sodium even more. This recipe is a baseline but can be tweaked to your personal needs. Hope that helps!
This was really good!
Will definitely be making it again!’
Thanks for sharing, Suzanne. I’m happy you liked it, that casserole is one of my favorites.