Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole

4 servings
35 min

This Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole takes only 35 minutes to prep and cook and it tastes delicious! Great for an easy weeknight dinner.

This Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole Skillet is a creamy and flavorful recipe. It’s incredibly easy to make as it all comes together in one skillet on the stovetop as opposed to baking it in the oven. The dish has earthy mushrooms, aromatic onions and garlic, fresh and bright zucchini, hearty chicken, and rice. The cream sauce is light and creamy, but there is actually no heavy cream at all; instead almond milk, broth, parmesan, and cornstarch create the perfect amount of creaminess.

This is also practically a one pan meal. I do recommend cooking the rice ahead or just separately and then add it to the pan. And it’s Gluten Free!

Zucchini is Good for You and so Versatile!

In 20I9, I received my Certification in Nutrition and Healthy Living. During my studies and since then, I continuously look at food to see how it nourishes us. I feel like Zucchini gets overlooked in the health department, but pay attention, because it is really good for you! Zucchini is low in calories, carbs and sugars, so you see it often in low carb recipes or low calorie recipes. BUT, and here is the part many may not realize, it is high in essential nutrients like potassium, manganese, and antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A. So if you are looking to replace high calorie or carb ingredients in your meals, then say hello to Zucchini!

Zucchini is in season during the summer, but you can find it available year round! Some other great ways to use zucchini are Parmesan Zucchini Chips, or for a cheesy chicken zucchini option, layer it into an Enchilada Casserole. You can also roast it with Red Pepper & Corn and top with an Egg, add it to a Quinoa Crust (or any other) Pizza, make zucchini noodles or just grill it.

If you love the chicken, zucchini, and mushroom combo, check out this recipe for Chicken Wild Rice Casserole with Zucchini and Mushrooms. So many options!

Time Saving Prep-Ahead Steps for Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, and Rice

You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead! (See the recipe below for more details)

In terms of prepping ahead for this recipe, it’s just really getting the veggies ready…dicing the zucchini, dicing the onion, cleaning and slicing the mushrooms.

For the chicken, you need boneless skinless chicken breast, which you can roast it ahead and then dice. However, it’s even easier to buy precooked from the deli section or rotisserie section…here’s my TIP!

TIP: buy already grilled chicken from the deli counter or a rotisserie chicken for super easy prep.

Cooking Steps for Stovetop Chicken Zucchini Rice Casserole

Cooking this meal is simple because everything goes into ONE skillet in stages.

In the skillet, you will want to start with the mushrooms over high heat.

Once the mushrooms are done, transfer them to a plate and then add the onions and garlic over medium heat. Cook until soft and just lightly browned.

The Zucchini is added as the last veggie and only cooks for a couple minutes before adding the sauce, so that it doesn’t turn to mush.

TIP: When coating the skillet with oil, I love using an Olive Oil Sprayer! You can coating a pan with oil using much less and getting an even distribution without having to brush it around. Store-bough aerosols contain chemicals and toxins, but a fillable sprayer sprays out exactly what you put into it, so you can feel good about what you are putting on your food.

Now comes the sauce, which includes broth, almond milk, and a gluten free thickener. Instead of making a roux with flour, I went the gluten free route here by making a slurry of cornstarch and almond milk. For this recipe, be sure to buy the unsweetened plain/original almond milk as you will not be pleasantly surprised if you get sweet vanilla!

Note, just like any thickener you want to make sure you are stirring as it warms up so that when it starts to thicken it is even and not clumpy. You want to be able to see the pan when you scrape the liquid with a spoon.

After making the sauce, add the diced chicken, the parmesan cheese, the cooked rice, and some of the parsley to taste. Mix to combine.

Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini and Rice Recipe FAQs

Do I have to use Almond Milk?

This Zucchini Chicken recipe uses Almond Milk, but you can use any milk that you prefer, as long as it is unsweetened.

Can I use brown rice instead of white?

Brown rice would also work in this recipe in place of white rice. Since you cook the rice separately in this recipe, just be sure to follow your rice package cooking instructions as brown rice can take a little longer to cook than white rice.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs, but I recommend sticking with boneless skinless thighs for easy prep and cooking. Consider the amount of thighs that you will need as well. Generally, I estimate 16 ounces or 1 pound of chicken for 4 servings. That will likely mean 5-6 boneless skinless thighs, depending on their size. The recipe instructions will be the same for thighs as the breasts.

Can I make this in a slow cooker or instant pot?

I have not tested this in either. However, it was developed to be a quick cooking stovetop recipe, so it really is fast! If you are looking for a slow cooker dinner idea, try this Chicken and Mushroom Soup in the Slow Cooker!

Is this recipe Gluten Free?

Yes, this recipe is gluten free if made exactly as indicated in the recipe. However, you should always check the labels of all products that you purchase to confirm there is no gluten.

Is this recipe Low-Carb?

No, this recipe is not intended to be a low carbohydrate recipe. If you eliminate the rice from this, you will significantly lower the carbohydrates, as the rice is where they mostly come from in this recipe.

ENJOY! 😍 Carrie

Stovetop Chicken, Zucchini, Rice Casserole
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 35 min
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  • 8 ounces Cremini Mushrooms, sliced (white button are fine too)
  • 1 Zucchini, Medium
  • 1 Onion, Small (yellow or white)
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt (to be added to taste at various steps)
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ground Pepper (to be added to taste at various steps)
  • 3 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup White Long Grain Rice, uncooked
  • 10 ounces Chicken Breast
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk you can substitute regular milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, Chopped
Prep Ahead Steps
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Dice the zucchini by cutting it in half lengthwise, then into quarters. Slice into ½ inch sliced triangles.
Pre-Cook the Chicken: Put the chicken breast on a baking sheet and rub with a drizzle of Olive Oil and dash of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. When the chicken is done, dice it into bite-size pieces.
Cooking Steps
Make the rice according to package instructions. NOTE: You could do this step in advance and just reheat at this point.
Preheat a large frying pan on high heat. Add 2 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil to coat the bottom and then add the sliced mushrooms with a dash of salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms into one layer and cook for 5 minutes to get a brown sear on the bottom. Then stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes until reduced in size by half. Transfer the muschooms to a plate.
Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan and add the Onions to cook for 6-8 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring every few minutes so that the onions don't burn. Then add the Garlic to the onions and cook for another 1 minute.
Turn the heat back up to high heat and add the diced zucchini with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook just until you get a sear (just a few minutes), no further. Then add the mushrooms back to the pan.
Add the cornstarch to 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk and whisk until fully dissolved.
To the veggies in the skillet, add 1 cup of chicken broth. Then add the Milk and Cornstarch mixture and bring to a simmer in the skillet, stirring as it starts to thicken.
Add the diced chicken, the parmesan cheese, and some of the parsley to taste (save some for garnish). Mix to combine. Finally, mix in the warm rice. NOTE: If all of your rice does not fit into the skillet, you can place some of the rice into the servings bowls/plates and pour the Zucchini & Chicken Rice mixture on top.
Serve, garnish with fresh parsley, and ENJOY!
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