Healthy Chicken Florentine Casserole

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A rich and creamy pasta dish that's healthy, too!

Ahhh, creamy pasta dishes. Not exactly a recipe you’d think could be included in a healthy-eating plan. And yet, here we are! This garlicky Chicken Florentine Casserole uses warming nutmeg, oregano, rich chicken broth, and Parmesan cheese to create a healthy version of a favorite creamy, bubbly casserole. This simple casserole will please the whole family, and you may even get your kids to eat spinach (and like it!). You’ll never guess that this dish clocks in at only 8 grams of fat and 315 calories per serving.

Chicken Florentine Casserole is Great For Kids

This creamy pasta casserole will please the whole family, and you may even get your kids to eat spinach (and like it!)

When I was a kid, there was no way — and I mean no way — I would willingly eat anything as green as spinach. No matter how my mother tempted me, I had this childhood logic that, if I ate spinach, she would see my resolve weaken. As a result, she might try and dupe me into eating other more nefarious food items like broccoli. Yuck!

Unknown to me, my mother had been slipping vast quantities of the stuff into my favorite soups and pasta dishes. This Chicken Florentine Casserole operates using the same trickery. With baked pasta recipes, it’s easy to use the indulgent creaminess to disguise any healthy additions you want to make. If you wanted to increase  the nutrition content even more, you could probably puree cauliflower or white beans to make an extra-creamy, extra-duplicitous pasta bake.

The Key Players In This Creamy Chicken Florentine Casserole

This irresistible creamy, chicken casserole spotlights chicken and spinach, along with a few other nutritious ingredients that add flavor

Our irresistible casserole spotlights chicken and spinach, along with a few other nutritious ingredients that add flavor. Chicken acts as a lean source of meat that packs a powerful protein punch in this yummy dish. We love using chicken for dishes like this because of its juicy, tender consistency. In addition, it also has a low-fat profile, which makes it perfect for a creamy dish like this!

I’m sure you’re well aware of the nutritious reputation of spinach, offering a seemingly endless list of health benefits. The superfood is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, along with folate, manganese, magnesium, and iron. Thanks to its spinach content, this casserole dish provides a delicious opportunity to sneak in some feel-good vitamins and minerals!

Other key players in our crave-worthy casserole include garlic, olive oil, and powerful spices like nutmeg and oregano. Low fat cottage cheese teams up with fresh Parmesan, bringing you a creamy cheesiness that seals the deal. Finally, we use whole grain pasta in this recipe. This healthier alternative to regular pasta carries more fiber and nutrients without skimping on flavor.

In the end, we have created a perfect, healthy dish that will satisfy both parents and kids. More importantly, it’s healthy and filled with nutritious ingredients.

What to Serve with Chicken Florentine Casserole?

Paired with a nice salad or a warm vegetable side, this Chicken Florentine Casserole is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

With this Chicken Florentine Casserole, I love the idea of serving it with salads. For example, this Tuscan Salad is a perfect pairing. Take out the salmon, and you’re left with the perfect combination of radicchio and arugula dressed with capers and lemon. I also like serving casseroles with a colorful salad like Connie and Ted’s Celebrity Salad, our take on a celebrity-inspired green onion and basil salad. One more idea for the road: What about a sliced Green Bean and Zucchini Salad with almonds, oregano and lots of garlic.

Paired with a nice salad or a warm vegetable side, this Chicken Florentine Casserole is sure to be a crowd-pleaser! It’s the definition of comfort food, minus the guilt. Most importantly, this rich and gooey casserole dish is simple to throw together. It makes the perfect main course for dinner parties or date nights!

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Chicken Florentine Casserole

This garlicky Chicken Florentine Casserole uses warming nutmeg, oregano, rich chicken broth, and Parmesan to make a creamy, bubbly mid-week dinner.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1.5 cups
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts pre-cooked, cut into cubes, rotisserie chicken works too
  • 4.5 ounces box of spinach frozen, thawed, and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 2 garlic cloves large, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth fat-free
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese blended to make smooth consistency
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated, use small holes on grater
  • 1/2 pound whole grain pasta such as farfalla, penne, or spirals

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Mist a 9 x 11 baking dish with oil. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium-low and saute garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and whisk for 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and stir until thickened. Add lemon juice, nutmeg, oregano & pepper. Bring to simmer.
  • Remove from heat and add blended cottage cheese, spinach, chicken, Parmesan cheese & pasta. Stir to combine. Place in casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden & bubbly.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 396mg | Fiber: 2g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
Keywords Pasta

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91 Comments

  1. Deb – I will try to find out about the spinach, but I would go with a cup or 2, depending on how much spinach you enjoy. The garlic I would sauté' briefly just prior to whisking in the flour.

  2. OMG! This recipe is awesome! I made this last night and the whole family ate it up! There was only a little left over for my husband's lunch today. The only issue I had was trying to figure out when to add the garlic (I see now after reading the posts) but it still turned out excellent! Thanks for yet another yummy meal!

  3. I made it this weekend…it is delicious. Thanks! I get tired of trying healthy receipes that taste like crap.  This was great!

  4. I made this over the weekend, and my whole family LOVED it!  I almost had none leftover for lunch today!  I did want to make a comment though, I didn't know when to use the garlic, so I put it in the sauce after I added the broth.  Thanks for the awesome recipre!!  

    1. Betsy, Hmmmm…I've never frozen this recipe, so can't say for sure. If you freeze it let us know how it turns out.

  5. My family loves this! It has been added to my box of "keeper" recipes and put in the menu rotation. Last time I doubled the spinach and they all ate it up! Thans so much

  6. Very good! I would omit the nutmeg next time around. Pretty pungent flavor that didn't seem to mix with garlic. I also added mushrooms after sauteeing them first.

  7. I love love this recipe, and can't wait to try it.  Question though:  why frozen spinach?  Why not fresh, chopped up?  So many recipes I find have frozen spinach as an ingredient.  I prefer to use fresh, but will this compromise the recipe in some way?  Thanks for your advice, and fantastic recipes!

    1. Frozen spinach has the same nutritional value as fresh, but most recipes I find call for frozen spinach because it's cheaper and already cooked.  You should have no problem using fresh spinach in place, you'll just need to wilt it down and you'll need A LOT.  I've substituted fresh for frozen in recipes when I haven't had any in the freezer and it worked fine.  I hope that helps!

  8. This is baking in the oven and I just realized I forgot the garlic!  Please add it to your directions.  I hope it will still be OK! 

  9. This recipe caught my eye and I thought maybe I can make this gluten free. And then I read the recipe and it already was! I will definitely be making this =)

  10. Can't wait to try this recipe. Weight Watchers points plus value is an 8. For 1 1/2 cups of a creamy pasta dish that is awesome. Always looking for quick and easy or slow cooker recipes, especially this time of year with the kids being in sports. This recipe will definitely be tried within the next couple of weeks.

  11. This was delicious.  My fiance and I both loved it.  I doubled the spinach because we both like spinach.  I am definitely adding it to my meal rotation.  Thanks!

  12. I would love if this site could sync up nicely with Peppeplate. Such a great app when you are at the grocery store and want to make a recipe.

  13. This may seem like a crazy question -but do you cook the pasta first? I'm hoping to make this tonight, but can't figure that out!

  14. Pam, Yes, cook the pasta first…just until it's al dente as it will continue to cook when in the oven. I aways like to slightly undercook the pasta when adding to a casserole. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

    1. We don't recommend using canned soups because they contain so many unhealthy ingredients, including corn syrup. You could probably sub low-fat Greek yogurt for the cottage cheese. I have tried it, but it should work fine.

  15. Wow. Closest ingredient I had on hand to cottage cheese was coconut milk and half and half (lol not a big deal for a casserole right!) . Subbed that in and added green Thai curry. Also used fresh spinach. Can I say yummy!?. Next time I will try the original recipe but if you want to switch it up, this was great!!

    1. You can make the broth. It freezes well. One method is to freeze it in ice cube trays so whenever you need broth just empty the ice cube trays into the recipe. Low-sodium broth or stock should be available at most stores.

  16. I made this a few weeks ago and my family loved it. My kids keep on begging me to make it again. They have no idea how good it is for them.

  17. This is one of the best things I have ever made….I think the creamy secret is blending the cottage cheese, and I'll definitely use that trick for other cream sauces. Thank you for the recipe!

  18. Made this last night and thought it was super tasty. I highly recommend using the whole box of spinach — I did and it was delicious — and besides, what are you going to do with half a box of (defrosted) frozen spinach? Just toss it in, you won't regret it. Other than that I made no significant changes. Next time, I'll cover it with foil for the first 20 minutes as the top was a little dry. Other than that, we loved it. THANKS!

    1. Tasted good, but I too found it to be kind of dry. For the leftovers, I added a bit more chicken broth and threw in some sauteed mushrooms and onions. Much better!

      1. Turns out, the problem was my reading! I used double the pasta because I didn't read it properly. Made it again, much better now! I added mushrooms and onions.

        1. Made it tonight using fresh chopped broccoli instead of spinach. Added the broccoli to the pasta water during the last few minutes of cooking to blanch it. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as usual. WINNER! Wish I'd read the suggestion about mushrooms earlier, I think sauteed mushrooms would be an awesome addition. Pondering a chopped red bell pepper next time. This recipe really satisfies when I have a craving for rich, high-fat pasta, such as mac & cheese or fettuccine alfredo. This is SO much healthier. Definitely a keeper.

      1. Autumn, One bag of prewashed baby spinach or one bunch spinach leaves, bottom stems removed (triple-washed to remove any grit).

  19. I feel silly asking this question, but what is the total weight or amount of chicken in this recipe. I was confused with the 4×3 amount. Is it 4..3oz pieces for a total of 12 ozs? Thank you.

    1. Bev, No problem! I decided it was too confusing and removed the 4 x 3 oz. Now, it states 4 (3 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I hope it’s now clear. 🙂

  20. I would like to make a request/suggestion. If possible, in the future, could/would you, please, also list the cholesterol count in the nutritional information? Thanks for your time & all the wonderful healthy recipes you share with us!!

    1. Sure will! Most all of our recipes include cholesterol data, this one was somehow overlooked. We’ll get it added over the weekend. 🙂

  21. KEEPER!! My 4 year old declared it “yummy” even before cooking it. So good, I kept going back. Served it with roasted carrots. Detonator plan to make again!

    1. Sara, Just like lasagna, this recipe is freezer friendly. Just be sure to allow the one going in the freezer to cool before freezing. 🙂

  22. This sounds great. Have literally NEVER tried cottage cheese before, ever. When you say ‘blended’, do you actually mean blended in a blender?

  23. i didnt cube the chicken small enough! mines been in the over for over 40 minutes and i know the chicken isnt done yet. my bad! i also added a tbsp of pesto and a tsp of crushed red pepper. smells great

  24. Could I premake this and then put it in the fridge for a day or two before I bake it? Or would you recommend I bake it and then refridgerate?

    1. Sarah, I would recommend either freezing until you’re ready to bake or baking then serving leftovers. If you freeze, be sure to
      to defrost in the fridge before baking. 🙂

  25. This is delicious!! My family loved it. I will definitely make it again with maybe adding mushrooms. I used a rotisserie chicken and also doubled the recipe.

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