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March is a time of impatience in the Midwest. The month symbolizes spring, but most of the time the weather still feels very much like winter. We got several inches of snow this past week, and I’m so ready for that to be over. Bring on the sunshine and warmth! Being stuck in this limbo has me making comforting casseroles to combat the cold outside, but I can’t help sneaking in some summer ingredients in there, even knowing that it’s too early. This low carb pesto chicken bake with cauliflower is the perfect example.
Even though it’s way, waaaay too early in the year for basil, I’m satisfying my impatience for summer with a pesto chicken casserole. I couldn’t resist sprinkling it with fresh basil on top. You can omit that part if it doesn’t look good yet at the supermarket. This is one of those recipes to make now and also save for later!
Since pesto is available year-round, this pesto chicken bake recipe works anytime of year. I like to make my homemade macadamia nut basil pesto when basil is in season and freeze it, so that’s what I used. It tastes decadent in this recipe, but any store bought pesto will work just as well. Just watch for unnecessary fillers, like potato flakes, starches, and preservatives.
At the same time, the chicken and cauliflower make this pesto chicken bake the perfect comfort food while the weather is still cool. Can’t go wrong with a low carb casserole!
The pesto chicken bake freezes amazingly well. You’ll want to make an extra batch to have on hand for a quick dinner. You can easily do that by lining your pan with foil and leaving plenty around the sides, then freeze the casserole in the pan with the foil. Once it’s solid, lift it out using the foil edges, wrap on all sides with more foil, and vacuum seal. (I like this vacuum sealer). Since this method retains the shape of the pan, it will fit right back into it in its frozen state. Then just uncover and reheat in the oven.
Otherwise, when I’m not going to freeze it, I make my pesto chicken bake directly in this casserole dish for easy cleanup and no sticking.
Even if you didn’t plan ahead and stash it in the freezer, this pesto chicken casserole will easily become a go-to staple. With only 6 ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time, it comes together quickly enough for a weeknight. It’s the perfect way to use up shredded chicken, which I regularly make in bulk in my Instant Pot. You could easily use cubed or otherwise cut-up chicken, too – whatever you have on hand will work.
My favorite part about this pesto chicken bake is that it’s a one-pan meal. It’s definitely hearty and versatile enough to be dinner on its own! And, since it only requires one dish from start to finish, it’s a great option for minimal cleanup, too.
Pesto Chicken Bake Recipe with Cauliflower:
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More Low Carb Recipes To Love
Pesto Chicken Bake with Cauliflower (Low Carb, Gluten-free)
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RECIPE TIPS + VIDEO in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 in (23x33 cm) casserole dish. (You can line with foil or parchment paper if desired. I used a stoneware dish so it wasn't necessary.)
Toss the cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crisp-tender.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).
- Mix the shredded chicken and half of the shredded mozzarella into the pan with the cauliflower.
- Stir together the basil pesto and cream. Pour evenly over the casserole, and mix until everything is coated evenly. Sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
Return the casserole to the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh basil ribbons if desired.
You can also use cubed cooked chicken instead of shredded, if you prefer.
Serving size: 1 cup
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Carb count excludes sugar alcohols. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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