Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Cauliflower Rice has the most delicious “cheesy” buffalo sauce with all kinds of veggies. This casserole is the perfect healthy, comfort food meal!! You’ll love that it’s loaded with a yummy flavor, but also packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein to make you feel full and satisfied. Paleo, Whole30, and Keto!
Sorry, I’m not sorry for all of the buffalo chicken recipes. They are my favorite you guys! Today’s rendition of buffalo chicken deliciousness is in the form of an amazing casserole that is worthy of a Sunday night dinner, or just for any night of the week. I present to you: Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Cauliflower Rice!
And I am obsessed with this recipe! As a nutritionist, I love that this complete meal has a ton of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Pair with an easy side salad to get your greens, and you have yourself a tasty and delicious meal!
Truth be told, I was planning on developing a chicken enchilada casserole with cauliflower rice. I even had it on my content calendar (I have been known to go against this on occasion) But here is the thing….. I am obsessively devoted to my buffalo hot sauce. All week I was enjoying a batch of my homemade, dairy-free, buffalo “queso” as a snack with celery sticks. It’s the bomb. I don’t know if it’s football season, cold weather, or what exactly that brings on these strong buffalo sauce cravings, but I wasn’t about to let it go. I absolutely needed this sauce in my dinner!!!
So I did it, and it was everything I wanted in life at that moment on a Wednesday evening.
How to make Buffalo Chicken Casserole with Cauliflower Rice:
So let’s get right into this recipe. This casserole requires a few different parts to get it all perfect: the queso sauce, the cauliflower rice, and the ranch chicken and veggie filling.
- 2 large heads of cauliflower or 6 cups riced cauliflower
- Buffalo Hot sauce (I love Franks’s Original)
- Raw Cashews
- Nutritional Yeast: for the cheesy flavor!
- Chicken Broth
- Chicken cut into bite sized pieces
- onion (diced)
- carrots (diced)
- celery (diced)
- Ranch dressing
- Diced almonds: for extra crunch on top!
As I mentioned earlier, the catalyst inspiration behind this recipe started with the Buffalo Queso Sauce. So we begin with this simple and ridiculously yummy buffalo queso sauce. You start by soaking raw cashews (I soak in hot water for at least 15 minutes) then drain. In a good blender or food processor, pulse the cashews with chicken broth, nutritional yeast (gives us a cheesy flavor), and buffalo hot sauce. Really simple, and so good. It creates a thick cheese-like sauce that I love to dip in so many things!
We also need to be prepping the cauliflower rice. Pulse a large head of cauliflower or use already packaged cauliflower rice. I roasted mine in the oven after pulsing, but you can also saute on the stovetop. The roasting gave it a bit more flavor, plus I wanted to improve the texture so that it didn’t turn too mushy in the casserole. This took about 25 minutes, and gave the cauliflower rice more of a “toasty” look and taste.
While the cauliflower was roasting, I prepared a ranch chicken and veggie mixture on the stovetop. For this part, make sure the chicken is cut into bite sized pieces. Heat up a large pan to medium heat. Once hot, we add a bit of oil and cook the chicken. Stirring occasionally so that it cooks evenly. After about 8-10 minutes, remove the cooked chicken, and keep the pan hot. Toss in onion, carrots, and celery and let cook until soft (another 7 minutes or so). Toss the chicken back in with the veggies, and stir in some ranch dressing. I used store bought Tessamae’s because we love it! It’s also Paleo and Whole30 approved.
Now we work on assembling the casserole to pop it into the oven. We start with the layer of cauliflower rice on the bottom of a large 9×13 casserole dish. Now layer the chicken and veggie mixture. Pour the buffalo queso sauce on top, and give everything a good stir. Top with finely chopped almonds to give it more of a crunch. This will be similar to a “breadcrumb” feel. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes! Scroll down for the complete recipe.
Serving and Storing:
Buffalo Chicken Casserole will hold up well in the fridge for up to 1 week. So if you want a make ahead dinner, this works! Speaking of making ahead, you can also prep the chicken/veggie mixture, and the buffalo queso in advance so that it cuts down on time. Store them separately in the fridge. I prefer to make the cauliflower rice when I’m ready to cook, the fresher the better! You can also freeze this casserole and enjoy up to 3 months later. Serve with extra buffalo sauce, extra queso, possibly some avocado, and garnished with cilantro or green onion.
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Hope you all love the recipes!! Grab your casserole dish and let’s start with this Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Rice Casserole!
Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Rice Casserole
Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Rice Casserole is the perfect healthy, comfort food, casserole! It's loaded with veggies and the most delicious dairy-free buffalo queso sauce.
- 2 heads of cauliflower or 6 cups riced cauliflower
- 2 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil divided
- 1.5 lbs chicken cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 small white onion diced
- 3-4 stalks celery diced
- 3 large carrots diced
- 1/3 cup Ranch Dressing*
- 1 cup raw cashews**
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup Buffalo hot sauce + more for serving
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro optional
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Begin by prepping the cauliflower rice. Cut the cauliflower head into smaller florets. Using a food processor, add the cauliflower in batches and pulse. Just a bit and being careful not to overpulse. Place the cauliflower rice onto a large baking sheet and spread out evenly. Lightly toss with a little oil, and transfer to the oven. Roast for about 25 minutes, stirring about halfway through, or until the rice appears lightly brown and toasty. Remove to the side, and lower the temperature to 375 on the oven.
Meanwhile, make the chicken filling. Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Once hot, coat with 2-3 tsp of oil. Now add the chicken. Continue to cook and stir until the chicken is mostly cooked through (about 7-8 minutes). Remove the chicken, keep the pan hot. Add in extra oil if needed. Toss in the onion, carrot, and celery. Saute for 8-10 minutes, or until veggies are softened. Bring the chicken back to the pan, cook for another few minutes and toss in the ranch dressing to coat.
While chicken and cauliflower rice is cooking, also make the queso sauce. Make sure the cashews have been soaking in water and are drained. Bring the cashews, chicken broth, buffalo sauce, and nutritional yeast to a blender and blend until very smooth. This could take a few minutes.
To prepare the casserole, lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Begin by placing the cauliflower rice on the bottom, then top with chicken/veggie/ranch mixture. Pour 1 cup of the queso on the chicken and cauliflower rice mixture (save any extra sauce for dipping or serving). Stir the ingredients until well combined. Sprinkle the almonds on top and transfer to the oven. Transfer to the oven (heated to 375) and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and serve hot. Garnish with fresh cilantro or green onion, and sprinkle with extra buffalo sauce and queso.
*I use Tessamae’s Ranch dressing because it’s Paleo and Whole30
**Ensure the cashews have soaked for at least 15 minutes in hot water, then drain the water.