Chicken Taco Casserole

DRAGON BITES carb-counted recipe

A family-friendly, mostly healthy (sometimes treat-y!) easy recipe for families living well with Type 1 Diabetes.

Full of veggies but they'll love it anyway! Give your leftover rice new life.

1-pan, 1-hour, Tex Mex Chicken Rice Casserole

This dish was a hit with my family from the start and has staying power as a Top 5 Favourite. We first had a taste a few years ago when a kind friend sent us a Chicken Rice Casserole while I was recovering from surgery for a broken elbow. (Darn bikes!) Both kids AND parents loved it (that’s no small feat in our house). Plus it’s nutritious, full of veggies (avocado, corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes), and gluten-free (a must for me since I have celiac disease). It's also fibre-rich (black beans and avocado), completely customizable, SO easy to make, and easy to clean up (1 pan!) This Chicken Taco Casserole has made a regular appearance on our supper table ever since.

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Low-Carb? No
Gluten-free? Yes
Dairy-free? Optionally
Nut-free? Yes

Active Time: 20-25 min
Cook: 20 min (rice) + 20-25 min (casserole)
Ready in: ~ 1 hour

Total Yield: 8 moderate-size servings (each ~2 cups in volume and weighing 260g, before toppings)
Carb Content: 31g per serving (see detailed carb content below)


  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup (60g) finely chopped sweet onion1
  • 2 tsp (3 cloves) minced garlic2
  • 1 medium sweet red bell pepper3
  • 1 tbsp Tex Mex taco seasoning4
  • 2 cups (225g) frozen corn5
  • 540 ml (19oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained6
  • 3 cups cooked rice7
  • 1 small whole roast chicken (light and dark meat), chopped

For ease, I use a cooked roast chicken from the grocery store deli. If you prefer, you could use 2-4 chicken breasts instead – just cook/grill them first.

  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3/4 cup (90g) grated mozzarella cheese8 (optional –omit for dairy-free version)
  • 1/2 cup (60g) grated medium cheddar cheese9 (optional – omit for dairy-free version)

Or instead of the two separate cheeses, use 1 ¼ cup of shredded marble cheese, for ease.

 As I’m the only one in our family who needs to eat dairy-free, I simply distribute the cheese over ¾ of the dish, leaving ¼ without cheese for me.

  • Optional Toppings. Add any of your family’s favourite taco fillings. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
    • My kids love to eat this casserole with tortilla chips, like deconstructed tacos. Serve the chips whole and use them to scoop the casserole, or crunch them up on top.
    • Avocado
    • Baby Tomatoes
    • Fresh Spinach
    • Shredded Lettuce or Cabbage
    • Green Onions
    • Sliced Black Olives
    • Salsa or Pico de Gallo
    • Chopped Fresh Cilantro
    • Sour Cream (omit for a dairy-free version)
    • Guacamole



Cook rice according to package instructions, to yield 3 cups of cooked rice. While rice is cooking…


Measure the weight (in grams) of a large (9 x 13”) casserole dish and write the number down for later reference.


Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190° C). Oil the casserole dish for easy plating.


In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and sweet peppers. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until softened.


Into the sautéed mixture, stir in taco seasoning, corn, black beans, rice, and chicken. Sauté for a few minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper if desired.


Add half of the cheese and stir to incorporate.


Pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Smooth out the ingredients for even distribution.


Cover with tin foil or a lid and bake for 15 minutes. Then uncover, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.


Weigh the finished product (including the dish). Subtract the weight of the dish (obtained in Step 2) to arrive at the weight of the final yield for the taco casserole itself. Divide the total carbs by the total weight, arriving at a Carb Factor. This number should be between 0 and 1.0.

My usual carb factor for this casserole is 0.12 (which means that carbs make up 12 out of every 100 grams of the casserole).


Scoop the desired amount of casserole into individual bowls. As you do, weigh your T1D’s portion, then multiply this weight by the Carb Factor calculated in Step 9. This gives you the carb content for that serving.

My 13-year-old son’s portion weighed 260g, resulting in just over 31g of carbs for this serving.


Add your favourite toppings, and serve with a handful of tortilla chips.

The carb content of each of these toppings, especially the chips, will need to be added to your carb total for that serving.


Notes on Carb Calculation:

  1. Onion: 4g carbs
  2. Kirkland Minced California Garlic: 2g of carbs
  3. Red bell pepper: 5g of carbs
  4. Club House Blends Tex Mex: 6g of carbs
  5. Co-Op Gold frozen corn: 40.5g of carbs
  6. PC Blue Menu Black Beans: 47.5g of carbs
  7. Rice: 135g of carbs (45g per cup)
  8. Mozzarella Cheese: 3g of carbs; 24g of fat
  9. Medium Cheddar Cheese: 2g of carbs; 10g of fat

Total carbs: 245g
Total fat: 34g

Total yield: 2100g (total finished weight)

Carb Factor: 0.12

Fat Factor: 0.02

Should I Give Insulin to Cover the Fat???

What is a Carb Factor? How Do I Use It?

By Cup or By Weight?

Please don’t rely exclusively on my carb counting! Nutritional information is given for general information only, and will vary depending on the amount, type and brand of ingredients you choose - Please verify your carb and fat content when you make your own version of this recipe.