Recipe: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Broccoli Bowls

Recipe: Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Broccoli Bowls

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Christine Gallary
May 15, 2017
(Image credit: Christine Han)

Coming home to a comforting meal, especially one made in the slow cooker, is the savior of busy weekdays. This Italian-inspired rice casserole has tender brown rice cooked with Parmesan, chicken broth, onions, and oregano, and it's layered with reliably juicy boneless chicken thighs, fresh broccoli florets, and a can of cannellini beans. Scoop into bowls and enjoy this all-in-one meal that has protein, veggies, and starch — perfect for pairing with a glass of crisp white wine.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Layer It Like a Pro

To make sure that the rice cooks evenly, it's layered with cheese and seasonings and the cooking liquid in the slow cooker first. A layer of boneless, skinless chicken thighs tops the rice and adds flavorful juices as they cook, and broccoli florets gently steam on top of the chicken. A can of creamy cannellini beans completes the picture. These slow cooker rice bowls cook in about five to six hours — any longer and the rice overcooks and turns mushy — so plan accordingly or make them for an easy weekend lunch if you can get everything into the slow cooker first thing in the morning.

Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Broccoli Bowls

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long-grain brown rice
1 cup water
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 large broccoli crown (about 12 ounces), cut into large florets

Place the broth, rice, water, onion, 1/2 cup cheese, garlic, herbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper flakes in a 5-quart or larger slow cooker and stir to combine. Spread out the the rice mixture so that it is in an even layer and submerged in liquid. Season the chicken with salt and place in an even layer over the rice. Place the beans, then the broccoli, evenly over the chicken.

Cover and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 6 hours on the LOW setting. Gently stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt as needed. Serve topped with more Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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