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Chicken and Kale Casserole

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8
Chicken and Kale Casserole

Source: Everyday Food, November 2011


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound large pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced medium
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bunches kale (1 1/2 pounds), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken (from 1/2 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 container (48 ounces) part-skim ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan, grated (2 1/4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is beginning to soften, 4 minutes. Add kale, cover, and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to pot with pasta.

  2. Stir in chicken, ricotta, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; top with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake until top is golden, 30 minutes.

Reviews (18)

  • John Stafford Ryals 12 Jan, 2015

    I made this recipe for my wife, mother-in-law, and myself. The only one that enjoyed it was the disposal.

  • HomeStager 20 Jan, 2014

    We made this last night with spinich. It was incredibly bland! I think we will play with adding spices to this the next time we make it to give it more flavor. The combination of ingredients are fine, it just doesn't have any other background flavoring beyond the creaminess. We think the chicken could be seasoned before adding it to the sauce as well as using a white onion instead of a yellow one. Taste the food at each step to make sure it has a better balance beyond the cream flavor.

  • Jenna B 8 Nov, 2013

    I added some heavy whipping cream during the kale sauté process, as well as some thyme. It all baked up nicely and we didn't find it to be dry or bland, at least not with the additions we made. It was yummy! And we have leftovers for days (just the 2 of us), which is awesome because we work from home and often need a quick lunch (really, we just forget to eat lunch until we're starving and then it's like "Feed me now, ahhhhh!"). I recommend it; kind of like a white lasagna, you could say.

  • twinca 30 Aug, 2013

    I made this tonight (because I've just discovered kale is a pretty tasty thing!) and I found it has a good flavor, but like others have said it is very dry. I used 36oz of ricotta. After pouring it into the baking dish I thought it really needed something more so I added a little mozzarella cheese to the top. It is very tasty and the lemon zest gives it a different twist but next time I'll add some sort of cream sauce. This time a dollop of sour cream on top of my serving did the trick!

  • amandabarkey 26 Jun, 2013

    I'm a big fan of edf and make lots of the recipes and I have to say I love is simple, hearty casserole. I don't think there are any changes that need to be made... I disagree with some of the comments that it was dry or bland. I thought it was wonderful just the way the recipe is, I will make it again and again!

  • kay_beez 22 Jun, 2013

    I followed this recipe and I intend on using it again... with some further modifications. I roughly halved the recipe and used less cheese than recommended due to my limited lactose tolerance. I added fresh thyme which was a nice touch, but is was still lacking a bit in the flavour department. Next time I will add more herbs/spices. Other reviews stated that the recipe was dry, so I added half a can of coconut milk and that seemed to do the trick... without really messing with the flavour.

  • Wallflower05 14 Jun, 2013

    I tried this recipe because I had a bunch of Kale I wanted to use. I agree with the dish was quite dry and bland and the 32oz of ricotta I added didn't help with the dryness either :/. The following day I added a can of cream of mushroom and extra seasonings and put it back in the oven for a few min and that helped. Id like to make it again knowing this is such a blank canvas recipe that you can add your own flair to. I think some crumbled mild sausage would be yummy! And definitely a sauce.

  • TastyChronicles 13 Feb, 2013

    I love the recipe when I read it so I had to try it. Instead of plain shredded chicken, I sauteed the raw chicken with the onions and garlic and added some thyme to boost the flavor. I also felt it needed some textural crunch so I topped it with panko crumbs and parmesan cheese. The minor changes worked out for me.

  • steppe22 28 Jan, 2013

    This dish was good; but I'll agree with the other reviewers, I thought it could use more flavor. I personally had no issues with the amount of ricotta; I made a half recipe in a smaller casserole dish, and the consistency came out fine.

  • Trixie McGoodwell 20 Jan, 2013

    I found this really bland and dry. I anticipated the dryness and added about a half cup of chicken stock, but it was still pretty dry. And an herb of some sort would have really added to this dish -- sage, thyme, even tarragon. Next time I will up the chicken stock, add more salt and add some fresh herbs.

  • ConnieH 17 Jan, 2013

    This was really really good! So easy and I loved the lemon flavor in this dish. Can't get much easier than this recipe.
    I shared this dish with a neighbor and they really liked it too.

  • SophieL 17 Jan, 2013

    Taking note of other reviewers' comments about the amount of ricotta, I only bought one 15-oz carton and it wasn't enough to moisten the chicken, pasta and kale. I happened to have a 17-oz carton of mascarpone so I added about half of the carton to the mixture and that improved the consistency a lot. I also seasoned the kale and the chicken as I went along, again noting reviewers' comments about blandness. Still, I wasn't wild about the dish; will finish eating it but not make this dish again

  • lsdoherty1010 16 Jan, 2013

    Made this last night and wasn't a huge fan as I thought it was lacking in favor and drier than I hoped--perhaps using an egg/cheese in the ricotta would have made this creamier. I think it could use some mushrooms in the mix too. This is the first dish I haven't been a big fan of....not sure I would make again.

  • JoanOfArctic 13 Jan, 2013

    This is REALLY good - it's going into the rotation as a way to get Kale into my diet without it tasting like, well, Kale... which I find bitter. Yeah, there's a typo - 48 ounces of ricotta is excessive. I substituted a 500g container of 1% Nordica cottage cheese, which I strained through cheesecloth to reduce the moisture. (I live in Canada, cottage cheese where you live may be different, so proceed with caution!)
    Also I only needed 1 bunch of Kale, maybe it was a big one, though.

  • swein 5 Jan, 2013

    I made the mistake of using fat free ricotta. It did not turn out well at all. The fat free makes a very dry mix. I did use 3 - 15 oz containers. I am going to make notes from you gals and try a bit of sherry and the cherry tomatoes sound like a great addition, tool

  • Ginger118 15 Oct, 2012

    This recipe is a keeper. First, I can confirm that there must be a type-o in the ingredients -- I used a 15oz container of ricotta and it was plenty for the full recipe. For extra flavor, I followed the previous tip and used a bit of sherry. Also added a quarter cup of seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs on top. A bit of fresh lemon before serving worked great too.

  • nola4all 6 Mar, 2012

    This recipe was my first time cooking kale -- and it was quite good. I cut it back to make only three servings, and noting that the previous reviewer thought it needed more flavor, I deglazed the pan with sherry and added a few shakes of Worchestire sauce when stirring in the ricotta cheese. Only used a small container of ricotta (15 oz) -- 48 oz seems like a lot, even if making the full recipe for 8 servings.

  • kittenpants 5 Jan, 2012

    I was a bit disappointed by this recipe. It tastes like all of the parts that are in it, but hasn't melded together. Perhaps it's because we didn't use a rotissere chicken... maybe the saltness would have helped the dish. We just baked some chicken breasts and found the whole thing rather boring. Added sauted garlic and cherry tomatoes to the leftovers and that helped somewhat.

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