I must say, this has been quite the year to live in Kansas City.
Between our hometown team killin’ it last month at the World Series (Royalssssss!), to watching a gorgeous new streetcar roll into the city (with a stop oh-so-conveniently in front of my building), to cheering on a handful of awesome new restaurants and bands and entrepreneurs, even to watching on our hometown Gone Girl author flip the switch last night for our annual Plaza lighting event, I feel like everyone I know in this city is just beaming lately with local pride. And I’m definitely one of ’em. It’s a great time to live in Kansas City.
That said, though, whenever I’m traveling and tell people that I’m from Kansas City, the first subject that comes up in conversation is inevitably the first subject that has always come up. One that is very near and dear to the hearts of all who live here. One that you are expected to form strong opinions about, and “research” often. One that makes this town more sweet, more smoky, and more delicious than just about any other I know.
Everyone always wants to talk about Kansas City BBQ.
Having grown up just 3 hours away from here in Wichita, Kansas, I had always heard the rumors about how seriously KC took its bbq. From the American Royal competition, to the legendary bbq joints around town, and — of course — always associating the bottles of KC Masterpiece with “the big city” nearby, I learned from a young age that Kansas City loves its bbq.
Now after having lived here for over a decade, I can vouch that this is probably an understatement. Kansas City loves its bbq to the moon grill and back, and any Kansas Citians I know will arm wrestle you any day — or bbq up a dish or take you to a favorite restaurant — to prove to you that our bbq is indeed the best. I’m now definitely one of ’em.
But the good news for all of us home cooks is that you don’t even necessarily need to be in town or dining out at one of our local joints to get good bbq. The original winner of the American Royal Barbeque (the world’s largest bbq competition that’s held annually in KC) is actually available in stores for you to pick up any day — good ol’ KC Masterpiece Kansas City Classic.
I recently found out that this sauce was created back in 1978 by a home cook himself who loved the “Kansas City style” bbq sauce that’s a little bit sweet, a little tangy, a little smoky, and a whole lotta delicious. I’ve been a big fan of it for years too, especially because the Kansas City Classic sauce is sweetened with molasses instead of high-fructose corn syrup, and made with everyday ingredients. It also happens to be naturally gluten-free, and iss perfect for grilling, marinades, soups, enchiladas, and even simple 1-dish casseroles like this one!
For any of you who are burned out on cooking after Thanksgiving this week, rest easy — this easy chicken casserole only calls for 6 main ingredients, it can be stirred together in minutes, and will bake up quickly to warm, cheesy, delicious perfection. Oh and bonus? It’s also gluten-free!
To make the casserole, simply stir all of the casserole ingredients together — either in the baking dish you’re going to use, or in a separate bowl if that’s easier.
Then transfer and/or spread the mixture out in your baking dish, top it all with a little extra cheese, and bake it up until everything’s warmed through and the cheese is melted.
Liiiiiike that. Easy peasy.
Then drizzle it all with a little extra bbq sauce, sprinkle on your desired garnishes, and voila!
Dinner is served.
Kansas City style. :) :) :)
Yet one more delicious reason I’m proud to be from this city. So from my hometown to yours — enjoy!
optional garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, finely-chopped red or green onions, diced avocado, sour cream, etc.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl or baking dish, stir together quinoa, 1 1/2 cups cheese, chicken, black beans, corn and bbq sauce until combined. Transfer the quinoa mixture to a baking dish (or leave it, if you’re mixing this up in the baking dish), and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly on top.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through. Remove from the oven, and drizzle the top of the casserole with a little extra bbq sauce, and top with your desired (optional) garnishes.
*3 cups cooked quinoa is made from 1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked with 2 cups chicken or vegetables stock.
**Feel free to use just about any shredded cheese here. I used part-skim Colby Jack.
This recipe has been sponsored by KC Masterpiece. I’m partnering with them because I love some good Kansas City bbq, and all opinions are my own as always. Thanks for continuing to support the brands who help make this site possible!
This is exactly the kind of meal I need after making everything for Thanksgiving — quick, easy, DELICIOUS. Love it!
Thanks Stephanie, we hope you love it! :)
This looks brilliant Allie! And it’s so simple! Putting it on my to try list! :)
Thanks Jessica, we hope you enjoy!
YEP. Making this one, too.
Yay, we hope you love it! :D
This looks great. I am so into any baked quinoa casserole these days. It really works well with so many flavors and is better for us than rice. Win, win!
Thanks Karen, we hope you enjoy it! :D
Looks terrific! Do you have any recommendations on where to go for good BBQ in KC? I’ll be visiting family in Wichita and think a drive might be in order!
Thanks Jen, we hope you like it! And how fun that you’ll be visiting KC! You should definitely check out this KC city guide, on FoodieCrush! Ali lists her favorite places (as well as some other great KC bloggers). One of her favorite KC bbq joints is Joe’s Kansas City Bar-b-Que though. Have a great visit!
Wonderful! The meat is pre boiled I guess? Steamed should work, too, right? I love how simple it is!
Hi Jessy – so sorry we’re just now getting to your comment! We used a rotisserie chicken, but you can always poach and shred your chicken. We hope you enjoy this! :)
So excited to hear you live in KC and are from Wichita. I live in Wichita and have a son, sisters, and extended family in KC.
Made this last night and it was wonderful! My family topped it with sour cream and red onions and avocado (although, I honestly preferred it without the avocado), although I wish we would have had cilantro on hand to put on top! That would have been really tasty. This was the first meal I made after all the Thanksgiving leftovers were gone, and it felt good to put a healthy meal on the table :)
I never realized you live in KC! I’ve been making your energy bites forever and had no idea you were local. I’ll be making this for dinner tomorrow!
Made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit. Even my toddler liked it! Definitely will be a part of my dinner rotation now!
We’re so glad to hear that Karen, thanks for sharing with us! :)
By any chance do you post nutritional information on your recipes?
Hi Heather! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
made this last night, it is now my new FAVORITE quinoa casserole :)
We’re so glad to hear that Shirah! :D
I just made this & added carmelized onions. It’s delicious + a great way to introduce quinoa to picky eaters!
Thanks for sharing Alexandria — we’re glad it was a hit! :)
This looks delicious! Do you have any suggestions on how to make this a freezer meal?
Thanks Alecia, we hope you love it! And you should be able to just assemble this without the cheese and garnishes on top, bake it. Let it cool completely and then freeze. When you’re ready to reheat, cover it with foil, bake at 375 for about 20 min, remove the foil, top with the cheese, and then bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes more (or so). We hope this helps!
Made this Sunday with some homemade BBQ sauce – so good and so easy!
Awesome Kelsey! We’re so glad you enjoyed it! :)
How big is a serving size? 1 cup?
Hi Tracie! Something like that. Unfortunately we really aren’t sure of the proper serving size/nutrition facts for this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. That should give you a rough idea of what the serving size would be, based on calories and etc.. We hope that helps!
Thanks for posting this recipe. We used our favorite BBQ sauce and the whole family ate it up. It will be going into our rotation. Thanks again
We’re so glad to hear that Mary! :)
Made this today and it’s delicious! I doubled the recipe for a large 9×13 casserole. Very easy and healthy!
We’re happy you enjoyed it Emily! :)
I’ve made this a few times now, and it’s delicious! It’s so easy to make too! I’m a sucker for BBQ, and BBQ chicken pizza is one of my favorites. This tastes just like that in casserole form. I love the fact that it uses ancient grains and not refined white rice (ew!) This recipe has become one of my go-to’s for meal planning. Up here in Minnesota it’s recipes like these that taste great during the cold months.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Melissa — we’re so happy you enjoy the recipe! :)
Made it and loved it! We didn’t have Colby jack at home, but used pepper jack instead. Super delicious that way in my opinion! Avocado on top too! What a great recipe! Thank you!!!
You’re welcome, Hannah — we’re glad to hear you enjoyed this! :)
Hello, this looks delicious, but what is a substitution or spice mixture that I could use instead of bbq sauce. We are tryin to cut out all added sugar and the like. Any suggestions would be appreciated! (Also, what classifies as a ‘serving” in this recipe?)
Hi Selene! Instead of bbq sauce, you could try a mixture of smoked paprika, garlic powder (or fresh, minced garlic), and onion powder. You could also add some tomato paste. And we don’t have nutrition info/calories for this, so it’s hard to say what an exact serving would be, but we find that you get 6-8 entree portions out of it (depending on how hungry you are). :) We hope this helps and that you guys enjoy!
Loved it.. Family approved!!
I made this with my husband in mind. He likes quinoa, but I am not a fan.
WOW!!!! So yummy!
I used leftover turkey. We had pepper jack and cheddar cheese, so I used that. I only used 1/2 cup bbq sauce, because my husband is funny about bbq sauce.
I topped my with a little sour cream, red onion, and candied jalapenos.
This will be in our dinner rotation now!
Loved it! I used 1 cup BBQ and 1/4 cup ranch, plus I added chopped, cooked red, yellow, and orange pepper. This recipe is going in the permanent rotation!
So yummy, easy and healthy. Kids loved it, too! Will definitely make again.
I’ve made this a few times now but use Sugar-Free barbecue sauce. It is one of my absolute favorite healthy meals and is what introduced me to quinoa! Thank you so much!
This was easy to make and my whole family loved it! I’d never thought to use BBQ sauce with quinoa. Used a no-sugar sauce and it was still fantastic.
Do you think this would work as a freezer meal? I am thinking I could freeze it right after step 2 and just let it thaw a bit and increase the cooking time.
This was great! Love that it’s also healthy. Thanks for the yummy recipe!
It’s fine, love that it’s simple, but not awesome enough for me to want to make again. Just personal preference of not loving quinoa with bbq sauce maybe?
Made this tonight it was delicious and so easy. I will make it again.