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If only there were a dish so versatile and easy to prepare that you could toss together almost any combination of protein and veggies, tweak it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and have lasting leftovers that don’t get old—when it comes to taste, anyway.
Wait! What about that casserole thing? You know, that dish made popular in the 1950s—the one that (unfortunately) took a turn for the worse when processed foods started popping up in the 1970's. Ah, yes, that casserole.
Well, times have changed. Casseroles are back and healthier than ever. These 40 healthy and delicious recipes are proof.
Photo: Minimailist Baker
1. Pumpkin French Toast Bake
Alarm clocks become much more enjoyable when signaling it’s time to eat pumpkin-y goodness. And with only a few tablespoons of brown sugar, this morning treat really isn’t too sweet. Looking for an extra health kick? Skip the pumpkin butter and use a puree instead.
2. Sausage Apple Overnight Breakfast Casserole
Sweet, savory, and tart, this casserole covers all flavor preferences. Not to mention it serves up a hearty helping of fiber. For those with leftover apples, there are plenty of ways to get that fruit off your hands (and into other awesome recipes).
3. Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole
Diving into a slice of sweet potato pie may not seem like the healthiest way to start the day, but this recipe offers the best of both worlds: It satisfies dessert cravings and has health benefits. It even has a secret ingredient that will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Breakfast Casserole with Spinach, Leeks, Cottage Cheese, and Goat Cheese
Not a morning person? This healthy dish will help supply a much-needed boost. Packed with iron-rich spinach and calcium from good ol’ cheese, even the most sluggish of us will stay energized through lunchtime. Popeye would be proud.
Photo: Eat Yourself Skinny
5. Classic Breakfast Casserole
No matter how hard fast food joints try to step up their breakfast game, they’re still no match for a classic casserole like this. In addition to its airy texture and calcium-rich contents, each serving packs a bite of protein-rich reduced-fat pork sausage. Take that, Sausage McMuffin!
6. Raspberry Oatmeal Casserole
Ever wonder what biting into heaven tastes like? We think it’d be similar to this sweet casserole. Bursting with raspberries and sprinkled with chocolate chips, the decadent treat (err, we mean breakfast?) is hard to beat. Not to mention, it’s filled with crunchy walnuts, providing a heart-healthy dose of Omega-3s.
7. Huevos Rancheros Casserole
Few things rival starting the day with a beautiful sunrise. We feel the same way about eggs served sunny side up—especially when they’re nested atop a zesty casserole. With layers of crisp corn tortillas, black beans, and cheese, you've got a perfect mix of spiciness, creaminess, and crunch.
8. Kale, Mushroom, Feta, Mozzarella Breakfast Casserole
Even if you don’t wake up craving bushels of kale and crimini mushrooms, this casserole is sure to top your go-to yogurt parfait. With crumbles of feta hidden in a bed of eggs, veggies, and low-fat mozzarella, eating breakfast will go from ho-hum to yum!
9. Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Breakfast Casserole
Why fill up on a calorie-laden latte when a protein-rich slice of Pumpkin Spice Latte Quinoa Breakfast Casserole is an option? (See ya, Starbucks!) Even caffeine lovers can rejoice: This recipe is pumped with just enough coffee to provide a little buzz.
Photo: The Local Kitchener
10. Beet, Mushroom, and Potato Casserole
This one’s for all the root vegetable lovers out there. Filled with beets, meaty mushrooms, and nestled in a creamy mashed potato crust, this casserole is quite the earthy delight. For those who prefer meat with breakfast, add chicken sausage or ground turkey.
11. Cheeseburger Casserole
Skip the greasy cheeseburgers. Sure, they’re delicious, but they can also weigh down even the sturdiest of stomachs. Instead, dig into this all-American casserole, which is full of tomatoes, onions, lean ground beef, and reduced fat cheese. Just don’t forget the pickles because, really, what’s a burger without a tangy kick?
12. Asparagus and Chickpea Casserole
Looking for a fresh and light bite? Give this vegan casserole a try. After all, it’s tough to go wrong with asparagus and chickpeas topped with shredded hash browns and a savory sauce. (We’ll pause while we wipe up our drool.) To keep the dish extra light, try topping it off with these healthier hash browns.
13. Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole
Who wouldn’t want a fiesta for lunch? Well, some may prefer a siesta, but even they would love this flavorful casserole—which is bursting with spinach, cherry tomatoes, black beans, quinoa, and shredded lean chicken.
14. Brussels Sprouts Gratin
Brussels sprouts are one of those awesome foods that have unexpected health benefits—two of which are helping lower blood pressure and improving heart health. And there’s good news for gratin lovers: It’s still possible to reap the benefits when the vegetable is covered in cheese. Boasting six grams of fiber and 14.5 grams of protein per serving, lunch never tasted so sinfully delicious.
15. Easy Lemon Chicken Potato Casserole
Simple can be satisfying. This chicken-and-potatoes casserole flavored with classic cream of chicken and cream of mushroom soups (homemade of course) and lemon is proof. Ok, lemon and creamy soups may sound a little crazy, but trust us: The bursts of this antioxidant-rich fruit aside creamy chicken will have you hooked.
16. Finnish Carrot Casserole
One bite of this traditional Scandinavian dish is enough to see just how light yet filling it is. (Carrot pun intended, as the veggie does boast a good amount of vitamin A, which is known for benefiting vision.) The secret behind the bite? Fiber-rich brown rice.
17. Kale and Wild Rice Casserole
Getting fancy in the kitchen can be fun, but few things compare to the simple pleasures of wild rice, caramelized mushrooms, and kale—which happens to have the greatest amount of antioxidants of any other veggie you could have tossed into this dish. For a calcium boost, add goat cheese or another creamy favorite.
Photo: Homemade Levity
18. Creamy Corn Casserole
Some people are crazy for corn. And why shouldn’t they be? It’s high in fiber, low in fat, and a great source of essential nutrients like lutein, which promotes eye health. We think that’s reason enough to give this creamy casserole a go ((Lutein and zeaxanthin in eye and skin health. Roberts RL, Green J, Lewis B. Clinics in Dermatology. 2009 Mar-Apr;27(2):195-201.)).
19. Philly Cheesesteak Casserole
Few things can squash a Philly cheesesteak craving—aside from a Philly cheesesteak, of course. But this casserole is a close second, and comes with less bread and more steak and veggies than the classic sandwich. To make it even healthier, layer on a reduced-fat American cheese instead of full-fat slices.
20. Parsnip Sweet Potato Casserole
Sometimes the secret is simplicity. Take the Parsnip Sweet Potato Casserole, for example. Sliced onions, Japanese sweet potatoes, and parsnips make up the heart of this casserole. Kissed with garlic and coconut milk, the sweet and savory elements marry to create even more depth and antioxidant benefits.
21. Pesto Broccoli Sweet Potato Rice Casserole
Spaghetti squash has a reputation for being the great pasta imitator, but it’s actually all about the sweet potato. The veggie transforms into rice in this dish (with the help of a kitchen gadget) and is then paired with broccoli, whose claim to fame is its exceptionally high levels of vitamin C and folate. Just top with a creamy homemade pesto, and you’re set.
22. Turkey Taco Casserole
Need a new way to celebrate Taco Tuesday? This spicy layered casserole just may be the answer. Bursting with diced tomatoes, fire-roasted green chilies, fat-free refried beans, a light cheese blend, and lean ground turkey, the only thing missing is hot sauce.
23. Spinach Tomato Barley Casserole
Bruschetta is a delicious appetizer, but we’re turning to Spinach Tomato Barley Casserole for a healthier, more filling meal that has a surprisingly similar taste. Full of iron-rich spinach, tomatoes, garlic, and whole grains, you’ll be glad you passed on the bread.
24. Wild Rice and Roasted Butternut Squash Casserole
This casserole is what we like to a call a happy accident, coming to life in a “I can’t make it to the store! What can I possibly make with what I have?” moment. Luckily, its creator had butternut squash, apple juice, baby spinach, and wild rice on hand, which happens to meld perfectly with a handful of mozzarella cheese.
Photo: Smitten Kitchen
25. Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
There are many secrets tucked into this casserole. (Three being fresh oregano, lemon zest, and mirepoix—a base of carrots, celery, and onion.) But all attention really belongs to the freshness of the tomatoes and eggplant. To learn the other secrets, you’ll just have to make it.
26. Gluten-Free Brown Rice, Ground Turkey, Green Pepper, Mushrooms, and Feta Casserole
Why the long name? The better to see all the delicious ingredients, of course. With ground turkey, green pepper, mushrooms, feta, and a touch of brown rice, this recipe will satisfy almost every taste bud. For those looking for a lighter meal, don’t panic: A little goes a long way!
27. Cajun Shrimp and Quinoa Casserole
Get out that cast iron skillet, because things are about to heat up—Cajun style. Jalapeños, vitamin-rich garlic, and spices galore give quinoa and shrimp a kick while just one cup of Fontina cheese tempers the spice while appealing to creamy cravings.
28. Creamy Chicken Quinoa and Broccoli Casserole
No canned, condensed goop here. Instead, fill up on wholesome Midwestern freshness with 2% milk, reduced-sodium chicken broth, Gruyere cheese, broccoli, quinoa, and chicken. The recipe creator was right when she called it “a big gentle hug loaded with good-for-you ingredients.”
29. Cranberry Turkey Casserole
Let’s pretend Thanksgiving was yesterday, shall we? Now gather up some leftovers, and head to the stove. Sure, the turkey will offer quite the bite, but it’s the homemade cranberry sauce that boasts of flavor. We’ll see you after the inevitable post-meal nap.
30. Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
Spinach artichoke dip lovers, rejoice! This casserole is sure to please. Quinoa delivers a high dose of protein, and plain non-fat Greek yogurt keeps it light and creamy. And we can’t forget those hearty spinach greens. Feeling ambitious? Switch out the frozen spinach and jarred artichoke hearts for fresh goods.
Photo: The Kitchen is My Playground
31. Cauliflower (Just Like) Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
Imagine a casserole with all the bacon-y, chive-y, cheesy, sour creamy goodness of a loaded baked potato, but with less fat and way more health benefits. Now feast your eyes on this dish, which does without the starchy spuds and instead with nutrient-rich cauliflower. To make it even healthier, substitute 2% cheese or Greek yogurt for sour cream.
32. Chili Chicken, Kale and Quinoa Casserole
When chili alone won’t get the job done, turn to a delicious casserole overflowing with corn, black beans, and kale. While kale may not seem like the usual add-in to Tex-Mex dishes, the leafy green both complements the flavor and ups the amount of nutrients. We also suggest topping it with a slice or two of avocado to increase absorption of carotenoids from other veggies in this dish.
33. Layered BBQ Chicken & Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole
This casserole packs a one-two punch with BBQ sauce and sweet potatoes. The tanginess of the all-natural sauce brings out the sweetness of the potatoes, and there are no processed sugars to boot—which means you can have an extra bite (or four). We can almost guarantee the flavor will knock your socks off.
34. Pork Loin, Sweet Potato, and Brussel Sprouts Casserole
Expecting a paleo eater for dinner? Don’t sweat it: There’s a casserole that will satisfy their protein needs. Overflowing with Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, lean pork, and coated in coconut cream, this casserole packs a whopping 46 grams of protein into each helping.
35. Spinach, Lentil, and Wild Rice Casserole
Try to picture every nutritious vegetable possible. Guess what? Almost all of them are likely in this recipe. With onions, mushrooms, peas, spinach, wild rice and a low-sodium cashew cream, this casserole is a vegan’s dream.
Photo: Girl Makes Food
36. Vegan Samosa Casserole
No butter. No oil. Yes, you can enjoy a samosa (or at least the flavors) without the greasy mess. The tasty street treat is transformed into a sit down dish by combining a heaping of cauliflower, potatoes, protein-packed peas, and decadent spices, including coriander.
37. Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
In the mood for a pizza party? Then this casserole is for you. Made with a roasted cauliflower base, tomato sauce, and topped with cheese and whatever pizza toppings you fancy (we suggest kale and pineapple), this recipe is full flavor while still being low calorie.
38. Sumptuous Seafood Casserole
Casseroles have a reputation for being comfort dishes. And while that doesn’t apply to some recipes, it certainly does for this. And that’s not just because it’s oozing with butter and cream. Instead, it’s the main ingredient: fish, swimming with stress-fighting Omega 3s!
39. Tofu and Cheesy Rice Casserole
Try ditching the meat for a night and loading up on herb-infused baked tofu, fresh broccoli, onion, rice, and a nutritional yeast-based imitation cheese sauce instead. After all, eating vegetarian is good for your health and wallet. For those who prefer eating gluten-free, use brown rice flour to make the sauce.
40. Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
Deconstruction and big flavors? Sure why not! Minced onion and garlic combine in a tomato sauce that perfectly complements chopped cabbage, brown rice, and lean ground turkey. For extra antioxidants, swap red cabbage for green.