February 07, 2019 at 07:53AM by CWC
Any meal where you can essentially throw a bunch of ingredients in one dish, cook for 40 minutes, and then get it on the table is a lifesaver for busy weeknights—especially when you have a whole fam (or even just a very hungry you!) to feed. That’s where the healthy casserole comes in. Not having to constantly watch the stove allows for more important evening activities, like watching Broad City. Plus, they make so many leftovers—the meal prepper’s dream.
Here’s the thing: Casseroles have long been a busy eater’s go-to, but the ones from your childhood probably weren’t that healthy…or very appetizing. (Here’s to everyone who involuntarily gags just hearing the words “tuna noodle casserole.”) Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember, we are living in a time where cauliflower can make a really good pizza crust and chickpeas can be pasta! To that end, check out these 10 healthy casseroles that are easy, nutritious, and blissfully tuna-free. Your mom would be proud.
Keep reading for 10 healthy casseroles to make on busy weekday nights.
Green bean casserole probably has a standing appointment on your Thanksgiving table, but green beans—rich in folate, potassium, and fiber—are so healthy that they deserve attention more than once a year. Especially when following Live Eat Learn blogger Sarah Bond’s recipe, which is healthier than smothering the vegetables in processed cream of mushroom soup. Her recipe provides an easy way to make your own sauce, using mushrooms, garlic, vegetable broth, and almond milk. And don’t worry—it’s still topped off with those crunchy fried onions. (You just DIY them—putting you in control of the sodium.)
The great thing about chicken enchilada casseroles is that they’re easy to really load up with protein, which is exactly what Gimme Some Oven blogger Ali Ebright does in her recipe. Besides chicken, she uses pinto beans to give the meal extra staying power. And there’s no need to whip up a veggie side either—including spinach and bell peppers in the dish make sure you get your produce fix.
You may wax poetically about your love for kale, but if you’re cooking for a crew of not-so healthy eaters, they might need some convincing. Enter this dish from Half Baked Harvest, which combines the greens with rice, mushrooms, onions, and lots of spices. Pro tip: Use coconut milk in place of heavy cream to up the health factor and add a hint of sweetness.
In case you haven’t heard, we’re living in a time of cauliflower 2.0. It’s the starring ingredient in this Mediterranean-style casserole from The Iron You, which also includes tomato, cheese, and fresh basil. It’s like your fave slice of pizza, in healthy casserole form.
Another way to make good use of your cauli is pairing it with broccoli—another trending veggie—to make a healthier version of the classic cheesy broccoli casserole. While the OG recipe traditionally calls for Velveeta, margarine, and crackers, The Foodie Dietitian blogger Kara Lydon, RD, revamps it using Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, milk, whole wheat bread crumbs, and the aforementioned starring veggies. It will still satisfy your creamy, cheesy craving, but with far more nutritious components.
Not only is this casserole from Love and Lemons packed with fiber and protein, thanks to the eggs, it works just as well for breakfast as it does for dinner. The recipe also calls for dijon mustard and red chili flakes to add a spicy kick.
This vegan and gluten-free casserole from Emilie Eats is full of plant protein from chickpea and cashews (which are used to make the creamy “cheese”). Quinoa ups the nutrient density even more by giving the dish more fiber, iron, and magnesium.
This recipe has a mere seven ingredients—including salt and pepper—but it’s super satisfying and flavorful. If the idea of fish casserole is triggering a tuna noodle PTSD, fear not; this dish from Pure Ella is totally different. Instead of tuna, it stars tilapia, and tomato paste is used instead of a cream sauce, which not only varies the taste but ups the potassium.
Think outside the curry and pad Thai boxes with this recipe from The Healthy Maven, which introduces the Thai flavors to a classic casserole. Coconut milk and curry powder are combined with quinoa and broccoli, resulting in the perfect mashup. And the creamy peanut sauce will hit just the spot, fully satisfying your Thai food craving.
This casserole from Blissfully Basil serves up an indulgently creamy “cheese” sauce from cashews. It also still has the white potatoes you want in a classic casserole dish, but the recipe halves the serving by combining them with cauliflower (yep, that veggie again!). The result is a creamy, filling, and satisfying dinner.