When most people think "casserole," they think of those soggy potluck tuna noodle dishes that we all spent our childhoods avoiding. But casseroles really don't deserve such a bad rap—they're quick to prep, easy to clean up, and can be healthy if they're packed with the right stuff. These recipes, for example, are full of whole-wheat grains, fresh veggies, low-fat cheeses, and plenty of flavorful add-ins. Plus they'll make tons of leftovers, so you'll be able to squeeze out at least a couple extra healthy meals from one pan. Score.
Though this recipe calls for a healthy dose of Parmesean and part-skim ricotta, the lemon zest keeps it light, and the whole-wheat pasta and fresh kale keep it packed with healthy nutrients. Even better, it's a great recipe to prep ahead and leave in the fridge—everything is pre-cooked, so you only need to warm it up in the oven when you're ready to eat it.
This dish may not be a traditional casserole, but honestly, who cares? Instead of roasting vegetables in a spaced-out, single layer like we usually do, this recipes piles them on top of each other in a casserole dish. You'll get silky, herb-infused veggies that you can't stop eating, and since it's 100 percent healthy, you don't even have to.
This dish combines chicken and rice with some of our Thanksgiving favorites (butternut squash and cranberries!), but it tastes great any time of year. It also, for the record, goes wonderfully with additional veggies—chop up whatever you have in your fridge and mix it in before baking.
We always look forward to healthy Tex-Mex twists, and this casserole does not disappoint. It's basically a huge pan of sautéed vegetables, divided into layers with corn tortillas and cheese. Make it even healthier with fresh homemade tortillas and part-skim cheese.
This riff on the classic rice and broccoli casserole is far from the original, with no fake cheese and no cream-of-whatever soup in sight. It happens to be loaded with whole, real foods like quinoa; broccoli; sharp cheddar cheese; and a homemade, whole grain bread crumb topping.
Originally published May 2013. Updated May 2017.