One Recipe, Lots of Food: 10 Great Main Dish Casseroles

by Meg Favreau on 2 April 2012 4 comments
Photo: John Mayer

There was a time when the word "casserole" mostly made me think of less-than-appetizing options, like the dreaded tuna-noodle. But over the years, I have learned to love casseroles — they are easy to make, are often inexpensive, are simple to put together, and provide lots of delicious leftovers perfect for fridge or freezer. So if you're also ready to fall in love with these delicious, oven-warm dishes, check out the casserole recipes below. (See also: Make-Ahead Food: 10 Things to Cook on a Sunday)

1. Lasagna

I think it would be fair to call lasagna the most ubiquitous of all casseroles. Try this classic lasagna from Simply Recipes, a no-noodle lasagna that replaces pasta with zucchini, or one of these vegetarian and vegan lasagnas.

2. Mexican Casserole

Ah, the Mexican casserole. At its most basic, it's usually a combination of tortillas, meat or beans, and Mexican spices. But I've seen it take many variations, like this one with fresh cilantro and crush tortilla chips or this burrito pie.

3. Vegetable Casserole With Tofu Topping

Packed full of vegetables and topped with protein-rich tofu, this vegetable casserole is a healthy option.

4. Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Tuna isn't the only seafood that can get the casserole treatment. This Cajun shrimp casserole from Southern Living pairs shrimp with a variety of bell peppers, rice, and spices. The recipe also includes acceptable substitutions, including using frozen vegetables instead of fresh.

5. Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole

One thing I will say about casseroles — they tend to have an awful lot of cheese. But this highly rated dairy-free chicken casserole packs in flavor with spices while skipping the milk products.

6. Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

Bread pudding — sweet or savory — is one of my greatest weaknesses. My mother and I made this butternut squash, kale, and cheddar bread pudding as a vegetarian main for Christmas one year. It was tasty and filling, and would also make a great casserole for a dinner party.

7. Lentil Casserole

My aunt Mich's recipe for lentil casserole was a dinnertime staple when I was growing up.

  • 1 package lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp each marjoram, sage, and thyme
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Combine the first seven ingredients with two cups of water in a 9"x13" casserole pan. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover, and stir in carrots and celery. Cover and bake for another 40 minutes. Uncover and stir in green pepper and parsley. Top with shredded cheddar. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

8. Almost Cheeseless Pasta Casserole

Over at 101 Cookbooks, Heidi purposefully goes light on the cheese in this pasta casserole, which is full of flavor thanks to well-chosen ingredients like fresh mint, feta, and kalamata olives.

9. Shepherd's Pie

Here's another great one from Simply Recipes — Shepherd's Pie. As many of the commenters on this recipe mention, you can easily pump up this classic dish with more vegetables.

10. Macaroni and Cheese

OK, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this  delicious, ubiquitous casserole. Increase the health factor a little bit with a recipe like Country Living's roasted vegetable mac and cheese.

What are your favorite casseroles? Share in the comments!

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Guest's picture
Monica

Our Family's Favorite Casserole is Pizza Pasta Bake!
http://realpeoplefood.blogspot.com/2011/08/pasta-pizza-bake.html

We also like Tuna Casserole, which is easy and we usually have all of the ingredients on hand.
http://realpeoplefood.blogspot.com/2011/09/tuna-casserole.html

My grandfather is an amazing casserole maker, but he never uses a recipe and we can never copy him. I haven't learned enough to not use a recipe yet but hopefully someday!

Meg Favreau's picture

Thanks for sharing the recipes! That's a shame about not being able to replicate your grandfather's casseroles. Last week I met a girl whose grandmother was going to teach her how to cook her classic recipes -- as long as the girl didn't write them down and share them with other people!

Guest's picture
Grace

Love the recipes, but how many oz is a package of lentils? I buy mine in bulk.

Meg Favreau's picture

Hi Grace! It's a 16 oz. bag of lentils. I hope you enjoy the recipe!