Casseroles may not be as trendy as bowls or toasts but if you need to feed a crowd — or you just want leftovers that actually taste good — then consider giving casseroles a chance.
They're practical, convenient and, if done right, can make for a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner recipe.
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The key here is healthy. Many casseroles from years past call for canned cream of mushroom or chicken soup, or mounds of cheese. Instead, we pulled together six healthy, high-protein casserole recipes to offer practicality and convenience to your meal planning.
The best part: These recipes include everyday food items — such as frozen veggies and canned tuna — that you probably already have on hand.
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1. Fiesta Mexican Bean Organic Corn Casserole
- Calories: 379
- Protein: 19 grams
The egg in this casserole makes this dish a perfect breakfast or brunch go-to. The eggs and kidney beans combined lend this recipe 19 grams of protein per serving. What's more, it calls for frozen corn, making it easier to have this whole grain on hand.
The nutritional benefits of corn are underrated. Did you know it's a source of fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese? The yellow color is also due in part to the lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants, per the Mayo Clinic.
Lutein and zeaxanthin help filter out blue light, which, in turn, can improve your sleep quality and reduce eye strain and frequency of headaches, according to a June 2017 study published in Foods.
Get the Fiesta Mexican Bean Organic Corn Casserole recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Casserole
- Calories: 406
- Protein: 35 grams
Another delicious breakfast recipe, this one pairs sweet potatoes with eggs and chicken sausage. A single serving provides an impressive 35 grams of protein. The sweet potatoes help balance this protein-packed meal by contributing healthy carbohydrates.
The orange root veggie is also loaded with vitamin A — a medium cooked sweet potato provides more than 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV). It's also an excellent source of vitamin C (25 percent DV) and a good source of thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6.
Get the Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Casserole recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Easy Tuna Casserole
- Calories: 474
- Protein: 28 grams
This recipe from dietitian Jessica Penner, RD of Smart Nutrition, offers a healthier take on the classic tuna casserole by combining brown rice, frozen corn, canned tuna, salsa and some cheese. Each serving has 28 grams of protein and you can throw this meal together in less than 30 minutes.
Keeping a few cans of tuna on hand is always a good idea. It's a convenient, shelf-stable source of protein. And if you choose skipjack or light tuna over albacore, you'll also limit the amount of mercury you're consuming, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Get the Easy Tuna Casserole recipe and nutrition info at Smart Nutrition.
4. Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole
- Calories: 366
- Protein: 31.5 grams
Buffalo chicken can be delicious, yes, but whether you're having wings or pizza, it's not always the healthiest. Enter: This Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole from Erin Lives Whole.
By pairing lean chicken breast with sweet potatoes and broccoli, and then including a very light drizzle of the ranch dressing (versus a heavy dip — we're looking at you buffalo chicken wings), this recipe is able to stay under 375 calories per serving yet still offer up 31 grams of protein.
The dish is higher in sodium, providing about a third of your needs for the day. Most Americans get more sodium than they need on a daily basis. (The recommended DV is 2,300 milligrams but we get 3,400 milligrams per day on average, according to the Centers for Disease Control.) So make sure to balance this recipe out with the rest of the meals throughout your day.
Get the Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Casserole recipe and nutrition info at Erin Lives Whole.
5. Caramelized Onion, Apple and Sweet Potato Overnight Breakfast Bake
- Calories: 383
- Protein: 18.5 grams
For those of us who don't skip breakfast, our a.m. meals tend to be light on protein, according to the American Society for Nutrition. We typically save our protein consumption for later in the day, at lunch and dinner time. But research shows spreading out our intake throughout the day may help us with our weight loss and/or muscle gains.
This Caramelized Onion, Apple and Sweet Potato Overnight Breakfast Bake from dietitian Mary Ellen Phipps, RD, provides 10 servings with 19 grams of protein per meal, so you'll never have to go light on protein in the morning again.
Get the Caramelized Onion, Apple and Sweet Potato Overnight Breakfast Bake recipe and nutrition info at Milk & Honey Nutrition.
6. Southwest Black Bean Casserole
- Calories: 303
- Protein: 23.5 grams
This casserole is super versatile: You can serve it plain or over a salad or with corn tortilla chips. The ground turkey and canned black beans give this dish a perfect blend of staying power from the lean protein and healthy carbs, respectively. Each serving has 23 grams of protein and just 300 calories.
This recipe also provides 10 grams of fiber per serving, which puts you well on your way to meeting your daily needs — women should aim for at least 25 grams and men, 38 grams per day. It's also high in vitamin C (42 percent DV) and provides 9 percent DV of vitamin A.
Get the Southwest Black Bean Casserole recipe and nutrition info at Pinch of Yum.
- Mayo Clinic: "Cash In On the Health Benefits of Corn"
- Foods: "Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure"
- My Food Data: "Cooked Sweet Potatoes"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Advice about Eating Fish"
- Centers for Disease Control: "Get the Facts: Sodium and the Dietary Guidelines"
- American Society for Nutrition: "ENT METABOLISM Protein, Its What’s for Breakfast"