As a healthy food writer, I spend a lot of time asking doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists for tips on how to eat and they always come back to me with the same advice: Build your meal so it’s full of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Hitting these three buckets, I’m told, is important for good digestion, satiety, and proper, balanced nutrition.
Casseroles have long been a classic way for combining all of the above into one dish, but the vast majority of the time, meat has been the central protein source. (I can smell the Hamburger Helper cheeseburger casserole of my childhood if I close my eyes hard enough.) Here’s a reason why it’s worth going veg even if you eat meat: incorporating vegetarian protein sources such as chickpeas, beans, or lentils into your casserole works as both a fiber and protein source. It’s the food equivalent to a two-in-one shampoo-conditioner—but like, actually beneficial and effective.
Watch the video below to learn more about the health benefits of chickpeas:
If you’re searching for some dinnertime inspiration, look no further than the 10 vegetarian casserole recipes rounded up here. These aren’t the tuna noodle casseroles of your youth. The casseroles featured below are smart takes you might not have thought of—and they’re well-rounded enough to work as a complete meal—no side salad necessary.
10 vegetarian casserole recipes full of protein, fiber, and healthy fats
While this casserole is completely meat-free, it does contain eggs and dairy, which makes it vegetarian but not vegan. If you do eat eggs, it works as either a breakfast or dinner casserole. This dish is also made with artichoke hearts (canned works perfectly), kalamata olives, bell pepper, tomato, feta cheese, and a few key spices.
Get the recipe: Vegetarian Mediterranean-inspired casserole
This casserole turns cauliflower wings from an app into an all-out meal by combining them with chickpeas and rice. The sauce is made with vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and, of course, buffalo hot sauce. There doesn’t need to be a game on for this dinner to be a total (ahem) touchdown.
Get the recipe: Buffalo cauliflower and chickpea casserole
Similar to chickpeas, black beans are also full of protein and fiber—and combining them with quinoa ups the fiber factor even more. Pro tip: Add avocado on top to incorporate more creaminess (and healthy fats) into it.
Get the recipe: Black bean quinoa casserole
The same key ingredient that makes this casserole full of protein is the same one that makes it extra creamy: cashews. When blended and combined with nutritional yeast, it makes the perfect cheese replacement. Tahini is another star ingredient in this recipe, which makes the final dish ooey-gooey while also adding protein and fiber.
Get the recipe: Gluten-free vegan broccoli cheese casserole
We couldn’t share vegetarian casserole recipes without including a nod to the OG casserole. This plant-based twist on tuna noodle casserole uses dried seaweed instead of fish for a vegetarian way to get the same flavor profile. Generous amounts of lentils and peas add protein and fiber, while the egg noodles give the casserole the noodle-y base that makes it such a casserole classic.
Get the recipe: Seaweed casserole
This casserole does contain eggs and dairy but is 100 percent meat-free. Veggies make up more than 50 percent of this dish thanks to the kale, mushrooms, onion, cauliflower, and tomato. Warmed and topped with cheese, it’s the ultimate comfort food.
Get the recipe: Roasted lentil and veggie casserole
This casserole works for breakfast or dinner—either way it will have you reaching for seconds. It’s a richer, denser version of a classic tofu scramble. The spinach in the filling ensures you’re getting your fill of fiber, too.
Get the recipe: Scrambled tofu potato casserole
Like tofu, tempeh is another soy-based vegetarian protein that lends itself really well to casseroles. Here, it’s combined with kale, black beans, and red bell pepper. The sauce is cashew-based, which adds yet another protein source to this nutrient-rich dish.
Get the recipe: Tempeh and kale enchilada casserole
This is another recipe that incorporates tempeh, using the plant-based protein to make a vegetarian bolognese. It’s combined with spaghetti squash which adds a slight earthy sweetness to the dish while providing the same nourishing comfort as traditional noodles.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti squash recipe
Traditionally, beef tends to be the starring ingredient in tomato sauce-based casseroles, but this recipe proves it turns out just as delicious using lentils instead. The only other ingredients you need are zucchini, bell pepper, marinara sauce, and Parmesan cheese.
Get the recipe: Italian lentil casserole
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