Healthy Casserole Ideas from Theresa Albert

Call it a casserole and its relegated to the 50s but call it a "strata" or a "bake" or a "pie" and suddenly its new again. Everyone has one of their mom's recipes in their head, whether they hated it or loved it. Casseroles rock because they can be assembled and baked unmonitored. The traditional formula is simple: ingredients in a glass dish heated in the oven. The outcome is especially good for sharing at parties or for making on the weekend and enjoying all week. What could use a little healthy push is the choice of items that go into the dish. Your mom used cans of soup, high carb pasta and maybe some corn flakes on top but we can do better. Switch it up with these healthier, more updated substitutions to any casserole recipe:

Instead of

Ground beef - use- Canned lentils or cooked chicken

Ground lamb with fat  -use-   Cook and rinse all meat before adding

Heavy cream sauce -use- Low fat evaporated milk

Pasta -use- Spaghetti Squash/Quinoa/Brown Rice

Grated cheese -use- White sauce made with milk or yogurt

Canned soup -use- Baby food pureed vegetables

Corn Flake Topping -use- Whole wheat bread crumbs 

Crispy Onions -use- Crushed whole wheat crackers

Pastry or Puff pastry -use- Phyllo layers

Every casserole has the same formula: Body of protein, heart of creamy and moist and topping of crisp. With a little imagination, you can update old favorites without making a dent in the flavour. Mix and match as you please and serve with a great big salad and everyone is happy.


THERESA ALBERT, DHN, RNCP, is a registered nutritional consulting practitioner with a busy private practice in Toronto. Her new book Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck (McClelland & Stewart) is a fun, practical guide to making healthy, weekly changes for improved health using morsels of information and tasty, healthy recipes. Her television show "Just One Bite" aired on the Food Network for over two years in a daily time slot and introduced her energetic style to millions. She is also the author of Cook Once a Week, Eat Well Every Day. Theresa is a recognizable news media and online face as a resource for consumers and marketers who seek to remove the bologna from their lunchboxes and their news.
She prepares a free weekly newsletter to make you laugh, eat well and be inspired