Healthy Updates: How to Turn Mom's Casserole Recipe into a Healthy Favorite



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: throw ingredients in a glass dish and bake 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. We can do better. Switch it up with these healthier, more updated substitutions to any casserole recipe:

Instead of                                                        Use
Ground beef                                                         Canned lentils or cooked chicken
Ground lamb with fat                                         Cook and rinse all meat before adding
Heavy cream sauce                                             Low fat evaporated milk
Pasta                                                                      Spaghetti Squash/Quinoa/Brown Rice
Grated cheese                                                      White sauce made with milk or yogurt
Canned soup                                                        Pureed vegetables
Corn Flake Topping                                           Whole wheat bread crumbs
Crispy Onions                                                     Crushed whole wheat crackers
Pastry or Puff pastry                                         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.


About Author

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 writes a free weekly newsletter to make you laugh, eat well and be inspired at

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