There’s something so comforting about digging your fork into something warm and cheesy. Of all the cozy ingredients out there, melted cheese really does top the list. But what if you’re craving something cheesy and also something on the healthier side? As it turns out, there are lots of ways to lighten up your favorite cheesy casseroles, from mac and cheese to lasagna, without making them any less satisfying.
1. Sweet Potato Lasagna from A Sweet Pea Chef
This smart twist on lasagna is not only lightened up with cottage cheese and lean ground pork (you could also use ground turkey), it’s also gluten-free. That’s because the usual pasta noodles are replaced with thick sweet potato rounds.
2. Cheesy Baked Spinach Casserole from Cooking for Keeps
Speaking of cottage cheese, the often overlooked dairy is the secret to this cheesy casserole, too. It helps bind the ingredients and also gives the whole thing a big boost of protein, which means it could easily be enjoyed as a main dish as well as a side.
3. Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Skinnytaste
Skim milk and chicken broth replace the usual heavy cream, the recipes calls for reduced fat cheddar in place of full-fat cheese, and wilted baby spinach adds some greens to this traditional baked dish. But don’t worry, it’s still ooey-gooey nostalgic goodness.
4. Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake from Pinch of Yum
A creamy sauce made from pureed cauliflower is the key to achieving a rich pasta bake that won’t weigh you down. Plus, when you use whole wheat pasta, you’re getting extra fiber and other good nutrients, such as vitamin E and B vitamins, in every bite.
5. Baked Chicken Parmesan from Well Plated by Erin
Skip the frying and bread the chicken in whole wheat bread crumbs and you’re on your way to a healthier chicken Parm that’s just as cheesy and satisfying as the original. Pair it with a simple green salad to round out your plate.
6. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes from Fit Foodie Finds
This classic side dish is nothing short of a treat. Only it doesn’t have to be because the heavy cream is replaced with protein-rich Greek yogurt. This is also a great recipe to try with sweet potatoes, if you prefer.
7. Mexican Cauliflower Rice Casserole from Detoxinista
While this recipe calls for a light sprinkle of goat cheddar cheese on top, any of your favorite cheddars will do. Consider stirring black beans in with the vegetables to give this casserole a protein boost and turn it into a meal.
8. Polenta Florentine from Kitchn
This fast and fancy casserole starts with a tub of prepared whole grain polenta from the grocery store and packs an entire 6-ounce bag of baby spinach into the creamy, cheesy sauce.
9. Butternut Squash, Chicken, and Wild Rice Casserole from Ambitious Kitchen
Parmesan cheese lends salty, savory flavor to this colorful wild rice casserole and helps all the ingredients bind together in the oven. This recipe is hearty enough that you can definitely skip the chicken if you’re looking to make it vegetarian.
10. Healthy Baked Cheesy Zucchini Casserole with Broccoli from Food Faith Fitness
Spirals of zucchini noodles lend lots of great texture to this cheesy, vegetable-packed egg casserole. To keep it extra simple, buy a package of zucchini noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.