4 Hearty, Grain-Free Casserole Recipes That Will Keep You Warm and Cozy
This fantastic article was written by Sarah Biren, a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. We encourage you to check out her website here!
As the days becomes shorter and colder, we tend to crave rich, hearty foods to soothe the gloominess of the season. It’s a lot easier to eat salads and smoothies in the summer when you’re more active, while winter makes us crave heavier foods like mac and cheese, chocolate chip cookies, creamy potatoes, enchiladas, and casseroles.
Unfortunately, these dishes are often full of unhealthy ingredients – which, along with a more sedentary lifestyle in the winter – leads to unwanted weight gain.
3 Reasons Why You Should Minimize Eating Regular Casseroles
Pasta is staple in a casserole, but the refined wheat in it increases blood sugar faster than other carbohydrate sources. The increase of glucose and insulin levels after eating wheat leads to fat storage, especially in the abdominal area. Additionally, the gluten in wheat triggers inflammation which can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. (1)
Instead: Use gluten-free quinoa or rice pasta, or use spiralized zucchini ‘noodles.’
While there is nothing wrong with the occasional cup of white rice, it may be wise to cut back during the winter season. Research has found that people who consume this type of rice are twice as likely to develop diabetes..
Instead: Use whole grain brown or wild rice. Look for germinated or sprouted brands since the sprouting process kills off of phytic acid and makes it easier to digest. (2)
Canned soup or cream of soup
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This is perhaps an underrated casserole ingredient, but it is present all the same. However, along with other cheap, processed ingredients, canned soups contain:
- Chemically processed vegetable oil
- Modified food starch, a name that covers the presence of MSG
- Monosodium glutamate, a food additive that can interfere with natural Neurotransmitter production
- Soy protein concentrate
Instead: Make your own Cream of Mushroom Soup with this recipe from Wellness Mama. (3)
If that list eliminated the ingredients from your usual casserole recipe, here are some new recipes to create a delicious, wintery, comfort food without the unwanted weight gain.
Paleo Casserole with Turkey, Pepper, Zucchini and Tomato
The title says it all: fresh veggies, fresh herbs, and lean protein. If you are trying to cut carbs but love creamy sauces, you will have to try this recipe!
Paleo Spaghetti Squash Casserole
For those who refuse to part with pasta dishes, here is the next best thing. With garlic, oregano, and tomatoes, here is a healthy Italian version of a casserole.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Here are all the flavors of enchiladas with the chili-tomato sauce, shredded lean meat, and avocado, without the tortillas. Serve with salsa on the side for a perfect Spanish-inspired meal.
Thai Curry Cashew Chicken Casserole
This is a must-try for anyone who’s a fan of curry. This Thai twist to the classic casserole is quick and easy for those who can’t spend too long in the kitchen.
Best Ways to Serve Casserole
Preparing a casserole for dinner can be a bit confusing since the meal is condensed into one pan already! Side dishes can be anything not included the casserole, like a different kind of vegetable, grain or fruit as a dessert. Here are some side dish ideas to accompany a steaming casserole:
- Mashed “potatoes” (or cauliflower)
- Sprouted brown rice or cauliflower rice
- Green beans
- Sweet potato fries
- Fresh salads
Dr. Josh Axe. 3 Ways Wheat Is Giving You a Belly. https://draxe.com/3-ways-wheat-is-giving-you-a-belly/ Accessed: October 19, 2017.
Dr. Josh Axe. Is Rice Healthy? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQY2F1HVIBg Published on Sep 4, 2015. Accessed: October 19, 2017.
Katie – Wellness Mama. Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup. https://wellnessmama.com/61566/cream-of-mushroom-soup/#comments Updated: June 23, 2017. Accessed: October 19, 2017.
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