Ease Into Spring with These Lighter, Brighter Casserole Recipes
Comforting yes, but lighter than winter dishes, these spring casserole recipes are just what you need for shoulder season. Try asparagus and potato casserole, salmon noodle casserole, leek gratin, baked polenta, and more.
Just because winter is over doesn't mean our cravings for comfort food have disappeared. Spring is a crossover season, the days are warmer but there is still a chill in the air. We still have a good few casseroles to enjoy before the hotter weather arrives. These spring casseroles are a touch lighter than their fall and winter counterparts, they incorporate fresh seasonal vegetables and bright herbal accents, like the gorgeous Asparagus-and-Potato Gratin shown here. Most can be assembled a day ahead and are relatively fast to put together. And there's a trick to most of these spring casserole recipes: They tend to be the sum of their parts, more delicious when the ingredients are baked together than when prepared on their own.
Let's start with casseroles that are inspired by the classics but that have a fresher spring spin. Our Salmon Noodle Casserole swaps tuna for omega-packed salmon and keeps the standard pop of green from peas. Shepherd's pie we've lightened up by omitting the meat and combining mushrooms and other vegetables like carrots and peas with French lentils.
Then look to casseroles that cut down on prep time by utilizing test kitchen approved store-bought ingredients. Slice store-bought prepared polenta into thin rounds and layer them like lasagna noodles in our Baked Polenta with Sausage and Artichoke Hearts. Green Chicken Enchilada Pies come together with just four ingredients thanks to store-bought tomatillo salsa.
Next, embrace spring produce. We've included two asparagus casseroles because 'tis their season. There's a broccolini mac and cheese and spinach-and-egg bake if you're looking to enjoy spring greens. Bake up a puffed carrot casserole that is akin to a soufflé to highlight the new more tender and sweet spring crop of carrots that arrives in the spring. And try baking leeks in a creamy cheese sauce, it's pretty decadent. Read on for more spring casseroles and bake these recipes soon.
Spinach-and-Cheese-Ravioli Egg Bake
This sliceable casserole marries breakfast with dinner, layering spinach and cheese ravioli and grape tomatoes into a loaf pan with a parmesan-y egg custard. Starting with store-bought ravioli speeds up the process and there is no need boiling them first, the ravioli cooks right in the filling.
Salmon Noodle Casserole
Vibrant colored salmon, sweet peas, and spring herbs stud this creamy noodle casserole that's a freshened-up cousin of old school tuna casserole. For an easy seafood dinner, make the casserole in advance and just pop it in the oven right before dinner—it bakes in just 20 minutes.
Broccoli-Cheddar Hash-Brown Casserole
Cross a gigantic potato pancake with a loaded baked potato and you have this irresistible casserole. Finish each slice with a dollop of tangy Greek yogurt, smoky bacon, and chopped green onion for a tasty meal that can really be enjoyed any time of the day.
Just three ingredients and so good! It's amazing how some simple recipes taste more incredible than recipes with a long ingredient list that have you running all over the kitchen. Something truly magical happens with you bake leeks in heavy cream and nutty pecorino romano cheese, they become meltingly tender and taste super cheesy.
Intimidated by cooking scallops? Don't be, start with this quick weeknight casserole that calls for tossing scallops with a garlicky white wine and crème fraîche sauce and bakes in only eight minutes. Serve with a crusty baguette to sop up the juices or toss with pasta and rice—and don't forget to sprinkle with plenty of fresh herbs before serving.
Who knew asparagus could fall so easily into the comfort food category? Sure, we love this green stalk-y vegetable boiled, grilled, roasted, you name it. But then there's this preparation that kicks it up a notch with smoky bacon, hard boiled eggs, creamy béchamel, and shredded Gruyère cheese, a favorite cheese of ours because it melts perfectly each time.
Puffed Carrot Casserole
One part casserole, another part soufflé, this carrot casserole combines tender spring carrots with the delicate sweetness of brown sugar for a dish that blurs the lines between sweet and savory. Enjoy the truly impressive presentation of this puffed casserole right out of the oven, it won't stay puffed for long. Serve it with your favorite protein, we love it with spring ham or pork chops.
Chicken-and-Broccolini Mac and Cheese
Once you know the secret to this mac and cheese you may forget making bechamel all together. Cream cheese and Dijon melt into a decadent and much less time-consuming sauce that perfectly coats the pasta and shreds of cheddar cheese, chicken, and broccolini.
Green Chicken Enchilada Pies
The fresh crisp bite of spring radish, cilantro, and lime juice offset the richness of these cheesy layered enchilada casseroles made from only four ingredients; corn tortillas, chicken, store-bought tomatillo salsa, and Monterey jack cheese. If you don't have individual casserole dishes don't miss out: bake this in one large casserole dish instead.
Ham and Rice Casserole
Casseroles have a way of turning simple ingredients into super tasty meals, this humble ham and rice casserole is no exception. Because it's spring, consider swapping frozen spinach with fresh cooked greens; blanch the greens in salted boiling water briefly and don't forget to squeeze the water out.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
For a lighter take on this classic of British pub menus, swap the meat for mushrooms and lentils it's a super-satisfying rendition of shepherd's pie. There's an abundance of wild mushrooms in the spring, so swap any variety you like for the cremini mushrooms the recipe calls for, and use fresh blanched peas instead of frozen peas if you have them.
Cheesy Spinach-Potato Egg Casserole
Egg casseroles are surely one of the greatest breakfast inventions, you can assemble them the night before in no time, then all you have to do is bake it the next day. This hearty rendition brings together cheese, spinach, potato, and egg for a complete meal, but if you can't live without meat add in a handful or two of chopped cooked bacon or ham.
Baked Polenta with Sausage and Artichoke Hearts
We used a classic weeknight dinner strategy for this casserole, using a carefully selected store-bought ingredient to amp up flavor and save time. Here we layer thinly sliced pre-prepared polenta with spoonfuls of a sausage and artichoke heart ragu into a casserole for a hefty and fast polenta casserole.
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