Vegetarian Casseroles Everyone Will Love

In recent years, an interest in the so-called flexitarian diet has taken the country by storm. In fact, more than half of young Americans identify as flexitarian, according to one recent poll. But what does this diet really entail?

Flexitarianism isn't nearly as strict as a pure vegetarian diet. Instead of completely eschewing meat, you merely attempt to reduce your intake. This might just mean embracing Meatless Mondays and preparing vegetarian or vegan meals just once a week, or it could mean you're reducing your meat consumption more frequently. People trying out the flexitarian diet may do so out of concern for the environment, for health reasons, or simply to cut back on their weekly grocery bills. Whatever the reason, we're totally on-board — especially when there's such a panoply of delicious vegetarian casserole recipes out there!

Casseroles are often meat-heavy, but they really don't have to be, as the recipes below show. Filled with veggies, spices, and tons of cheese, these casseroles will ensure you don't miss the meat at all.

An old-fashioned broccoli casserole that would make Mom proud

Casserole recipes have long been weeknight classics, and it's not hard to see why. They aren't just delicious; they're also simple, and their reliance on pantry staples makes them easy to whip out without having to do an extra grocery run. This broccoli casserole leans into tradition: a nostalgic favorite made almost entirely with ingredients you probably already have on-hand. 

In this broccoli casserole recipe, frozen broccoli florets are tossed with condensed cream of mushroom soup, milk, egg, and cheese to make the rich, hearty base. A buttery crushed Ritz cracker topping emerges crisp and browned from the oven. It'll be hard to say no to seconds!

Cheesy, crispy zucchini casserole

Zucchini is a delicious summertime staple, and it's not hard to see why. Inexpensive with a mild, nutty flavor, it makes the perfect base for this zucchini casserole topped with garlic-seasoned breadcrumbs and several kinds of cheese. Cheddar, mozzarella, or a blend of both help create the gooeyness everyone loves in a casserole or bake. Parmesan, meanwhile, adds a nutty richness that brings out the natural flavor of the zucchini itself. Serve this casserole on its own or with a side of marinara sauce for even more Italian-inspired flavor.

Baked ziti casserole with double the flavor

Forget the cafeteria baked ziti you grew up on: this vegetarian version of the pasta bake is ready to blow your tastebuds away. Ziti is cooked until just al dente before being tossed with your favorite marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade — whichever you prefer!). Topped with dollops of Parmesan-scented ricotta before a trip through the oven, this ziti emerges bubbly, browned, and ready to devour. Serve it on its own or pair it with homemade garlic bread for a vegetarian main dish the whole family will love.

Sweet potato casserole, no turkey needed

While sweet potato casserole usually plays second fiddle to the star of the Thanksgiving table, there's no turkey required to enjoy this delicious dish. A base of cooked sweet potatoes is scented with vanilla and topped with a brown sugar pecan crumble. This topping is a touch less sweet than the usual marshmallows, and as an added bonus, it's devoid of the gelatin that would make the marshmallows a vegetarian no-no. 

Serve this casserole with a side salad of bitter lettuces, like radicchio and frisée, dressed in a zingy Dijon vinaigrette for the perfect balance of flavors.

Greek spanakopita is a spinach-fueled casserole dream

Spanakopita is part casserole, part pie – it's a traditional Greek dish made with layers of phyllo dough encasing an herb-infused spinach filling. In this recipe, feta is crumbled throughout the veggie layer, which has an extra dose of creaminess thanks to Greek yogurt. The phyllo is layered with butter to help it transform into a crispy, golden crust in the oven. And best of all? This casserole is just as delicious enjoyed cold the next day.

Mac and cheese casserole oozes nostalgia

Mac and cheese is an American classic for a reason! This rich, creamy casserole is inspired by a Trader Joe's favorite, and it delivers on the "copycat" promise.

This mac and cheese recipe sees four kinds of cheese stirred into a rich sauce made from evaporated milk, which coats every last noodle. A touch of Dijon mustard and red pepper flakes for a kick make this vegetarian casserole super satisfying — no meat required.

Broccoli and chickpeas make a healthy casserole indeed

Casseroles are often rich and hearty, but they don't have to be high in calories to be satisfying. This broccoli and chickpea casserole pairs two fiber-rich ingredients — cruciferous broccoli and garbanzo beans — with brown rice and veggie broth for a plant-based casserole that's super satisfying. Broccoli also boasts naturally occurring sulforaphane, which helps promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes in the body. 

Of course, this casserole isn't all about the health benefits — it's also richly flavored and satisfying with a cheesy topping that lends the heartiness casseroles are known for.

Low-carb broccoli casserole

If you're cutting down on carbs in addition to reducing your meat intake, this broccoli casserole is the one for you. With riced cauliflower standing in for rice, the veggies in this casserole are baked with an eggy custard scented with lemon zest and garlic. A low-fat cheese topping adds just the right amount of richness to round this recipe out. It's sure to become a Meatless Monday staple in your home.