Need a pizza hack? This pasta free pizza casserole will satisfy your pizza craving without risk of spiking you.
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- 1 large Eggplant
- 1 large Red Onion
- 1 large Yellow Squash
- 1 large Zucchini
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper
- 1½ Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 12 ounces Ground Italian Sausage (I used Johnsonville mild)
- 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1¾ cup Marinara Sauce (jarred)
- ½ cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1½ cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and place a rack on the middle settings in the oven.
- Chop the eggplant, onion, squash, zucchini and bell pepper into 1 to 1½-inch pieces. Place them into a large bowl and pour in the olive oil. Stir the vegetables until they're coated in the oil and transfer them to the casserole dish or baking pan, laying evenly in one layer. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium to large skillet on medium-low heat, cook the sausage on the stove. It's best no to break the sausage all the way down; instead, as the sausage cooks, cut it into 1-inch thick chunks.
- Mix the ricotta and 1 cup of the marinara sauce together in bowl and set aside.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven and add the sausage evenly throughout the vegetables. Pour the marinara mixture into the casserole, then pour the remaining marinara into the gaps where there's no marinara mixture.Sprinkle the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses evenly on top.
- Place the pan back in the oven on the middle rack for 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted. Broil on high for the last 5 minutes to make the cheese brown and bubbly.
See notes below.
This pizza casserole recipe is the perfect cross between lasagna and pizza, but without the pasta or bread.
Instead of those empty carbs, vegetables make up the bulk of the dish.
It's a great way to get in veggies without feeling like you're forcing yourself to eat vegetables when you really don't want to.
Pizza Casserole Notes
The key to a great casserole is consistency in distribution, so remember that when layering in all the ingredients.
1. The squashes used in the original recipe have a high water content, and when the cheese is layered on top it creates a lid and locks the water in. As a result, there will be water in the bottom of the casserole dish.
Don't worry - the flavor isn't watered down. But when serving the casserole it's best to use a slotted spoon or spatula so that water isn't scooped with the food.
If you don't have a slotted spoon or spatula you can simply tilt the spoon on the side of the casserole dish and let the water drain.
2. The eggplant skin can be tough and unappetizing if you're not used to eating eggplant. You have 2 choices: peel it with a knife like you would a mango, or buy 2 or 3 small and skinny baby eggplant.
The baby eggplant has such great flavor and the skin is very tender like zucchini and squash - you won't even notice it.
Pizza Casserole Recipe Substitutions
Of course, you can substitute your favorite pizza toppings, but the reason I chose the ingredients in this recipe is because they give all the flavor you need without adding extra spices.
I really enjoy Pioneer Woman's pasta sauces, and any of them would work well with this recipe but I used the Marinara sauce. Newman's Own is a favorite brand as well.
Some great additions to this recipe would be:
- baby spinach
- stewed tomatoes
If you can handle the carbs, boil some whole wheat or lentil pasta al-dente (under cooked by 2 minutes) and layer it in before adding the sauce.
Healthy Pizza Casserole
When calculating the nutrition for this recipe I used full fat dairy products, and because of that the fat count per serving is about 10g higher than recommended.
If fat is a nutrient you're watching carefully, use skim milk dairy products and you'll be fine. Additionally, you can swap half of the sausage for ground turkey.
The sodium content is higher than ideal for one serving, but not terrible. The bulk of the sodium is found in the cheeses and sausage.
To cut down the sodium, replace some of the sausage with ground turkey (remember, it cuts down the fat too), or use less Parmesan cheese.
This dish is unlike many others in that it's high in omega-6's. One serving gives you almost 70% of your daily omega-6 requirement.
Vegetarian Pizza Casserole
Easily make this dish vegetarian by leaving the meat out. You still have a hearty and comforting casserole that tastes just like pizza.