butternut squash kale quinoa bake

Photo: Dana Shultz

Another Reason to Love the Tiny Little Superseed
This simple quinoa bake, from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking, by Dana Shultz, is packed with vibrant produce yet still delivers that warm, wintry, comfort-food vibe. You cook quinoa in vegetable broth to give the seeds rich flavor, and the dish gets a woodsy, earthy taste from roasted butternut squash and mushrooms. Dark green kale brings even more nutrition and a burst of color.

Get the recipe: Butternut Squash, Kale and Quinoa Bake
comfort pot pies

Photo: Andrew Purcell

A Revised Rendition of Everyone's Favorite Savory Pie
These potpies, made with a hearty mix of mushrooms, barley and white beans, are just as delicious as the traditional chicken version—but won't leave you in a food coma. You top each one with phyllo dough, which is a quicker, flakier and lighter alternative to the usual butter-heavy dough.

Get the recipe: Vegetable-Barley Potpies
sesame eggs

Photo: Leann Mueller

The Rice Dish with Unexpected Flavor
We don't often see traditional Asian ingredients in casseroles, yet they come together just as beautifully in the oven as they do in the more traditional stove-top method of cooking. This flavorful dish starts with a layer of cooked brown rice. Next comes a tasty combination of sautéed Swiss chard, onion and ginger mixed with coconut milk, soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. On top of that, you crack eggs and bake just until the whites are set; when they come out of the oven, the bright yellow yolks look stunning against the greens.

Get the recipe: Sesame Baked Eggs
Polenta feta bake

Photo: Tara Fisher

A Twist on Deep-Dish Pizza (Minus the Grease)
Ground polenta—aka corn grits—is an underutilized secret weapon for busy cooks. Long a staple in southern Italy and the American South, it's cheap and wildly versatile, and the uncooked version will keep in the pantry or refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a year. In this flavorful recipe from Georgina Fuggle's Take One Pot, you cook the grain until it thickens into a soft cake, and then top it with thinly sliced mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and crumbled feta. Under the broiler, the tomato skins burst, the mushroom wilts and the cheese melts; the results are savory and tangy.

Get the recipe: Polenta Bake with Tomato, Feta and Mushrooms
Lunch Lady Doris's Spicy Mac and Cheese

Photo: Thinkstock

A Mac 'n' Cheese with Some Heft (and Pep)
This version of the traditional pasta-and-cheese casserole includes colorful and good-for-you broccoli florets and sun-dried tomatoes; a rich medley of cheddar, Gruyère and Gouda; and just a touch of cayenne. The grown-up additions turn a simple comfort food into a gourmet delight.

Get the recipe: Lunch Lady Doris's Spicy Mac and Cheese
Spinach and Risotto Casserole

Photo: Thinkstock

A Risotto with a Salad's Worth of Greens
You could call it a lazy woman's risotto—but this cheesy Italian entrée or side is a lot quicker to make and just as tasty as the classic Arborio rice dish (plus, it has a healthy dose of leafy greens). After sautéing an onion, the grains, wine and vegetable broth, you stir in 2 cups of spinach and grated Parmesan, and then transfer everything to a baking dish. Slide it into the oven, and 35 minutes later you've got a hot and bubbly meal.

Get the recipe: Spinach and Risotto Casserole
Veggie lasagna

Photo: Thinkstock

The Garden Lasagna (That's So Not Garden Variety)
A handful of spinach leaves does not a vegetarian lasagna make—which is why this take, exploding with veggies, is so wonderful. It's made with two eggplants, six zucchini, five portobello mushrooms and two red onions. Plus, the recipe has an additional healthy twist, suggesting cottage cheese instead of ricotta.

Get the recipe: Vegetarian Lasagna
Penne Pasta Quattro Formaggi with Butternut Squash and Sage

Photo: Paige Green

The Reason We Cannot Resist Butternut Squash and Sage
Butternut squash and sage are a tried-and-true pairing; together, they deliver rich flavor that rivals that of sausage or smoked meat. This recipe has you mix roasted cubes of the winter vegetable with penne pasta and a sauce made from Fontina, blue cheese, Pecorino Romano and Parmesan. A sage-bread-crumbs topping adds delightful texture.

Get the recipe: Penne Pasta Quattro Formaggi with Butternut Squash and Sage
Zucchini casserole

Photo: Ron Manville

A Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Bake
Okay, this last one isn't technically a casserole, but it is a one-dish meal that you bake—and it happens to be brimming with fresh zucchini. And although it cooks in a pie dish, the assembly doesn't involve rolling out dough, since the shredded vegetables, eggs, baking mix (such as Bisquick) and cheddar cheese form the crust on their own.

Get the recipe: Savory Zucchini Pie

Next: 7 quick meatless dinners