This Sausage Casserole with Zucchini is a Keto friendly meal that you don’t have to be on Keto to love! It’s ultra cheesy, creamy, loaded with veggies and a must have addition to your recipe box!
Yes. Yes. YESSSS. You know we’re big fans of cheesy dinners in this house. Whether it be Parmesan Crusted Fish, Cheesy Chicken Parmesan or Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese, there are never any complaints when cheese is involved. And when there are TWO cheeses involved (yeah, that’s right!), there reeeeally aren’t any complaints. This Sausage Casserole with Zucchini is the ultimate cheese lover’s dream. Not only does it have cream cheese which makes it creamy AF but it also has cheddar cheese both mixed into the filling AND on top. I mean, can it get any better than that?!
Casseroles, in my mind, are filed under the fun and easy dinner category. They’re so customizable that you can basically turn almost anything into one! Philly Cheesesteak Casserole, anyone?! They’re just as good on holidays and for feeding large crowds as they are for busy weeknights with just the fam. You can normally prep ’em ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it in the oven when the hungry mouths come a-callin’. And sometimes, like this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini, you can easily ‘hide’ a whole whack of veggies all up in there if you’ve got some picky eaters on your hands. That’s if they like cheese, of course! 😉
This Sausage Casserole with Zucchini remains one of my favourite Keto dinners to date. Firstly, it’s just loaded with Keto favs like bacon and cheese. And secondly, it’s a winner with EVERYONE whether or not they even know what the Keto diet is. This Low Carb dinner can and will be enjoyed by all!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE SAUSAGE CASSEROLE WITH ZUCCHINI
The ingredients for this Sausage Casserole are simple and easy to find ingredients you shouldn’t have any problem getting your hands on. Let’s discuss them in a little bit more detail down below:
- Italian Sausage: The flavourful base and bulk of our Sausage Casserole with Zucchini. You can use mild, medium or hot Italian sausage depending on your preference. If you can find one that is already out of the casing, go for it. If not, you can easily remove the casing yourself (photos and instructions in the recipe card down below). If you don’t have any Italian sausage kickin’ around, you can always substitute any other ground meat in its place. Ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey all make great options. However, if you use anything other than Italian sausage, add a tablespoon of Italian seasoning as you brown it (therefore, you’ll need an additional one as per what the recipe calls for). Italian sausage already has these flavours mixed into it. If you choose to use a different meat, you’ll lose all those pre-existing flavours!
- Zucchini: The other star of the show in this easy Sausage Casserole dish. Adds texture and nutrition as zucchini is loaded with valuable nutrients such as Vitamins C and A.
- Cream Cheese: Adds a creamy and delicious element to the dish.
- Cheddar Cheese: Responsible for the ooey-gooey, melted deliciousness in this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini. Freshly grated cheddar cheese works best in this recipe as opposed to the pre-shredded stuff. However, you can use a different cheese instead, if you prefer. Mozzarella, provolone or monterey jack all make great alternatives.
- Bacon: Adds a crispy, salty element to the casserole. The bacon grease replaces the need for any oil and is used throughout the recipe to maximize on flavour.
- Red Pepper: Adds texture and flavour. You can use green, yellow or orange bell pepper instead, if you prefer.
- Onions: Add flavour. White onion works best in this recipe.
- Green Onions: Add flavour (and yes, green onions have a different flavour profile than white onions). We sauté the white parts with the rest of the veggies for the filling. While the green parts are a garnish for the final dish providing that perfect crunchy freshness.
- Garlic: You know me and garlic. It goes good with everything and makes anything taste better so I always gotta add some in! If you don’t have any fresh garlic on hand, use a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead of the 2 fresh cloves.
- Italian Seasoning: The perfect way to add a boost of flavour while only using one spice. Italian seasoning is a blend of Earthy flavourful spices such as basil, rosemary and thyme. It adds the perfect touch to this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini.
- Parsley: Optional but adds a pop of colour and herby freshness to the final dish. Therefore, fresh chopped parsley works best in this recipe.
HOW TO MAKE SAUSAGE CASSEROLE WITH ZUCCHINI (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this Keto friendly Zucchini Sausage Casserole in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind for this recipe:
- Use a large casserole dish (preferably one that is at least 9×13) as there is a ton of filling to go inside.
- Feel free to cut the veggies however big or small you want. If you’re trying to “hide” them in this casserole to trick those picky eaters, simply cut them into smaller pieces so you can easily cover them with the meat and cheese. If you’re not worried about that, then I recommend cutting them into medium size pieces as it’s always nice to see and taste what’s in the dish.
- Don’t let removing sausage from its casing scare you! It’s easy as can be! Use a paper towel to help you hold your grip while pushing the meat out of the casing. Things can get slippery and become pretty hard to get the meat out without the strong grip of the paper towel.
- Precook the bacon, Italian sausage and the veggies before adding them to the casserole dish to ensure everything is properly cooked through. Once this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini hits the oven, our goal is to just melt the cheese and soften the veggies a bit. EXTRA TIP: Cook the bacon first. That way, you have that beautiful grease that’ll replace the need for any oil in this recipe while adding a ton of flavour!
- Soften the cream cheese and cut it into cubes for easier melting. You’ll have to stir the cream cheese into the meat and veggies so having it as soft as possible makes this task waaay easier to accomplish. I normally stir everything together directly in the casserole dish although I must admit that it can get pretty tricky (and messy!) to do if you don’t have much patience. To make things easier to mix, you can always do it in a large bowl and then transfer it to the dish when it’s all mixed up and ready to go. But who needs more dishes?! You really want to make sure to break down those cubes of cream cheese. Use the back of the spoon to help you. EXTRA TIP: Make sure you combine the casserole ingredients super well before you top it with the shredded cheddar and pop it in the oven. You won’t get another chance to stir it so make the first one count!
- Use good quality cheddar cheese that you shred yourself instead of the pre-shredded, bagged versions you can find at the grocery store. Those ones tend to contain an anti-caking agent which in turn doesn’t allow the cheese to melt properly. We want bubbbbly, ooey, gooey melted cheese for best results!
- Place a few toothpicks upright in the final dish before covering it with foil and baking. The toothpicks will prevent the foil from touching the cheese as it melts in the oven. A trick I learned from my mama and one I use very often!
- Let this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini rest for 5-10 minutes directly out of the oven. The ingredients will have a chance to settle making it way easier to cut it into proper slices and serve. EXTRA TIP: You might notice that there is a bunch of liquid at the bottom of the dish when you remove the pieces. I like to call this Liquid Gold! Simply scoop as much of it as you can onto the plates with the slices orrrrrr finger it directly into your piehole when no one is looking!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No, I don’t recommend putting raw sausages in this casserole as you mix it in with the veggies and cheese before baking. Pre-cooking it is best for food safety and will ensure that it’s properly cooked through before coming into contact with any of the other ingredients. The purpose of baking the casserole is to melt the cheese and soften the veggies a bit – not to cook the sausage.
For this Sausage Casserole with Zucchini, I love the herby freshness that comes from chopped parsley and the crunch and freshness that comes from sliced green onions or chives. However, feel free to add whatever herbs you want either in addition to or in replace of the parsley and chives. Fresh chopped basil, thyme and cilantro all make great alternatives.
In the actual casserole, I love using sliced zucchini, diced bell pepper, onions and garlic. However, feel free to mix it up and add your favourite veggies or the ones you need to get rid of hiding at the back of the fridge! This Sausage Casserole would also be great with other veg! Broccoli, cauliflower or carrots all make great additions.
If you’re wondering what veg to serve with this Sausage Casserole, try my simple oven roasted Cauliflower or Broccoli, Sautéed Spinach with Garlic, Air Fryer Spaghetti Squash or Creamy Mashed Turnips.
If stored in an airtight container, this Zucchini Sausage Casserole will last up to 4 days in the fridge. The cheeses and juices will harden as it sits. Simply reheat it in the oven or a microwave to get it back to its original melty state before eating.
YES! You can easily pop this Italian Sausage Casserole in the freezer for a future delicious meal. Simply follow the instructions in the recipe card down below up to the point of baking. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and put it in the freezer where it’ll keep for about 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight then follow the cooking instructions when ready to eat. RECIPE NOTE: You may have to add a few minutes to the overall cook time to ensure that everything is properly heated through.
- 4 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 1 227g bar Cream Cheese, softened and cut into cubes
- 2 pounds Italian Sausage (mild, medium or hot)
- 5 slices Bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1 pound Zucchini (~1 large or 2 medium), cut into half moons or chunks
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 Red Pepper, diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- Half Bunch Green Onions, sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Remove the sausages from their casing. Starting from the middle of the sausage should allow you to easily push the meat through on either side and into a bowl. Once you push one side out, use a paper towel to help you grip onto the casing and push the remaining sausage meat out with your fingers. Repeat with all the sausages then set aside until ready to use.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mostly crisp and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon keeping the grease behind. Then spoon out some of the grease (but don't throw it away) until only about a tablespoon remains in the pan.
- To the skillet, add the onions, red pepper and white parts of the green onions. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Then add the garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant, an additional 30 seconds or so.
- Add the zucchini, a tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease and Italian seasoning and cook until the zucchini starts to get soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Grease a 9x13 casserole dish with some bacon grease then pour in the veggie mixture. Top with the cubed cream cheese then put a piece of foil over it. The steam will help melt the cheese a bit while you cook the sausages.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining bacon grease along with the Italian sausage. Use the back of a spatula to break it up. Cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Drain off the excess grease.
- Pour the hot sausage over the cream cheese and veggies, spreading it out evenly over top. Place the foil back on and allow it to sit for a minute or two so that the heat from the sausages can help melt the cream cheese.
- Add the bacon and half the cheddar cheese then use a spoon to carefully stir all of the ingredients together directly in the casserole dish. You really want to make sure to break down those cubes of cream cheese. Use the back of the spoon to help you. Be patient and go slow as there is a lot of filling and it could get a little messy/difficult to do. Alternatively, you can mix everything up in a bowl and then transfer it to the dish if you find that to be easier. But why dirty extra dishes?!
- Top with the remaining cheddar cheese. Pop a few toothpicks upright in the dish (to prevent the foil from sticking to the cheese). Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Take the foil off and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is niiiicely melted and bubbly. Remove it from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and the sliced green onions. Cut into pieces and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1030Total Fat: 83gSaturated Fat: 39gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 208mgSodium: 1900mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 53g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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