The Zesty Italian Casserole is a delectable and nutritious dish designed for those adhering to a low-carb lifestyle, particularly those on a keto diet. This savory creation boasts a robust meat layer featuring your choice of ground beef, turkey, or chicken, mingled with aromatic onions, garlic, and an assortment of colorful vegetables such as bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. The amalgamation of flavors is further intensified with a cup of low-sugar, low-carb marinara sauce and a perfect blend of Italian seasoning, bringing a distinctly Italian zest to the dish.
The interplay of textures and tastes doesn’t stop there; the dish is layered with a rich combination of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses, providing a gooey and indulgent cheesy layer that is a hallmark of satisfying casseroles. The crowning glory is a topping mixture made from almond flour, more Parmesan cheese, melted butter, and a dash of Italian seasoning, contributing a delightful crunch and nutty undertone to the final masterpiece.
This culinary symphony unfolds in a 9×9-inch casserole dish, and as the casserole bakes to perfection in the preheated oven, the kitchen is enveloped in the irresistible aroma of Italian spices and melting cheese. Once golden brown and bubbling, the Zesty Italian Casserole is ready to be served, a feast for the senses. Allow it to cool for a few moments before savoring each flavorful bite, and relish in the satisfaction of enjoying a hearty and keto-friendly meal that doesn’t compromise on taste.
Zesty keto Italian Casserole
For the Meat Layer:
- 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option)
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced bell peppers (red and green)
- 1 cup sliced zucchini
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup marinara sauce (make sure it’s low in sugar and carbs)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Cheese Layer:
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Topping:
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large skillet, cook the ground meat over medium heat until browned. Remove any excess fat.
- Add the diced onions and garlic to the skillet with the meat and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add the diced bell peppers, sliced zucchini, and sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the vegetables start to soften.
- Stir in the marinara sauce and Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, grated Parmesan cheese, melted butter, and Italian seasoning to create the topping mixture.
- In a greased 9×9-inch casserole dish, spread half of the meat and vegetable mixture.
- Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the grated Parmesan cheese over the meat layer.
- Add the remaining meat and vegetable mixture on top of the cheese layer.
- Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese over the casserole.
- Finally, evenly distribute the almond flour topping mixture over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the casserole is bubbly, and the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
This Zesty Italian Casserole is a flavorful and satisfying keto-friendly dish that’s perfect for those following a low-carb diet. Enjoy!