Pizza and Breadstick Casserole

Man, I love it when you guys send me recipes! Have I mentioned that? Just like Wednesday’s doozy, this is another recipe emailed to me. Erin G. sent me this recipe wondering how I would change it up to fit my style and knowing her family loved the concept, I was excited to try it.

I swapped out the refrigerated breadsticks for the simple, homemade breadsticks we love and made a few other minor modifications. The lovely thing about this casserole is that it is highly adaptable to whatever you have on hand or what produce is in season, so go forward knowing that you can make this your own in many ways and it will be delicious no matter what (well, let’s rephrase slightly – don’t go doing anything crazy like trying out fish eggs for the first time but if you keep it within the bounds of normalcy, I think you’ll be alright).

The premise is simple – a hearty, tomato-based filling is stuffed with morsels of chicken sausage, vegetables and savory spices and topped with tender, divine breadsticks. Oh, and did I mention cheese? There’s cheese. And just like it makes the world a better place overall, cheese definitely makes this casserole better. Hot, bubbly, delicious and perfect for the fall weather (is it just me or is the coldness starting altogether too soon – of course we do live in Northern, Northern, Northern Minnesota now and I’ve heard tell that winter starts mighty early in these parts).

Pizza and Breadstick Casserole

What To ServeClassic Marinara Sauce for dipping extra breadsticks
Honey Lime Fruit Salad or seasonal fruit of choice
Massaged Kale and Craisin Salad with Feta Cheese

One Year Ago: Walnut Chocolate Chip Blondies {Applebee’s Knock-off Recipe}
Two Years Ago: Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Pasta
Three Years Ago: Kalua Pork

Breadstick and Pizza Casserole

Yield: Serves 6-8

Breadstick and Pizza Casserole

Note: This recipe is really adaptable for filling ingredients. If zucchini aren't in season, sub easily with another type of vegetable (corn, winter squash, green beans, etc.). The meat can also easily be subbed with ground beef or turkey, pepperoni, cooked chicken, etc. Even though this recipe only uses 1/2 of this homemade breadstick recipe, I make the full batch and bake the other half of the dough as normal breadsticks because seriously, who doesn't want extra breadsticks hanging around?

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, green, red or yellow
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into rounds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 9-12 ounces fully cooked chicken or turkey sausages, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 recipe homemade breadstick dough (see note above)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9X13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and diced pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the pepper is tender. Add the zucchini and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until just tender. Stir in the drained tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken sausage, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the liquid is somewhat reduced. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and stir into the mixture. Spoon half of the sauce mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over the top. Spoon the other half of the sauce over the top of the cheese and sprinkle another 1/2 cup mozzarella over the top. Arrange bread sticks in a lattice pattern (see pictures below) over the sauce, trimming to fit, if necessary. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and mozzarella on top.
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the breadsticks are golden brown and cooked through and the filling is hot and bubbly. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/breadstick-and-pizza-casserole/

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe sent to me by Erin G, a MKC reader

31 Responses to Breadstick and Pizza Casserole

  1. Kim in MD says:

    Pizza casserole, where have you been all of my life? My children could eat pizza every night, and I know they will love this dish! I love that you made homemade breadsticks, Mel (of course you would!), and I agree that you can adapt this casserole using whatever ingredients you love on your pizza.

    It’s gotten really chilly here, too. The mornings are in the 50′s but then warming to around 70 degrees each day with is lovely. I hear that Minnesota winters are brutal. I hope it’s not as bad as I hear it is! :-)

  2. A great twist on traditional pizza! Doesn´t matter how you get there as long as you get there, right? Have a great weekend Mel! And try to be warm…

  3. HollyH says:

    Gotta try this one! Who are the clever people who come up with ideas like this?????

  4. twisterfish says:

    Yum! Another recipe to add to my “must make soon” list.

  5. Erin G says:

    Yeah! So glad you liked it! =)

  6. kate C. says:

    Oh boy! A year in northern, northern, northern Minnesota is pretty much 85% winter, 5% fall, 5% spring, and 5% mosquito season! Good luck!!! It is beautiful though, and as my husband keeps telling me (he wants to move farther north) as global warming kicks in, it will get warmer up there! :)

  7. Jess in ND says:

    Pioneer Woman has nothing on you. Go girl!

  8. Denise says:

    Do you think it would be okay to use fresh tomatoes in place of canned? I have tomatoes coming out of my ears~ If so, how many tomatoes would/should I use?

  9. Jackie Gonzales says:

    This looks great!! I think my family would love it. This fall is really starting out cold…last year at this time it was still in the 80′s! The one thing you can ALWAYS count on with MN weather is that you can NEVER count on it :) I’ve heard this winter may be a tough one…just don’t let it scare you off!!!

  10. Rachel says:

    Oh, my goodness! My family will love this! I always make a full recipe of breadsticks and do half with Parmesan, etc. and half with butter, cinnamon, and sugar-kind of like cinnamon rolls-and pop them in the oven when we start eating dinner! Then we’ve got dessert totally covered just in time! Thanks for all the great recipes! (By the way, my husband served his mission in Minnesota, and while he loved how beautiful it was, he seriously has scars on his knuckles from knocking doors! Good luck, and try to stay warm!)

  11. Mel says:

    Denise – sure, fresh tomatoes should work. Make sure you get most of the liquid out and I’d probably use about 3 cups.

  12. Georgia says:

    This looks SO good! But, how could I make this vegetarian? Would it be boring if I left the chicken out?

  13. Um, yes! I could totally call that dinner!

  14. Jenna says:

    Love. We’re making our way through a bunch of different ideas/recipes for homemade pizzas on Fridays that we’re home. This just went our list. Thank you!

  15. Vicky says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Something about the zucchini gave me doubts! And I wondered whether it would be an acceptable pizza-night adjustment for my husband who takes his pizza night pretty seriously. But it was great! I cut it in half and subbed pepperoni for the sausage and everyone loved it. Even my 4- & 5-year-olds gobbled it up without one complaint about the zucchini, which is nothing short of a miracle. I realized after dinner that, when I halved the recipe, I forgot to halve the bread stick topping, but it was still great and my husband says to do that every time.

  16. Mel says:

    Georgia – sure, you could leave the chicken sausage out. I’d probably amp up the veggies and add something else along with the other ingredients (are you a tofu eater? that would be good here, I think).

  17. cara says:

    This looks fabulous! I love your recipes, your blog is one that I always recommend to others, lol! This is on my menu for this week…

    P.S. Welcome to Minnesota! We live in central Mn:)

  18. I’m just in LOVE with this idea and can’t wait to try it!

  19. [...] cheese soup, pumpkin muffins, tomato and cucumber salad (I have lots of tomatoes) Friday: Breadstick and pizza casserole, salad Saturday: Possibly camping…… Sunday: Sandwiches, popcorn, brownies Monday: Wild [...]

  20. Emily says:

    This was very good, and I love how many vegetables it has in it. It was also super fun to make!

  21. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Just finished devouring it! I used mild Italian sausage as the meat which was really tasty. I just started following your blog and plan to continue to do so!

  22. Georgia says:

    Does this make good leftovers? Most likely making this weekend! Yay! Love your recipes :)

  23. Emily says:

    Do we need to let the breadstick dough rise 30 minutes in the fridge?

  24. Mel says:

    Emily – I’m not sure what you mean. I make the breadstick dough per the recipe and use it after it has gone through the 10 minute rest but the breadsticks don’t need to rise after you put them on top of the casserole. Does that help?

  25. Mel says:

    Georgia – the breadsticks might get a little bit moist upon refrigerating but my husband ate the leftovers with nary a complaint. I’m not a super huge fan of bread that gets wet in texture so I left the leftovers to him. :)

  26. Georgia says:

    Made this and it was devine! Love, love, love your recipes. Thank you so much :). Subbed mushrooms for the meat, but other than that followed to a T. Did not refrigerate over night, and was great the next day.

  27. Sarah says:

    So…this is amazing!! My husband rated this a 10, and he never rates my dinners a 10. Thank you!

  28. Erin G says:

    Hi Mel – I’m trying to stock my freezer up with casseroles before my third arrives next month. What’s your feeling on freezing this one? I’m not sure how the uncooked breadsticks will hold up as well as the zucchini and tomatoes. Maybe it will all just turn to mush?!? Thanks for your advice!

    • Mel says:

      Erin – hmmm, I’m not sure about freezing this one. I think it *could* work but there’s also a chance the breadsticks could get awfully soggy.

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