Breadstick and Pizza Casserole

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

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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)

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.

Notes:

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?

All images and text ©.

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