Vegan Pasta Bake

A pan of creamy, hearty comfort food – this Vegan Pasta Bake is an exciting twist on baked pasta. It has mushrooms, kale, a creamy butternut squash sauce, no cheese, is gluten free and of course vegan!

Vegan Pasta Bake in Skillet with raw ingredients

Gluten Free Chickapea Pasta

After the gluten free Pesto Pasta Skillet I am partnering with Chickapea again to bring you a gluten free and vegan recipe today.

Unlike some other gluten free products that are full of unpronounceable ingredients, Chickapea pasta is made of only 2(!) ingredients – namely organic chickpeas and lentils. They come in shell, spiral and penne varieties.

And Chickapea pasta is delicious and quick to cook. Combine it with your favorite pasta sauce for an easy meal or turn it into this vegetarian pasta bake.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Pasta Bake

Do you need to boil pasta for pasta bake?

I am all for shortcuts and making things easier around the kitchen. But let me tell you that unless you are using special no boil pasta, pre-cooking the noodles for a baked pasta dish is a step you don’t want to skip.

Take this from someone who has had crunchy noodles in a pasta casserole before. It wasn’t a very pleasant texture.

So yes, pre-boil the pasta but you want to seriously undercook it. With this Chickapea pasta I’ve found 3-4 minutes to be perfect.

At that point the pasta will only just start to soften. Give them a quick rinse under cold water at this point. This will stop the cooking process and will also make the pasta less sticky/clumpy.

Once you combine the precooked noodles with sauce and veggies they will continue to cook to perfection in the oven.

Healthy Pasta Bake with cream vegan sauce being poured on

How to make creamy vegan pasta sauce

Making creamy vegan pasta sauce requires a little trickery. Since actual cream is out of the question, I rely on the help of vegetables to create that creamy texture and flavor.

Inspired by my vegan cauliflower alfredo I made a butternut squash pasta sauce for this casserole. Butternut squash is a delicious seasonal vegetable that turns into creamy magic when cooked and blended.

It also looks like a mac and cheese sauce. So I fully embraced that by adding nutritional yeast to the sauce for some vegan ‘cheesiness’.

Caramelized onion and garlic give it some depth and rich sweetness, while a little turmeric enhances the yellow color of the sauce.

Chickpea Pasta Casserole in skillet

Pasta bake without cheese

A cheesy topping seems almost inevitable for a baked pasta dish, and of course you could sprinkle shredded vegan cheese over the top of this vegetable pasta bake.

But breadcrumbs are another popular casserole topping and they are inherently vegan already. Choose gluten free breadcrumbs to keep this recipe gluten free.

If you don’t stock gluten free breadcrumbs, they are really easy to make yourself. Simply toast a slice of gluten free bread and grate on the side of a box grater. Use the side with bigger holes for coarse breadcrumbs.

I combined the breadcrumbs with a little more nutritional yeast for a little more cheesy flavor, but that is totally optional. Once I spread the breadcrumb topping over the pasta, I gave it a quick drizzle of olive oil.

This makes the breadcrumbs extra crunchy during baking, which is a great texture contrast to the rest of the dish.

Gluten Free Vegan Pasta Bake in a bowl

More tips for this Vegan Pasta Casserole Recipe

  • I like to save on dishes by using my cast iron pan – first for caramelizing the onion, then sautéing the mushrooms and kale, and finally to combine everything in there to bake in the oven. If you don’t have a cast iron pan or other oven-safe pan you can of course use a separate casserole dish to bake everything in.
  • Caramelizing the onion and garlic may seem like it would take forever (~20 minutes), but it’s so worth it for that rich roasted and sweet flavor and totally hands off. While the onions caramelize you can pre-boil the pasta, cook the butternut squash and chop and prep everything else in this recipe.
  • Any leftover pasta bake can easily be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop on low heat with a touch of water added to the pan.

Hands holding Vegan Pasta Bake in a bowl

Video: How to make Vegan Pasta Bake

Thank you to Regina of Leelalicious for another creative dish with our pasta.  For more tasty recipes from Regina check out her Facebook and Instagram feeds!

Loving Vegan, Gluten-Free Pasta Recipes? 

5 from 12 votes
Vegan Pasta Bake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

A pan of creamy, hearty comfort food – this Vegan Pasta Bake is an exciting twist on baked pasta. It has mushrooms, kale, a creamy butternut squash sauce, no cheese, is gluten free and of course vegan!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: vegan pasta bake
Servings: 6
Author: Regina Braun
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, divided (2 sliced, 3 minced)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided (more for drizzling)
  • 4 cups butternut squash, cubed (one small squash)
  • 8 cups salted water
  • 8 ounces Chickapea pasta
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 cups sliced mixed mushrooms
  • 5 cups curly kale, loosely packed bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp coarse gluten free breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp basil ribbons
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic slices and sauté covered on low heat until caramelized (about 20 minutes).

  2. In the meantime bring a large saucepan with at least 2 liters (8 cups) of salted water to a boil. Add the butternut squash cubes until fork-tender (7-10 minutes). Transfer the butternut squash to a blender with a slotted spoon while reserving the water.
  3. Bring the salted water back to a boil and add the Chickapea pasta. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes until just starting to soften. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and set aside.

  4. By now the onion and garlic should be caramelized. Transfer them to the blender with the butternut squash cubes. Add almond milk, vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, salt, turmeric, and black pepper. Blend until smooth and set aside.

  5. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Heat the other tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Sauté the sliced mushrooms until they start to brown and release water
  6. Add the minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a minute. Add the kale, close with a lid and steam on low for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid and take the pan off the heat. Add the cooked pasta and blended sauce. Stir to combine.
  8. Combine the breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast. Sprinkle the mixture over the pasta bake, then drizzle a little olive oil over top.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Top with basil ribbons after baking.

Recipe Notes

I used an oven safe 10-inch cast iron pan for this stove-to-oven recipe. Alternatively, you can also combine all ingredients in a casserole dish at the end

 

Easy, nutritious, gluten-free weeknight dinner with chickpea/lentil pasta. #veganpasta #glutenfreepasta #chickpeapasta #plantbasedpasta #plantbasedprotein

24 Comments
  • Trish
    Posted at 17:52h, 28 September Reply

    Could there a more perfect fall meal for my family? Healthy, fiber filled, and loaded with veggies!

  • Lauren Kirchmaier
    Posted at 10:41h, 28 September Reply

    This looks fantastic! Love that it’s a full vegan meal with protein and veg!!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 07:00h, 28 September Reply

    This looks incredible! It’s hard to find a good vegan recipe with a decent amount of protein, but with the help of Chickapea Regina made that happen!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 10:15h, 03 October Reply

      Thanks Sarah! We love our protein!

  • sarah
    Posted at 03:41h, 28 September Reply

    Just looking at these pictures is making me hungry! I made a similar type thing last week with Chickapea and it was so good – I bet this recipe is even better too! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 10:18h, 03 October Reply

      Glad to hear it Sarah! What was your recipe? yum

  • Tania Sheff
    Posted at 21:33h, 27 September Reply

    Pasta Bake just got healthier and tastier! Love this recipe!

  • Michelle Miller
    Posted at 20:26h, 27 September Reply

    So so delicious! Kale, mushrooms, butternut squash — all scream fall!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 10:19h, 03 October Reply

      Right! Love the fall veggies!!

  • marcie
    Posted at 19:10h, 27 September Reply

    That butternut squash sauce sounds perfect for that hearty, healthy Chickapea Pasta!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 20:56h, 27 September Reply

      We love the combo too, Marcie. So great for fall!

  • Kristen
    Posted at 17:49h, 27 September Reply

    This is such a great recipe! I love how creamy it is without having any dairy in it. Amazing!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 20:56h, 27 September Reply

      Such a tasty and easy sauce, Kristen!

  • Dana
    Posted at 17:45h, 27 September Reply

    I want to attack that entire skillet! So in love with every little aspect of this dish: the healthy creaminess, the mushrooms, and the nutty, wholesome pasta.

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 20:57h, 27 September Reply

      We love the earthy flavor of the kale and mushrooms with these fabulous flavors, Dana!

  • Izzy
    Posted at 16:25h, 27 September Reply

    I love creamy butternut squash sauce with pasta! And so many other delicious veggies in there too!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 10:19h, 03 October Reply

      Us too! Nothing like fall veggies any way you can have them!

  • Erin @ The Almond Eater
    Posted at 13:01h, 27 September Reply

    I love that it’s gluten free AND vegan-friendly!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 14:09h, 27 September Reply

      And don’t forget delicious! 🙂

  • Natasha
    Posted at 12:11h, 27 September Reply

    I love a good vegan pasta recipe… and baked is even better.

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 14:09h, 27 September Reply

      Our pasta bakes up so wonderfully too! So glad you like this, Natasha!

    • Lauren Kirchmaier
      Posted at 10:42h, 28 September Reply

      AGREED!

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