This vegan pasta bake is the perfect, family favorite weeknight dinner! It’s high in protein from green lentils, made with pantry staple ingredients and perfect to meal prep for the week. Serve it with a side kale salad!
This vegan pasta bake is packed with flavor, protein and so easy to make. It’s completely customizable depending on what you have on hand.
Keep it really simple with just sauce and cheese or get creative with vegan sausage and extra veggies like tomatoes, kale or mushrooms.
It’s perfect for a simple weeknight dinner and can very easily be prepped in advance. If you love this recipe, try my roasted red pepper pasta next!
PASTA. I used brown rice penne to keep this gluten free, but anything goes! Use a bean or legume base pasta for added protein and fiber.
LENTILS. We’ll be mixing some cooked green lentils right into the sauce for extra protein. I do not recommend subbing for another kind of lentil such as red because the texture doesn’t hold up as well.
ONION. Onion and garlic will add a lot of extra flavor to the sauce.
CHEESE. I used VioLife mozzarella and my homemade vegan parmesan. There’s so many options on the market these days, but I love VioLife and Miyokos.
How to make a vegan pasta bake
COOK LENTILS. Cook the lentils according to package instructions and set aside.
COOK PASTA. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, but for 1-2 minute less than usual since we’ll be baking it!
SAUTE. Dice the onion and add to a pan with the oil. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes.
Add in the marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cooked lentils and parmesan. Let simmer or 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Add in the cooked pasta and spinach and stir to combine.
BAKE. Add half to a 9×13 baking dish, top with half of the mozzarella, add the rest of the pasta, then the rest of the cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.
SERVE. Garnish with fresh basil, serve hot & enjoy!
Optional add ins
The great thing about baked pasta dishes is that they are SO customizable. Hate spinach? Leave it out or swap for another veggie!
VEGGIES: I love adding sauteed zucchini, peas, tomatoes or kale. I’m not a big mushroom fan, but if you are, mushrooms would be great in here as well. Honestly, anything works here and you can even make it veggie-free if you’re feeding picky eaters!
Or, use my veggie pasta sauce instead of the marinara so the veggies are hidden right in the sauce.
PROTIN: I added lentils to the sauce a protein boost, but you can also use a bean based pasta as well. Another option is to add some vegan sausage (or regular if you aren’t vegan) and throw that in the mix.
How to serve
Since this vegan pasta bake already has some protein from the lentils, I usually just serve it with a side salad or steamed veggies and call it a day!
If you are not vegan, grilled chicken is a great option as well.
Frequently asked questions
Does it keep?
Yes! Once prepared, this vegan pasta bake will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. I usually store it right in the baking dish. Just let it cool, then cover with foil.
You can reheat it back in the oven or in the microwave.
Can I freeze a vegan pasta bake?
Yes! This is one of my favorite meal prep pasta recipes because it’s freezer friendly. My suggestion is to prep the dish completely but not bake it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then foil, then freeze.
Bake right from frozen until the cheese has melted and enjoy!
What pasta is best?
As far as shape is concerned, I used penne. You often hear about baked ziti, but for whatever reason gluten free pasta shapes are more limited (someone change this please).
I suggest a more sturdy shape such as penne, ziti, rigatoni etc. but you can really use anything. Spaghetti isn’t traditionally used, but even that would work just fine!
Try these pasta recipes next!
Vegan Pasta Bake
by: claire cary
- 12 ounces pasta of choice
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked green lentils
- 1 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teapsoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups spinach
- ½ cup vegan parmesan click for recipe
- 1 ½ cups shredded vegan mozzarella
- Cook the lentils according to package instructions and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions, but for 1-2 minute less than usual since we'll be baking it!
- Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit.
- Dice the onion and add to a pan with the oil. Saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cooked lentils and parmesan.
- Let simmer or 5-10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
- Add in the cooked pasta and spinach and stir to combine.
- Add half to a 9×13 baking dish, top with half of the mozzarella, add the rest of the pasta, then the rest of the cheese.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with fresh basil, serve hot & enjoy!