Calling all pasta aficionados because we have an idea — a brilliant idea — on how to take something as fantabulous as pasta and make it even more amazing than it already is. Yeah, we know. How do you make pasta even better? Well, we’ll tell you how: you take that pasta, put it in a baking dish, and bake it. Like Cinderella getting a fancy new gown to attend the Prince’s ball, you can take your already fabulous pasta dish and make it 100 times better. Not to mention, hearty, carby casseroles are just about the perfect fall dish. Sprinkle some vegan cheese shreds mixed with bread crumbs (gluten-free, grain-free … whichever is your culinary jam) and you can take it to the next level.
So, before you go out there and get baking — stop. We’ve gone and gathered 15 of the best recipes that would move seamlessly from regular pasta dish to warm, bubbly, and comforting casserole.
1. Cheesy Cashew Cream Pasta
This Cheesy Cashew Cream Pasta tastes indulgent but is actually great for you! The complex carbohydrates will supply you with long-lasting energy, and the cashew cream is a great cheese alternative. Its creamy texture makes it perfect for throwing it into a baking dish and turning it into a casserole.
2. Pesto Gnocchi With Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Mmm, gnocchi … who doesn’t want a big bowl of Pesto Gnocchi With Olives and Sun-Dried Tomatoes? Not many people, that’s for sure — especially if you make it into a casserole with a slightly crisp top. You can make your own gnocchi at home or take a shortcut and buy your own from the store. We won’t tell anyone, though!
3. Pasta Puttanesca
Pasta Puttanesca without anchovies is pretty much pasta in just another tomato sauce because let’s face it: the anchovies give the sauce that rich saltiness and that sea-like flavor that defines this dish. But this dish provides perfect solution for the anchovy dilemma — a combination of seaweed and tamari. The seaweed adds the ocean-y flavor that’s so integral to pasta puttanesca, and the tamari adds that equally important deep, salty richness. We could eat a casserole of this every day.
4. Rigatoni With Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce
Butternut squash really is the perfect fall food. Not only is it versatile and comforting but it just happens to be beautifully hued, doesn’t it? This Rigatoni With Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Sauce showcases all of squash’s best features, including its lovely color! The sauce is rich and velvety, and the wilted kale adds a nice bite, making this the perfect candidate for casserole-ifying.
5. Chipotle Cauliflower Penne
Chipotle peppers, roasted cauliflower, garlic, lemon, and capers… this Chipotle Cauliflower Penne is so flavorful, you won’t even miss the cheese … but if you bake it as a casserole, feel free to top it with vegan cheese shreds. Simple and easy to throw together, this pasta dish is a great midweek dinner that is easily packed for lunch the next day. Quick, wholesome, and flavorful – sounds like a winner to us!
6. Tortellini With Cream and Wild Mushroom Sauce
This Tortellini With Cream and Wild Mushroom Sauce pulls out all the stops. Yummy vegan tortellini, dairy-free cream sauce, smoky tempeh bacon, savory wild mushrooms, and a topping of vegan Parmesan. It’s the perfect dinner for Sunday night with the family, gatherings with friends, or even parties, if you make it in bulk. Baked as a casserole, we imagine that it tastes like a dream.
7. Easy Mushroom Stroganoff
This Easy Mushroom Stroganoff will never disappoint. White Button mushrooms are sautéed with onion, garlic, and a splash of white wine and savory sauces. Vegetable broth is slowly poured over the mushrooms once they are tender, followed by flour to create a gravy sauce. You have the option of either stirring the pasta into the pan or dishing out the pasta and topping it with the stroganoff. Either way you do it, a garnish of fresh herbs is a must.
8. Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni With Shiitake Bacon
Say “hello” to the perfect fall pasta dish: Pumpkin Sage Rigatoni With Shiitake Bacon. Not only does it taste delicious, but the aesthetic appeal of this dish just screams fall. Creamy pumpkin sauce, hearty pasta, kale, and smoky Shiitake bacon — everything blends seamlessly together and gives both a savory and sweet flavor profile. As a casserole, it could be anybody’s trademark dish for fall.
9. Cauliflower Alfredo
This Cauliflower Alfredo is comfort food bliss. Rich, creamy, and full of flavor, it’s like a sophisticated mac and cheese. The sauce gets its robust flavor from a combination of cauliflower and potato with fresh onion and garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and various seasonings. Serve this over whatever pasta you like, with fresh greens mixed in.
10. Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta
This Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta is a rich and nourishing dish, full of flavor and goodness. Vibrant red tomatoes and bell peppers are combined with roasted garlic, spring onions, and dried herbs of your choice into a smooth and savory sauce. Serve this easy dish on busy days, topped with nutritional yeast, black pepper, and fresh basil.
11. Pesto Pappardelle With Artichoke and Chickpea Meatballs
Take a moment to imagine this Pesto Pappardelle With Artichoke and Chickpea Meatballs as a casserole. Light, yet deeply flavored artichoke and chickpea meatballs are served with pasta tossed in a homemade pesto packed with fresh herbs and greens. Seared artichoke hearts and chopped fresh tomatoes complete the dish. This recipe is one of those “fooled ya” recipes. It looks expensive and fancy, but it is comprised primarily of pantry staples. You’ll have gourmet pasta in no time!
12. Pumpkin Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil
This colorful Pumpkin Pasta With Tomatoes and Basil is ready in less than half an hour, so it’s great for quick weeknight dinners! Creamy pumpkin combines with tomato and basil to create a dish that anybody would want to throw into a casserole dish and bake. Once it’s done, top with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds for crunch!
13. Artichoke and Shiitake Pasta With Butternut Tomato Sauce
There’s nothing better than a creamy, luscious pasta dish for lunch or dinner when you’re just craving some carby goodness and that’s exactly what this Artichoke and Shiitake Pasta With Butternut Tomato Sauce is. That’s not to say that it has to be totally unhealthy for you, though! Filled with butternut squash, hearty Shiitake mushrooms, and a thick non-dairy cream to give it body, this will fill you up with nutrients as well as flavor. What are you waiting for? Turn this masterpiece into a casserole.
14. Toasted Mushroom Macaroni
If you’re a fan of the ‘shrooms, this Toasted Mushroom Macaroni is something that you’ll want to try! Healthy whole wheat macaroni, toasted for extra flavor, mushrooms simmered in white wine, and a scoop of cashew cream to finish things off! Best of all, you can make this all in one pan, then transfer to a baking dish to enjoy it as a casserole.
15. Creamy Artichoke Pasta Shells
How yummy do these Creamy Artichoke Pasta Shells look? Roasted artichoke hearts are sprinkled with sea salt, stirred through cashew cream, and then spooned in to al dente pasta shells in this delicious and unique pasta entrée. They’re creamy, flavorful, and without heavy cheese or cream, they are relatively light. Put it in a baking dish, drizzle with as much tomato and basil pasta sauce as you like, then bake! Bam. Welcome to casserole city.
Now that we’ve thoroughly wowed you, it’s time to get cooking! Which dish are you going to make first?
Lead image source: Toasted Mushroom Macaroni