Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole + Celebrating 9 years!!

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 10, 2017

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-15

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole

 

Oh She Glows just celebrated her 9th birthday! Can you believe it? I know, I know, where is the cake? I didn’t plan this very well, did I? I promise you today’s recipe is a keeper even if it’s not covered in frosting. Do you think cheese-covered will do the trick?!

Many moons ago, in October 2008, Eric looked at me and said, “Ange, you need a hobby!” I was hunched in front of my computer poring over research. We’d just returned from our honeymoon, and I was already stressing out over all the catch-up work that was waiting for me at home.

At the time, I was a master’s student wrapping up my thesis while working full-time as a researcher. To say I was feeling burned out is an understatement. I definitely hadn’t been making time for fun. When Eric asked me what hobbies I had, I honestly couldn’t think of anything outside my daily gym sessions. “I’m not sure if working out counts….” he’d say. My only downtime was a weekly night out at a local bar—hardly restorative, though it did feel that way briefly! So I took Eric’s advice (a rare occurrence, he says), and that same week hit publish on my very first Oh She Glows blog post!

This blog became a place for me to have fun, explore, write my heart out, try new things, and just get out of “research mode” for a bit. Still, I expected that I would blog for a couple weeks and grow tired of it, but I tapped into something that had been hiding deep below the surface for many, many years…my creativity! OH, HELLO. I couldn’t recall the last time I had really allowed my creative self to flourish. Once I’d awoken the creative beast inside, there was no stopping me. (Eric, did you have any idea what you’d be getting yourself into?!)

Soon it became clear that my unsuspecting hobby had grown into a full-fledged passion. I found the courage to write about my journey with disordered eating and how I was working on a positive relationship with food. By practicing every day, I taught myself how to cook and photograph my food (so I could inspire you to make it too!), and eventually became confident enough to experiment with my own recipes. Nine years later, one of my favourite things to do is cook and try new things in the kitchen. I always joke that I rarely follow my own recipes because I have too much fun playing around with them, and so they’ll often turn out differently each time. To me, that’s when it gets really fun! That said, there are some recipes I like to follow to a T…like my favourite cookies. I take my treats very seriously. Bahaha.

So, thanks Eric, for seeing all those years ago that I needed to give myself some time for creativity. I can’t imagine my life without this space, and all of you. The connections and friendships I’ve made through Oh She Glows have been the happiest surprise of all.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Taste Canada’s annual Awards Gala, where I was honoured to receive two gold awards for food writing (one for Health and Special Diets Cookbook of the year for my latest cookbook, Oh She Glows Every Day, and a second recognizing Oh She Glows as best Health and Special Diets Food Blog 2017). Thinking back over the past 9 years, it all feels surreal. I had so many inspiring conversations and left that evening even more grateful for this community and what I do.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me. Here’s to discovering new hobbies, chasing dreams, and, hopefully, another 9 years!!

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-9

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-10

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-12

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-14

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-6

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-5

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-2

4.9 from 20 reviews
Print

Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole

Vegan, soy-free

By

Our family is in love with this cheesy, creamy, and hearty casserole! Traditional bolognese is made with a meat-based sauce, but my version uses lentils and mushrooms for a high fibre, immune-boosting twist. It’s great served with a simple salad of marinated greens (for a quick homemade dressing, try my Shake-and-Go Balsamic Vinaigrette from Oh She Glows Every Day), sautéed kale, or my Crowd-Pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad and some crusty fresh bread. Divine! Here are some time-saving tips: if you’re looking for a head-start on meal prep, the cheese sauce can be made a couple days in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. You can also prepare the entire casserole in advance: simply follow the recipe through step #9 (stop before baking!), wrap it up, refrigerate, and then cook as-is one to two days later as directed in step #10. Imagine coming home to this casserole ready to bake at the end of a long day! Nothing is better. This recipe is adapted from my Fusilli Lentil-Mushroom Bolognese in Oh She Glows Every Day.

Yield
8 servings
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch All-Purpose Cheese Sauce
  • 14 ounces (400 g) fusilli or rotini pasta (about 4 1/2 cups dry pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced (about 2 cups/280 g)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8-ounce/255 g) package sliced cremini mushrooms*
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano**
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil**
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme**
  • 3 cups (750 mL) chunky marinara sauce***
  • One (14-ounce/398 mL) can lentils, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) runny tahini
  • 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cups (40 to 80 g) stemmed and finely chopped kale (optional)
  • Paprika, for garnish
  • Cashew-Garlic Parmesan, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Oil a very large casserole dish (approx. 10" x 14") and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce. While the potatoes and carrots simmer for the cheese sauce, start on steps 3 and 4.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Be sure not to overcook it. Drain and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven or pot (about 5 quarts), add the oil, onion, and garlic. Stir and add a pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent.
  5. Stir in the mushrooms, oregano, basil, and thyme, and cook for another 7 to 9 minutes over medium-high heat until the water cooks off.
  6. Add the marinara sauce, drained lentils, and tahini. Stir until combined. Now add the cooked pasta and continue stirring until it’s coated in the lentil-veggie mixture.
  7. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir in the kale, if desired. Turn off the heat.
  8. Spoon all of the pasta mixture into the prepared casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
  9. Pour the cheese sauce over top and spread it out with the back of a spoon until it covers the entire surface. Garnish with paprika (it adds a beautiful pop of red), more herbs, and black pepper, if desired.
  10. Bake the casserole uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. (If you’re baking the casserole straight from the fridge, bake it for 25 to 30 minutes as it’ll take longer to heat up). Serve immediately with a generous sprinkle of Cashew-Garlic Parmesan on top of each portion. Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The leftovers are just as delicious chilled!

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 8 servings | Calories 430 calories | Total Fat 13 grams
Saturated Fat 1.5 grams | Sodium Fat 620 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 59 grams
Fiber 2 grams | Sugar 7 grams | Protein 16 grams

Nutritional info does not use optional garnishes.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

* If your sliced mushrooms are on the thicker side, dice them up before adding to the pot—they’ll cook faster. The same is true if you’re using whole mushrooms: the smaller you slice them the quicker they’ll cook. If you are a big mushroom fan like I am, you may want to consider doubling the amount listed above.

 

** If using fresh herbs, measure 2 teaspoons (10 g) of each.

 

*** If the casserole is going to sit in the fridge for a couple days before you cook it, feel free to stir in an extra 1/2 (125 mL) to 3/4 cup (180 mL) of marinara sauce. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but helps counteract any moisture loss while sitting in the fridge.

 

Make it gluten-free: use gluten-free pasta and cook as directed.

 

Make it kid-friendly: process the mushrooms in a food processor until minced. The mushrooms will be virtually undetectable, but your meal will still retain their immune boosting benefits!

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-3

cheesylentilbolognesecasserole-16

You can also find this casserole recipe (including the cheese sauce and vegan parmesan) in The Oh She Glows Recipe App (iOS and Android). Happy cooking!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

Previous Posts

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

Page 2 of 2«12
Victoria November 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Made this recipe this past Saturday for dinner and it was a big hit!!!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 20, 2017 at 8:08 pm

Hey Victoria, That’s great news! Thank you for letting me know. :)

Reply

Ariane November 21, 2017 at 4:33 am
Recipe Rating:

My boyfriend and I really liked the recipe! I minced the mushrooms because I am not so fond of them and my boyfriend (nor I myself) detected them.
I did have trouble not eating all the cheese sauce before it was time to put it on.
Maybe I should make a double batch of it next time.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 22, 2017 at 9:26 am

haha I’ve definitely considered making a double batch too! Glad I’m not alone. I’m happy to hear the mushroom mincing technique worked for you both too!

Reply

Anne-Marie Noreau November 21, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Hi ! Congrats ! I have all your recipee books i can say that 75% of the food i cook for my family comes from you !

Can you put this in the freezer?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

Thank you so much Anne-Marie!

My recipe tester Nicole has said that she has frozen it successfully. I haven’t tried it yet myself.

Reply

Charlene November 23, 2017 at 2:31 am

Happy ninth anniversary!!!!!!! Love your recipes!!! They are great. I can’t wait to try the lentil bolognese casserole. It looks awesome

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 23, 2017 at 7:47 am

Thank you so much Charlene!

Reply

Lynn November 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Wow, 9 years, congratulations. I LOVE all your recipes and of course have your books. I have given them as gifts as well and they have been well received and loved. I am going to try this recipe this weekend for a Grey Cup get together. See how the meat lovers like it!!! So good that you are following your dream, Angela. Keep up your amazing work as a wife, mother and recipe blogger and author:)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm

I’m so touched by your sweet words, Lynn! Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. I really appreciate it, and the fact that you’ve so generously gifted my books to loved ones in your life.

Reply

Courtney November 24, 2017 at 4:21 am

Crazy it’s been 9 years. You were the first blog I started following when I went vegan 7 years ago! I love it !!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 24, 2017 at 8:05 am

Courtney, I’m so happy to hear that you’ve been reading for so long! Thanks so much for the congrats, too.

Reply

Roberta Gullage November 26, 2017 at 9:34 am
Recipe Rating:

Awesome recipe, turned out great. Reminded me and my husband of goulash we ate as children. A comfort food and easy to make! Thank-you for sharing!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 28, 2017 at 8:05 am

Hi Roberta, So happy you tried this out and loved it! Thanks for your review :)

Reply

Scarlett November 27, 2017 at 7:06 pm
Recipe Rating:

Every single recipe is on point. Made this ahead of time as another dish as the for post-Thanksgiving leftovers ran low. You are so thoughtful in your descriptions. Adding the extra marinara as it would be a couple days before it was able to cook. You’re amazing and you’ve made life as a vegan so delicious.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 28, 2017 at 7:56 am

Scarlett, I can’t tell you how much this means to me to read! I spend so much time writing the recipes, so it’s really awesome that you’ve benefited so much from the tips. This tip in particular was actually suggested by my recipe tester Nicole! She’s great. :)

Reply

Sara December 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm
Recipe Rating:

This recipe is de-li-cious!
Just had people over for dinner and we tripled the recipe and made your caesar salad with it for extra decadence. Dinner was a success and there is no leftover!!
I made your cheese sauce also for a potluck to go over a chili and let me tell you, it was a hit! I have made it also with extra potatoes, carrots and liquid for the same base ingredients to make the sauce go a longer way (read here, there is never enough cheese sauce!) and it still tastes so cheesy and good!
I keep telling people to go check your app and your blog. Your recipes are always on point and totally my jam. I hope you keep doing this work for a long time, it is appreciated and your food is making a lot of people happy!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2017 at 8:14 am

Hey Sara, I can’t thank you enough for your kind words of encouragement! I’m so flattered, and grateful for your support!
Awesome to hear this recipe was such a hit too. I love to serve it with my Caesar salad too…such a great pairing!

Reply

VeggyMalta December 20, 2017 at 3:50 pm
Recipe Rating:

Great food advise… this Cheesy lentil bolognese casserole is fantastic… inspirational to other bloggers like myself, will advise my readers on http://www.veggymalta.com about this recipe. Thanks

Reply

Christy December 22, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Going to make this but I’m not clear about what “runny tahini” is. Is that just a sauce made from tahini?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 22, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Hey Christy, So happy you’re going to try it out! By “runny tahini” I just mean not to use the dry/hard stuff that’s often lurking at the bottom of the jar. If it’s a bit runny it’ll just mix into the sauce more evenly. Does this help at all? I hope you enjoy it!

Reply

Sarah Walker December 22, 2017 at 7:22 pm

SO proud of you Angela! I remember reading some of your first posts. Is it weird that I’m still sometimes randomly sad I can’t just order Glo Bars anymore? It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, maybe since the blogger birthday party you had at your house in… 2011? 2012? Congrats on all your successes! I’m going to try this recipe out next week, maybe my husband won’t notice the mushrooms if I run them through the food processor first 😂

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 23, 2017 at 7:39 am

Oh Sarah, your note just made my day! It’s SO nice to hear from you and yes it’s been years! We need to fix that! haha.
Totally laughed at your husband and mushroom comment…not too long ago, I would’ve been doing that for Eric too. I finally wore him down with mushrooms though! I hope you guys love it if you try out the casserole.

Reply

Michaela December 30, 2017 at 6:03 am

Is this freezable? I’m trying to prep frozen meals for when my baby arrives. Bake first, then freeze? Done bake first? How to cook from frozen?
Thank you!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 2, 2018 at 8:48 am

Hey Michaela, I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I do have some baked leftovers in my freezer which I plan on thawing in the fridge overnight and then reheating in a skillet with extra marinara sauce.

Reply

Caitlin January 2, 2018 at 10:42 am
Recipe Rating:

Angela, I’ve been reading since the beginning, and am so thrilled with the success that you (and Eric, and the kids!) have created for yourselves! My Dad decided two years ago to go vegan in the interest of his personal health, and OSG and your cookbooks were the first place I sent him. He made this casserole for Christmas Eve dinner this year, and even my meat-loving husband was still raving about it just yesterday! Thank you for all that you do; your light and positivity definitely “glow” through your work. Best wishes in the new year!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

Aww Caitlin, thank you!! I can’t believe you’ve been reading since the beginning…that’s so cool! I really appreciate your support and kind words. :) And how fantastic to hear about your dad’s vegan journey too. Please send him my high fives! I’m so happy this casserole was such a hit. All the best to you and your family in 2018!

Reply

Margaret January 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Recipe Rating:

This is even better than mac’n cheese, as much as I love that stuff!! This is now my new go to dish. We loved it!!!! There is just something so filling and complete about this creation. I used zucchini (had no mushrooms) Prego traditional sauce and cooked my own lentils. What a great way to incorporate lentils in such a great dish, and pasta at that!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm

Hey Margaret, I’m so happy to hear how much you love this dish. I agree with you about it feeling so complete! Casseroles can be so great for that. I popped some leftovers into the freezer last week, so I’m eager to see how it thaws and reheats.

Reply

Magda January 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm

I only have a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Do you think it will overflow?

Thank you!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2018 at 2:41 pm

Hey Magda, It’ll be tight, but if you slightly heap the noodles near the middle you might be able to get away with it!

Reply

Alexandra January 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm

So so so good!!! Perfect cozy casserole for these super chilly days. My 1 year old is a huge fan but I couldn’t hide those mushrooms from my 5 year old…can’t win em all 😂.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2018 at 2:26 pm

haha too funny…they are smart!! So glad you enjoyed it :)

Reply

Mindy January 12, 2018 at 8:10 pm

I made this recipe for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Even the “picky” eaters in my family liked it :-)

I really enjoy your blog and have both of your cookbooks as well, every recipe that I have tried so far has been a winner. Thanks for sharing so many terrific plant based recipes!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 13, 2018 at 9:56 am

Hey Mindy, I’m so glad to hear you’re loving the recipes so far! Thank you for the cookbook and blog support. :)
And great to hear this recipe was a winner!! I find it wins over the picky eaters more often than not.

Reply

Lili January 15, 2018 at 2:24 am
Recipe Rating:

The BEST vegan dish I have made so far! Awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing. This will be my go-to dish for potlucks and dinner guests from now on. 5+++ ⭐️

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:31 am

Whohoo, thank you Lili!!! I’m thrilled you love it so much. It’s one of my new go-to’s as well. Love that make-ahead option.

Reply

Katie January 28, 2018 at 6:46 pm

Really excited to make this one. I love to think of excuses to make the all-purpose cheese–its incredible! Happy anniversary–I’ve been following your blog for at least 7 years now. I have both of your cookbooks and make your recipes constantly. Thanks for all you do!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

Aww thank you for the love Katie! So honoured you’ve been following for so long, and thank you for supporting my books too!

Reply

Anne February 21, 2018 at 4:10 pm
Recipe Rating:

This was delicious! My nearly 3 year old son went back for seconds. My 8 month old sucked on a few pieces of pasta. My husband went back for thirds! It it such a “comfort” recipe and really hit the spot. We use your All Purpose Cheese sauce all the time. In fact, we’re planning my son’s birthday party where we’ll be serving nacho’s. My husband suggested we just provide the All Purpose Cheese sauce an no “traditional” cheese sauce because it is so good. Thank you!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) February 25, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Hey Anne, Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m so happy to hear that the casserole went over so well. :) And I love your husband’s idea about serving the cheese sauce with nachos. Have you seen my newest recipe for them? Might serve as a little inspiration! http://ohsheglows.com/2018/01/30/cheerful-vegan-nachos/

Reply

Holly Keyes February 28, 2018 at 3:56 pm
Recipe Rating:

We made this for dinner last night and really enjoyed it. The “cheese” sauce isn’t cheesy per se but it does add a nice dimension to the dish. We really enjoyed the sauce free version in the book and are glad we made the sauce and baked the pasta. We will definitely make this one again.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) February 28, 2018 at 9:27 pm

Hey Holly, So glad you tried this one out and enjoyed it! Thanks so much for the feedback :)

Reply

Becky A March 2, 2018 at 7:49 pm

Is there another vegetable that would work other than mushrooms? My husband doesn’t like them.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) March 3, 2018 at 7:38 am

Hey Becky, Hmm mushrooms is a tricky one to replace, but you could try leaving them out and increasing the onion and lentil quantities a bit?

Reply

Briana March 11, 2018 at 6:24 pm
Recipe Rating:

This recipe is amazing. It tastes like cheese, I used baby bellas and it tastes so amazing. I’d highly recommend putting in the time to make this!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) March 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

Hey Briana, I love that you used baby bellas…good swap for sure! I will have to try it. Thanks for your review :)

Reply

imgrum March 27, 2018 at 2:28 am

It sounds so good and not hard to cook for me! Thank you for sharing the recipe! That vegan cheese sauce is so amazing!!

Reply

Molly April 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm
Recipe Rating:

This is another great recipe from you, thank you. Forgive me if this sounds critical; I don’t mean to be snarky! But I think 2 pictures of each recipe would be sufficient.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 4, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Thanks Molly…I’m so glad you loved it! And no worries about the photo comment. I know multiple images aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Reply

Alyssa April 23, 2018 at 5:29 pm
Recipe Rating:

This recipe is LEGIT. I subbed half of the pasta with broccoli and cauliflower because having more veggies is never a bad thing.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 24, 2018 at 6:28 am

Such a great idea!! So glad you love it Alyssa :)

Reply

Margot May 31, 2018 at 7:26 pm

Hi Angela — do you think there’s a way to make this recipe using dry lentils instead of canned?
Thanks!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) June 2, 2018 at 11:21 am

Hey Margot, I think you could but I think you’d have to cook them separately beforehand. If subbing pre-cooked lentils I would use around 1 3/4 cups cooked lentils. Hope this helps!

Reply

Diana Moran June 11, 2018 at 11:14 pm

I have loved every recipe I have ever made off this site. It’s almost perfect in every way but it would be even more wonderful if each recipe included nutritional info:)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) June 13, 2018 at 8:09 am

Hey Diana, Thank you so much…that makes me so happy to hear. :) We’re actually in the process of trying out a nutritional software to calculation info for my recipes. Stay tuned :)

Reply

Emi July 3, 2018 at 8:32 am
Recipe Rating:

Love all your recipes lined up with the photos!

Reply

Richard De Wolf July 10, 2018 at 11:58 pm

With the title “she” and the baby stories mixed in, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. But as the cook in the house and recently finding out I have kidney disease, (I leave out the sodium) I always feel positive cooking one of your recipes. I’m not 100% vegan or vegetarian, but this is how I eat most of the time. Great recipes and photos. I’ll pick up your book next time I’m at Powell’s in Portland. Thanks

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm

haha Richard your comment made me laugh! I’m glad the title and baby stories didn’t scare you away. I promise it’s for everyone! And I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying the recipes so much.

Reply

christine verduzco August 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm

I was going to make this recipe but the ingredient list doesn’t say “carrots and potatoes” but in the directions, “while the carrots and potatoes simmer”…but what is the quantity? I’m also puzzled, I don’t see carrots and potatoes in the photos.
Clarify please?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) August 9, 2018 at 7:05 am

Hi Christine, The carrots and potatoes is referring to the all-purpose cheese sauce recipe. I hope this helps! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: