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Hall Family Roman Holiday Casserole with Lentils

This hearty pasta and lentil casserole features stewed tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion and a dairy-free cheese sauce. It’s my vegan take on a family recipe for Roman Holiday that has been passed down through the generations.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword casserole, dairy-free, gluten free, lentils, pasta, roman holiday, vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 498kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE VEGAN CHEESE SAUCE

  • 1 ¾ cup peeled and chopped yellow or gold potatoes (chopped into small pieces of similar size)
  • 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon turmeric

FOR THE CASSEROLE

  • 12 oz. gluten-free elbow macaroni (I used Jovial brand brown rice elbows; if you are not gluten-free you can use traditional elbow pasta)
  • ¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • fine sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can brown or green lentils, drained and rinsed (Alternatively, you can use a 16 oz. bag of plain pre-cooked brown or green lentils, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen; be sure to use the original blend with onion or garlic, celery and bell pepper)
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce

Instructions

FOR THE VEGAN CHEESE SAUCE

  • Add potatoes and carrots to a 2-qt. pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil and cook until tender (approximately 10-12 minutes).
  • While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, add nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, olive oil, lemon juice and water to a high-powered blender. 
  • Blend on high, until the ingredients are well-incorporated and the sauce is smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Keep in the blender until ready to use.

FOR THE CASSEROLE

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Par-cook the pasta in a 5- or 6-qt. pot for *4 minutes less than the package directs.
  • While the pasta is cooking, warm vegetable broth in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste and saute until tender and most or all of the liquid has dissipated, stirring frequently (approximately 10-12 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the lentils. Set aside until ready to use.
  • When the pasta is done, drain in a colander. While the pasta is draining, add the stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Use 1 cup of the stewed tomato/tomato sauce mixture to line the bottom of a 9" x 13" casserole dish.
  • Add the lentil and veggie mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Then, stir in the pasta.
  • Give the cheese a quick blend again on high for about 15 seconds. Reserve ½ cup of cheese sauce and add the rest to the pasta mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to the casserole dish. Top with the reserved cheese sauce and spread around. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Video

Notes

*Regarding cooking the pasta: If the package's cooking time is 12 minutes, cook the pasta for 8 minutes. If the package gives a range, such as 9-11 minutes, use the average and subtract 4 (so in this case, the pasta would cook for 6 minutes).
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. As it sits, the pasta will absorb the cheese sauce and tomato sauce. Therefore, you may need to mix in some additional tomato sauce when reheating leftovers. To reheat, microwave individual portions in a covered microwave-safe dish in 30-second intervals.
The cheese sauce in this recipe was adapted from my vegan cheese sauce.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. Accuracy is not guaranteed. Information shown should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Nutrition

Calories: 498kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fiber: 13g