This recipe looks a bit complicated, but it is actually quite easy. You can even make the cheese sauce in advance to make the casserole come together even faster. Once you have your pasta and lentils cooking, the rest of the dish comes together in a matter of minutes.
Creamy Lentil Bolognese Casserole (from Oh She Glows)
For the Cheese Sauce:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1 1/4 cups peeled and diced yellow or red potatoes
- 1/2 cup peeled and diced carrots
- 2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar, to taste
- Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- Soak the cashews in a bowl of water overnight. Drain and rinse. (For a quick-soak method, bring a small pot of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Add the cashews to the hot water and soak for 30 to 60 minutes. Drain and rinse.)
- Add potatoes and carrots to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Alternatively, you can steam the veggies until cooked through.
- Add all ingredients except hot sauce to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of water. Sample the sauce and adjust seasonings as desired. Add Sriracha (or other hot sauce) as preferred, if you’d like to give the cheese sauce a spicy kick! The sauce will keep for up to one week refrigerated in an airtight container.
For the Casserole:
- 14 ounces fusilli or rotini pasta
- 1.5 cups cooked lentils
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 8-ounce package sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups chunky marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons runny tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 to 2 cups stemmed and finely chopped kale
- Paprika, for garnish
- 1 batch Cheese sauce from above
- Prepare the cheese sauce. While the potatoes and carrots simmer for the cheese sauce, start on steps 3 and 4.
- 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.
- In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of liquid with 1 cup of dry lentils to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a large pot, water saute the onion and garlic over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent.
- 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.
- Add the marinara sauce, drained lentils (make sure to measure out only 1.5 as you will probably have extra), and tahini. Stir until combined.
- Now add the cooked pasta and continue stirring until it’s coated in the lentil-veggie mixture.
- Taste and season with pepper and red pepper flakes (if using) and stir in the kale. Turn off the heat.
- Spoon all of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish and spread it out evenly.
- 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, more herbs, and black pepper, if desired.
- Bake the casserole at 400F uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through.