Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Bake
All the cheesy, creamy, hearty goodness of a traditional casserole/bake, but completely meat-free and packed with nutrition!
- 7 ounces noodles of choice I use fusili
- 2 cups sweet potato peeled & diced into 1/4" pieces(approx 1/2 lg sweet potato)
- 1 1/2 cups carrots peeled & diced into 1/4" pieces(approx 2 medium carrots)
- 1 cup yellow onion diced into 1/2" pieces(approx 1/2 lg onion)
- 4 clovesg garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium Tamari sub low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 16 oz can tomato paste
- 3/4 cup plain Kite Hill Cream Cheese sub regular cream cheese
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil sub melted coconut oil
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 cans brown lentils Rinse and drain one can & just drain the other
- 3 cups packed grated cheddar cheese
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, then rinse and cool (al dente is a few minutes less than recommended. Should still be a little chewy). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grab a 9.5x13.5x2 casserole dish.
- Chop sweet potato and carrot and place in a sauce pot. Add water to cover then bring to a boil. Once boiling, boil for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Dice onion and mince garlic. Set aside. In small bowl, whisk together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, black pepper and coconut sugar. Set aside. In a high powered blender, puree tamari, tomato pasta, cream cheese and water. Set aside.
- Heat a large wide pot to medium heat and add oil. When oil moves quickly around the pan, add sweet potatoes, carrots and diced onion. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until onions are softened and translucent. You can add splashes of water to the pan as necessary to prevent browning/sticking. The takes about 6-8 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and spice/coconut sugar mixture and stir to incorporate evenly. Cook another 2-3 minutes, again adding splashes of water as necessary, until garlic is softened and fragrant. Add tomato paste/cream cheese mixture, can of diced tomatoes and both cans of lentils. Stir to incorporate evenly, then allow to cook another 5 minutes. Mixture should be thick and bubbling around the edges. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you grate cheese.
- Assemble Casserole: Add 1/2 of your lentil mixture to the bottom and spread in an even layer. Top with 1/2 of your al dente noodles, then 1/2 of your grated cheese. Repeat with remaining goodness. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling around the edges. Note that some of the noodles will get crunchy, which is my favorite part! Optional: Before removing from the oven, broil until some of the cheese turns golden brown on top.