Italian Lentil Vegetarian Casserole
An easy vegetarian casserole baked with Italian flavors. Layers of lentils, veggies, and tomato sauce bake together with melty cheese for an easy weeknight meal.
I wasn’t sure what to call this recipe, as it was invented by my daughter Leila when she was about 7. Sometimes we call it Leila’s Pizza Lentil Bake? This easy veggie casserole is like an Italian version of our Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. And since lentil dishes like our Lentil Loaf, Instant Pot Lentil Soup, Mediterranean Lentil Salad, and creamy Vegan Lentil Soup have been favorites here, we wanted to share!
This Italian lentil casserole is one of our go-to easy weeknight meals that can be made with whatever veggies you have in the fridge. And it’s easy enough for a 10-year old to make on her own. It has those great Italian flavors like in our favorite Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Vegan Lasagna or Homemade Pizza. Here’s how to make it, courtesy of my daughter Leila.
Italian Lentil Bake Ingredients
For this easy vegetarian casserole you’ll need:
- Lentils. We usually use Trader Joe’s vacuum packed cooked lentils but you can learn all about cooking lentils here.
- Sauce. Again, since this is a quick and easy recipe we often use store-bought marinara. However, this simple Pomodoro Sauce using canned tomatoes is perfect, or you can make a big pot of Fresh Tomato Marinara in the summer.
- Veggies. Feel free to use what you’ve got. Our favorites include diced zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach.
- Cheese. Mozzarella, Parmesan, or any Italian blend. There are many plant-based alternatives that work well too, such as Miyoko’s Fresh Mozzarella or Parmela.
- Herbs for finishing. Fresh basil, parsley, oregano are our favorites.
How to Make this Italian Lentil Casserole
Fill the bottom of a casserole dish with the cooked lentils. We often use an 8-inch square dish. Then top with a layer of your favorite veggies.
Cover with a layer of sauce, then sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until bubbly and the veggies are tender.
Italian Lentil Casserole Tips
- Serve warm topped with fresh herbs and with a plant-based Caesar Salad and the best Garlic Bread on the side.
- Feel free to assemble early in the day and refrigerate until ready to bake.
- Make individual portions by assembling and baking in ramekins.
- 2 1/2 cups cooked green or brown lentils*
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 cup sliced baby Bella or button mushrooms
- 2 cups homemade or store bought pomodoro or marinara sauce
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Italian cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Place cooked lentils into a medium sized casserole dish (we often use an 8-inch square dish).
- Top with the veggies, then tomato sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake until bubbly and cheese has melted, about 20-30 minutes. Cover with foil if the cheese gets too brown before the casserole is hot and veggies have cooked.
*Be sure to use French, green, or brown lentils, as red lentils would not work in this recipe. We use the vacuum packed steamed lentils from Trader Joe's. Learn all about how to cook lentils here.
Vegan option: use a plant based cheese such as Miyoko's, Parmela's Creamery, etc.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 14gSugar: 11gProtein: 25g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.