Vegan Macaroni Casserole

This vegan macaroni casserole recipe is based on a nostalgic dish made with elbow macaroni baked in a cheesy tomato sauce. It uses veggie crumbles, onions, and sweet bell peppers, and is made easy by not pre-boiling the noodles. Follow my tips for easy, vegan, cheesy, deliciousness in each and every bite. Be sure to serve it with some vegan garlic bread.

Vegan Macaroni Casserole is on a white plate with stated broccoli in the background.

I love taking a recipe and veganizing it. That’s what today’s post is all about. I originally saw this recipe for Easy Macaroni Casserole on SkinnyTaste. And I thought to myself, this can be done in a vegan kind of way.

Not only did this recipe kick in my veganista ways, but it also turned on my competitive juices. Ms. Taste was impressed that she was able to get this recipe down to 338 calories per serving. I was pretty sure my vegan version could top that.

Or…not top that. Calories are a little like golf, the lower the score the better!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Veggie crumbles add plant-based protein and a meaty mouth-feel
  • Macaroni noodles are baked to perfection in marinara, meaning you can skip pre-boiling the noodles
  • Topping this casserole with vegan mozzarella shreds adds cheesy goodness to every bite.

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Olive oil — I use plain olive oil, but you can substitute any neutral oil such as avocado oil.
  • Onion — A sweet yellow onion works best, but you can substitute white or red onion.
  • Bell pepper — I prefer the milder flavor of red, yellow, or orange bell peppers.
  • Garlic
  • Diced tomatoes — You’ll need a 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes.
  • Marinara sauce — Choose your favorite dairy-free marinara sauce.
  • Veggie Crumbles — There are many crumbles to choose from these days, including Gardein Beyond Beef and many plant-based meat substitutes, like Impossible Burger and Pure Farmland.
  • Macaroni — I prefer to use whole wheat macaroni for this recipe, but you can use any favorite brand or variety of macaroni noodles.
  • Vegan mozzarella — Our go-to favorites are Follow Your Heart or Daiya.

Ingredient Spotlight

Three bell peppers sit on a white counter. One is red, the other is orange, the the other one is yellow.

Best Peppers for Casseroles

Colorful bell peppers — otherwise referred to as capsicum — are best for casseroles because of their mild flavor.  Green bell peppers actually ripen into red bell peppers. That’s why red, yellow, and orange bell peppers are sweeter and milder than green peppers. Once you’ve cut off the tops and bottoms and removed the seedy center, it’s easier to cut bell peppers with the fleshy side up. That smooth skin on the outside can be tough!

How to Make Easy Macaroni Casserole

It’s so simple to make this baked macaroni casserole recipe.

  1. Cook onions and bell pepper in an oiled skillet until tender. Add chopped garlic.
  2. Add the tomatoes, marinara, and water, and bring this mixture to a boil.
  3. Turn down the heat and stir in the veggie crumbles.
  4. Spoon some of the tomato sauce along the bottom of a baking dish.
  5. Evenly spread the box of uncooked pasta over the top of the sauce.
  6. Pour the rest of the sauce over the uncooked macaroni.
  7. Top the casserole with vegan mozzarella.
  8. Cover with foil, crimping the edges just slightly.
  9. Bake for 50 minutes, use tongs to remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make Vegan Macaroni Casserole:

Step One: Prepare the Sauce

  1. In a large skillet or saucepan, add olive oil, onions, and red pepper.
  2. Cook over medium heat until they’re tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat to low and add the chopped garlic.
  4. Add the tomatoes, marinara, and water, and bring this mixture to a boil.
  5. Turn down the heat and stir in the veggie crumbles.

Note: For a change of pace, substitute this vegetarian pepperoni for the veggie crumbles or add some with the veggie crumbles for a “supreme” flavor.

Step Two: Add Sauce and Pasta to the Baking Dish

A hand reaches in over a casserole dish and uses a utensil to pour pasta sauce into the bottom of the dish.

Spoon just enough of the marinara sauce mixture to cover the bottom of your prepared 9×13 pan.

A hand holds a measuring cup pouring dry noodles over the sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Pour the uncooked pasta over the top of this, spreading it out evenly across the pan.

A hand holds a black spoon, pouring red sauce over noodles in a baking dish.

Pour the rest of that marinara sauce mixture over the uncooked macaroni, being sure to spread it out evenly.

Top the casserole with vegan mozzarella.

A hand is dropping vegan mozzarella shreds over a casserole dish.

Step Three: Bake

  1. Next, cover the casserole dish with foil, crimping the edges slightly to keep the heat inside.
  2. Bake for 50 minutes.
  3. Use tongs to remove the foil, and bake for another 15 minutes or so.
  4. Allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this vegan macaroni casserole with any of the following:

My Easy Vegan Macaroni Casserole comes in at a skinny 296 calories per serving. Not too shabby for a delicious meal…if you ask me!

Recipe Cost Analysis

If you’re curious about costs, I took the ingredient list and did a cost analysis for you. If you think vegan means expensive, this recipe can illustrate that there are inexpensive ways to eat on a vegan diet:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil = 0.32 cents
  • 1 onion = 0.25
  • 1 red pepper = 1.33
  • 3 cloves garlic = 0.24
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes 0.59
  • 2 cups marinara sauce (I used store brand variety) $1.09
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan .50
  • 1 cup bocca crumbles 1.75
  • 2 cups vegan mozzarella $3.50
  • 12 oz box whole wheat macaroni $2.89

Total = $12.46 for the entire recipe. Divided by 8 = $1.56 per serving. Not too bad!

More Italian Recipes

This vegan macaroni casserole is easy and delicious. Here are even more delicious vegan Italian recipes you’ll love!

Give the recipe a try and see if you agree that easy can be soooo good. Be sure to serve it with this Vegan Garlic Bread on the side.

A serving spoon is coming out of a baking dish, showing a spoonful of cheesy vegan dinner!
Vegan Macaroni Casserole is on a white plate with stated broccoli in the background.

Vegan Macaroni Casserole

This vegan macaroni casserole is easy to make and adds cheesy deliciousness to every bite. It's a go-to favorite for weeknight plant-based meals.
5 from 6 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 296kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper optional, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Vegan Ground Crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles
  • 12 oz box of whole wheat macaroni
  • 2 cups vegan mozzarella shredded

Instructions

  • Heat your oven to 375°F and prepare a 9×13 baking dish by giving it a light coating of vegetable spray.
  • In a large skillet or saucepan, add olive oil, onions, and red pepper. Cook over medium heat until they're tender, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add the chopped garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes, marinara, and water, and bring this mixture to a boil. Turn down heat and add the veggie crumbles. Stir to combine.
  • Spoon just enough of the marinara sauce mixture to cover the bottom of your prepared 9×13 pan. Pour the box of uncooked pasta over the top of this, spreading it out evenly across the pan. Now, you simply pour the rest of that marinara sauce mixture over the uncooked macaroni, being sure to spread it out evenly as well.
  • Top the casserole with vegan mozzarella. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil, crimping the edges just slightly to keep the heat inside. Bake for 50 minutes. Then remove the casserole from the oven and keep the foil on the pan for 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recommended Equipment

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Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 795IU | Vitamin C: 29.6mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3.7mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2018 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

20 Responses to Vegan Macaroni Casserole

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJennifer Reply

    5 stars
    Divine! And so easy! I would recommend using a very deep baking dish. There’s a lot of sauce in the beginning before it starts getting absorbed by the pasta. (Mine was overflowing a touch in the oven.) I used a whole wheat Cavatappi pasta, because I didn’t find whole wheat macaroni. I highly recommend Cavatappi!!!! I skipped the red bell pepper. This turned out so much better than I could possibly imagine. Thank you!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you liked this recipe! I’ll add your tip about the Cavatappi to the recipe notes. We love using whole wheat pasta and having a variety of types to use is great too!

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