This easy Vegetarian Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole is a comfort food winner. It’s a cross between lasagna and baked spaghetti, it’s packed full of vegetables, but since it features 5 different cheeses you might never know it!
Back in the Groove
So this is the first post I’ve put up in two weeks which makes me SO frustrated. I have some recipes I’ve been working on that I am SO excited to share with you, but time lately has just been in such short supply.
My little one is just shy of walking on his own and is basically only happy if he is teetering around, my hands in his, exploring, developing that skill. I love it, but man he can wear me out!
The into-everything stage is no joke.
Combine that with the fact I took over another instructor’s course mid semester, and my mother developed pneumonia, and our house has just been a whirlwind lately.
This blog, though, is my zen.
When I don’t get to post here regularly, I feel out of sorts.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my students. I LOVE teaching. It rings some of my need-to-be-creative bells. But I have always been a writer. And the thing about blogging here is I get to get some of that creative juice out in a way that is all mine, while at the same time talking about what I am passionate about, which is food, making, food, eating food, and oh yeah, food.
I really am probably such a drag in real life, lol.
It’s like with this recipe I am sharing today – we LOVE it in our house. I believe in eating healthy, but I focus on what I call the fun stuff here on this blog. Comfort foods, cocktails, and dishes that are great for entertaining company with, like this Easy New Orleans Style Eggs Sardou.
They aren’t all every day dishes. I do not eat like this all the time.
But there’s a time and a place you know? And I promise, both you and me, that I am going to find a way to make this work. No more gaps in posting!
Even if it means I’m up til the wee sma’s grading.
So, What IS Million Dollar Spaghetti?
Curious? I was too! It’s basically a cross between baked spaghetti and lasagna. So basically, cheesy, yummy, kid friendly comfort food that will please a crowd. I have seen a number of different recipes for Million Dollar Spaghetti, all of which feature meat. Beef or sausage steal the show. But I wanted to do a vegetarian version, because I love a good pasta bake, or a good vegetarian casserole, once in a while.
And with this much cheese, you wouldn’t want it to be that often!
This Vegetarian Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti Recipe features zucchini and summer squash and mushrooms. However, you could easily change it up for broccoli and cauliflower, kale and carrots, or any combination of vegetables you and your family enjoy.
Likewise, I used five different cheeses in my Vegetarian Million Dollar Spaghetti recipe.
You could use different cheeses, less cheese, or vegan cheese. I’ve seen many versions that suggest using cottage cheese in place of the ricotta. My version calls for mixing ricotta and sour cream, but if you don’t like the sound of that, you could just whisk 1/2 cup of milk with your ricotta and use that as your layer. Or you could use a cashew cheese and Daiya mixture to turn this into a vegan comfort food dish.
In fact, I may do a separate post on way to make this VEGAN and YUM – would you be interested in that? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t feel like making your own sauce?
Omit the canned tomatoes and substitute a jar of ready made sauce. Cut that cooking time down!
My point is, casseroles are not fussy, and this one in particular is so changeable.
You really can’t ruin it, so I encourage you to play with it a little, and make it your own.
Though I also think you can make the recipe as is and everyone will love it.
My family certainly does!
We pair it with a big salad and some crusty bread. We keep the portions under control – because did I mention five different cheese and PASTA?
That said, Vegetarian Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti makes for a brilliant take-to-work lunch.
And you can also freeze leftovers. I like to freeze a serving or two in individual take-to-work containers like these, so that I can pull a container out on a cold day or a day when I just can’t PBandJ it anymore you know?
This dish is super popular with the kids in my life. Which is one of the reasons I like to pack it full of so many vegetables. They’ll eat them in this without even noticing they’re eating them!
Are you interested in turning other dishes vegetarian?
Sign up to be notified when my new e-book about HOW TO TURN ANY RECIPE VEGETARIAN is available here! The New Vegetarian’s Survival Guide will be all about my best tips and tricks to create vegetarian meals so good that your meat eating family and friends won’t even notice there’s something missing!
Vegetarian Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti
This Vegetarian Baked Million Dollar Spaghetti is a cross between baked spaghetti and lasagna. It features five different cheeses, but is packed with vegetables. It's a hearty dish that can easily be made in advance, and will feed a crowd!
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, for sauteing May use more or less as needed
- 1 Large Onion, diced
- 1 Large Poblano Pepper, or two small, diced May also substitute a green bell pepper if you want less heat
- 2 Whole Field Roast Chipotle Vegetarian Sausages, sliced May omit. It's tasty without! May also use Field Roast Italian sausages if your prefer a milder version.
- 1 Cup Zucchini, diced
- 1 Cup Squash, Diced
- 1 Cup Mushrooms, sliced May omit if you don't like mushrooms
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 28 ounce Can of Whole Tomatoes
- 1 14 ounce Can of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 2 Tablespoons Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Basil
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Optional - if you don't like spicy foods, you can omit this.
- 1 Package Spaghetti Noodles, cooked according to package directions
- 8 ounces Shredded Mozzarella
- 8 ounces Ricotta
- 8 ounces Sour Cream
- 8 ounces Mixed Italian Cheeses (I use a blend of parmesean, fontina, and asiago)
In a medium to large pot, saute onions and peppers until they soften.
Add zucchini, squash, and chipotle or Italian veggie sausage if using. Saute until soft, then add mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms release their liquid.
Add fresh minced garlic and saute for no more than one minute.
Add whole tomatoes, tomato paste, and fire roasted tomatoes.
Add salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and crushed red pepper, if using.
Reduce heat to medium low, and let sauce simmer. Stir every few minutes.
While your sauce is simmering, combine sour cream and ricotta in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Set a large pot of boiling water on your stove, and prepare your spaghettin noodles according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After about 20 minutes, or once the tomateos in your sauce have started to break apart you sauce should look sauce like - though you can leave it chunkier if your prefer. Alternatively, you may cook it longer for a thinner sauce.
Toss spaghetti noodles with the sauce.
Layer half of the noodles in the 9x13 pan.
On top of your half, use a spoon and spread the sour cream/ricottta mixture. Then top with half of your mozzarella and mixed cheese blend.
Place the remaining half of your noodles on top of the cheese and sour cream/ricotta layer.
Finish by topping the final layer with your remaining sour cream and ricotta, and your remaining cheeses.
Sprinkle the top with a little more basil and oregano. At this point, the spaghetti can be refrigerated until the next day, or you can put it right into the oven.
Bake at 350 until heated through, and the top is golden brown and bubbly.
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