This vegan taco casserole with pasta is a high protein, gluten free meal that is toddler approved and kid friendly! It’s totally going to be come a staple in your family’s routine!
I guess I am very quickly settling into mom-of-two-hood as I have become marginally obsessed with casseroles. I have also been trying to find more ways to integrate more plant based meals that are still toddler and family friendly so this vegan taco casserole totally fit the bill. Who doesn’t like pasta, taco flavours and AVOCADO? Yes please.
What do i need to make this recipe?
This is one of those recipes that sneak a lot of veggies into something that is fully packed with kid-friendly ingredients. To make this vegan taco pasta, you’ll need:
- Chickpea macaroni for extra iron and protein, but you can also use whole wheat
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red and orange bell pepper
- Red onion
- Mild salsa (can make your own if you want a really low sodium option)
- No salt added vegetable broth
- Low sodium taco seasoning
- Veggie ground meat, but you could also make this with cooked ground beef, chicken or turkey
- No salt added black beans
- Sweet corn – I use frozen or canned so its easy
- Vegan cheddar-like cheese (or regular cheddar cheese)
any tips for making this vegan taco casserole?
To make this easy family friendly pasta bake, you’ll want to cook the onions, and bell peppers in an oven proof pan. Set aside, then add the salsa broth and taco and allow to bubble away when you add in the precooked veggie meat. It’s so easy with the precooked veggie meat (like Yves), but you can also of course use other meat that you’ve cooked.
Add the black beans, already cooked veg, pasta and corn and give everything a good toss. I try to keep the heat low at this point so I don’t overcook everything since it still has to go into the oven. I also recommend undercooking the pasta a bit to accommodate for that cooking time, as well. I then like to mix half the cheese into the casserole and put the other half on top. Bake at 400 F until it gets super bubbly and golden brown. SO YUM.
Can I use regular meat if I am not vegan?
For sure. You’ll just need to cook it first, so do that as a separate step or cook it with the veggies so it’s fully cooked when you add it back to the casserole dish. You can also use any kind of cheese if you are vegetarian or eat animal products.
can i use regular whole wheat pasta if we’re not gluten free?
Yes! There is nothing stopping you from using a regular pasta instead of the chickpea pasta that I love so much. I do prefer chickpea pasta in general simply because I love the extra protein and iron (great for little kids too), but hey, use whatever short cut pasta you want and this casserole will be MONEY.
can this casserole be made in advance and frozen as meal-prep?
Yes, and I often to make pasta casserole ahead of time as meal prep. You can let it cool a bit on the counter, then cover in foil and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Ha, you will eat it before then.
do you have any other tasty vegan casserole recipes I can try?
Of course I do! I’m quickly becoming the casserole queen apparently. Here are some of my favourite to compliment this vegan taco casserole!
What is your go-to family friendly casserole that’s also super healthy? Leave me a comment below and let’s share some inspiration!
Vegan Taco Casserole (High Protein, Gluten Free, Family Friendly)
- 5 oz chickpea macaroni cooked according to box instructions
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 650 ml bottle of mild salsa
- ¾ cup no salt added vegetable broth
- 24 g packet low sodium taco seasoning
- 1 x 340 g pack veggie ground meat cooked
- 1 x 19 oz can no salt added black beans rinsed and drained
- 340 ml can sweet corn drained and rinsed
- 3 cups shredded vegan cheddar-like cheese or regular cheddar cheese, divided
- Serve with sliced avocado
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Add the olive oil to a cast-iron or oven proof pan, along with the onion, and bell peppers. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl or plate.
- Return the pot to the heat over medium heat, and add the salsa, broth and taco seasoning. Allow to bubble slightly, then add in the soy meat. Break up into small pieces.
- Add the black beans, cooked vegetables, cooked pasta and corn. Toss everything in the sauce.
- Mix half of the cheese into the mixture, then smooth out the top and add the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese melts and bubbles.
- Serve with sliced avocado and enjoy.
Updated on July 21st, 2020
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.