It’s a very adaptable recipe too, you could make it into a lasagna, layering pasta sheets instead of the one layer of penne, you can change the filling, using different vegetables and sauces, and you can experiment with different protein sources too, such as beans or vegan sausage chunks instead of lentils or soy mince. Make it how you like :-)
This meal can easily be made gluten-free, is kid-friendly and will even appease meat-eaters, making it an all-round perfect meal for family week night dinners!
Bolognese Pasta Bake
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup soy mince or canned lentils
- 1 cup chopped mixed vegetables I used a mixture of Mediterranean vegetables
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 300 ml / 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
- 350 g penne pasta can use gluten-free, if needed
Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F.
Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onions on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, vegetables and mince or lentils and cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and herbs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet's instructions.
To make the cheezy Bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, stir in the flour until the mixture thickens and looks like dough. Increase to a medium-high heat and slowly add in the milk a bit at a time, whisking to ensure there are no lumps. Once thick and smooth, remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, onion powder and salt and pepper.
To assemble the pasta bake, mix the cooked pasta in with the sauce and transfer to a 20 x 30cm dish (or use 2 smaller dishes, like I did) and then top with the Bechamel sauce.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the top is nicely golden. Serve and enjoy!
This dish can be chilled or frozen to cook at a later date. Simply prepare the dish and chill/freeze instead of putting in the oven. Make sure it's fully defrosted before reheating.