Creamy Vegan Noodle Casserole

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This vegan noodle casserole is made with veggies, noodles and a creamy sauce, baked to bubbly perfection and topped with a crispy panko breadcrumb coating. A delicious dairy-free comfort food meal that’s infinitely customizable!

A few years ago I tried to develop a recipe for vegan tuna noodle casserole. It was not good. I’ve successfully mimicked the flavor and texture of tuna in dishes like my vegan tuna salad, but in the casserole it was just weird and wrong.

But there were a lot of things I really liked about the dish.

So I decided to keep the good stuff and ditch what I didn’t like. I ended up here, with a simple vegan noodle casserole. On it’s own the dish is comforting and creamy. It’s also VERY kid friendly.

But it’s also customizable! If the prospect of creamy breadcrumb topped veggies and noodles sounds too basic for you, try one of my customizations mentioned below to jazz it up. In my house we enjoyed it plain, doused in hot sauce, and with added vegan sausage. We loved every version.

Jump to:
  • Ingredients You’ll Need
  • How It’s Made
  • Variations
  • Leftovers & Storage
  • More Vegan Casseroles
  • Creamy Vegan Noodle Casserole

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Pasta. The noodles you’ll find in most conventional noodle casseroles contain eggs, so we’re using dried pasta instead (pasta is technically a variety of noodle). I used rotini, but you could also use another small pasta shape like macaroni or mafalda.
  • Raw cashews. It’s important that the cashews are raw (not roasted) in order for the sauce to turn out right. We’ll be soaking them in water and blending them up.
  • Water.
  • Vegan butter. This is sold near the regular butter at most grocery stores. Earth Balance, Melt and Miyoko’s are a few brands to look out for.
  • Button mushrooms.
  • Onion.
  • Carrot.
  • Celery.
  • Garlic.
  • Flour. I’ve only tested the recipe with all-purpose wheat flour, so I can’t say if any other varieties will work.
  • Non-dairy milk. Just about any variety that’s unflavored and unsweetened will work. I used Almond Breeze almond milk.
  • Bouillon. You can use vegetable bouillon cubes or paste. I used Better Than Bouillon in seasoned vegetable flavor.
  • Dried thyme.
  • Lemon juice. Use freshly squeezed juice for the best flavor.
  • Frozen peas.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Panko breadcrumbs.

How It’s Made

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

  • Start by boiling your pasta according to the package directions. Drain in into a colander when it’s done.
  • Blend the cashews. Drain them of their soaking water and give them a rinse, then add them to a blender with some water. Blend until smooth!

Tip: Blending cashews until perfectly smooth can be a challenge if you’re not using a high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. Try blending them first in a small amount of water (¼ to ½ cup), until a smooth paste forms, then add the rest of the water.

  • Heat some vegan butter in a skillet, then add the mushrooms in a relatively even layer. If you can’t fit them all without crowding, cook them in two batches.
  • Cook the mushrooms for about five minutes on each side, until they turn golden brown, then remove them from the skillet.
  • Add some more butter to the skillet, the add diced onion, celery and carrot. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften.
  • Add minced garlic and sprinkle in the flour. Stir everything up well so that the flour coats the vegetables, and continue cooking the mixture for just about a minute.
  • Slowly pour in the non-dairy milk. Add a bit at at time and stir well before adding more. This will help prevent the flour from clumping.
  • Add the cashew mixture, bouillon, and dried thyme. You can also return the mushrooms to the skillet at this point. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  • Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes, until it thickens a bit.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  • Combine the cooked noodles, sauce mixture, and (thawed) frozen peas in a casserole dish. Be sure to give the mixture a taste-test and season it with some salt and pepper if needed at this point.
  • Cover the dish and pop it into the oven. Bake it for about 20 minutes, then uncover it, sprinkle the top with panko breadcrumbs, and bake it for 5 minutes more.
  • Be sure to let the casserole sit for at least 5 minutes when it comes out of the oven. Then you’re ready to serve and enjoy it!


  • Add cheese. Sprinkle a layer of your favorite shredded vegan cheese over the casserole before topping it with panko breadcrumbs.
  • Hot sauce. Spice up your noodle casserole by adding hot sauce to taste to the pasta/sauce mixture before baking. I used Cholula and loved it.
  • Add protein. Add your favorite meat substitute, such as vegan chicken or chopped up sausage links. You could also add seitan or a savory baked tofu like this smoked tofu or this lemon and herb tofu.
  • Vegan tuna casserole. Even though I wasn’t a fan of my totally homemade vegan tuna casserole mentioned above, you could probably make this recipe work with a commercial vegan tuna like Good Catch.
  • Topping variations. Instead of panko breadcrumbs, top your casserole with crushed potato chips or French fried onions.

Leftovers & Storage

Leftover vegan noodle casserole will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

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