Italian-Style Vegetable Casserole Recipe

Are you looking for a wholesome and nutritious casserole that is full of veggies and Italian flavors? Look no further than this Italian-style vegetable casserole. It's truly comfort food at its finest plus it's easy to make too! The entire flavorful and hearty dish is prepared and cooked all in one casserole pan!

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "I'm always looking for one-pot meals that are easy to throw together and taste delicious. This recipe has a variety of hearty veggies along with rice and lentils making it a complete balanced meal. If you want to jazz it up, you can top the casserole with a layer of your cheese of choice for some melty goodness on top or some simple Parmesan."

A nice loaf of sourdough or French bread goes great with this casserole. Read on to learn how to make this easy casserole.

Gather the ingredients for Italian-Style Vegetable Casserole

To make this recipe, we'll need a fair amount of produce. Grab an onion, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, zucchini, and mushrooms, though Hahn mentions you can swap out the vegetables based on what you have on hand. Fresh basil is optional but adds a nice touch when sprinkled overtop the final dish. Then we'll need some white long-grain rice, diced tomatoes, red lentils, and we'll round out the list with some Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. 

"I am using a long grain white rice in this recipe because it will cook a little quicker than the brown varieties, so to keep the timing right for this casserole, go with white instead of brown," Hahn explains.

Prepare the vegetables

Start by preheating the oven to 350 F.

To prepare the vegetables, dice the onion, and mince the garlic. We'll slice the carrots, celery, and mushrooms into thick slices and chop the red pepper and zucchini. 

"I like to cut the vegetables in different sizes so there is some texture variety in the final dish. Some of the softer vegetables, we're going to add in after the heartier vegetables have started cooking to accommodate the size difference," Hahn explains.

Assemble and bake the casserole

Spray a 9x12-inch baking dish with cooking spray to get it ready for our first round of cooking. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, rice, diced tomatoes, boiling water, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. 

"Since rice takes longer to cook in the oven than on the stovetop, I like to use boiling water to save some heat-up time," Hahn remarks. Now go ahead and give everything a good stir and put the dish in the oven, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Add the final ingredients, bake again, and serve

Once the mixture has been cooking for 15 minutes, pull out the baking dish and add the zucchini, mushrooms, and red lentils. Cook for 40 more minutes, stirring at the halfway mark. Since there are many brands of rice and they tend to differ slightly, pull the baking dish out and test the rice to make sure it's done. If it doesn't seem quite done give it 10 to 15 more minutes in the oven and add ½ cup of water if the pan seems dry. 

At that point, the casserole is ready to serve. If you are adding cheese, layer that on top and put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes to melt. Add some fresh basil if desired. Leftovers will last for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge and can be warmed up in the oven or microwave.

Italian-Style Vegetable Casserole Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
This flavorful and hearty Italian-style vegetable casserole is comfort food at its finest. Plus the whole dish is cooked in one casserole pan.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
1
hour
Servings
6
Servings
oval dish with italian casserole
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • ½ cup white long grain rice
  • 1 can (15-ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups boiling water plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ cup red lentils
Optional Ingredients
  • fresh basil slivers
  • shredded cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Slice the carrots and celery into small chunks. Chop the red pepper and zucchini and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Spray a 9x12-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, red pepper, rice, diced tomatoes, boiling water, Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Stir and put into the oven uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Pull the baking dish out of the oven and add the zucchini, mushrooms, and red lentils. Cook for 40 more minutes and check to see if your rice is done. If it still is a little crunchy, remove the dish from the oven and add ½ cup more water if needed and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes. Add a layer of cheese if desired and put it back into the oven to melt. The casserole is ready to serve. Top with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 187
Total Fat 0.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.6 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g
Total Sugars 6.1 g
Sodium 501.4 mg
Protein 9.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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