Deep South Pasta Casserole

deep south casserole

For this recipe, no pasta pre-cooking is required — just throw everything into the casserole dish! I don’t like doing extra dishes, so I love a recipe that keeps things simple. This colourful casserole is full of all the most comforting foods, so don’t feel ashamed if you decide to skip plates… go ahead, just eat it straight out of the pan like a family of raccoons digging in fresh trash.

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Courtesy of Krimsey Lilleth
Krimsey Lilleth

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Preparation time

15 min

Cook time

1 hr 5 min

Total time



  • mains




  • 340g/12 oz tricolour rotini pasta
  • 1 litre/4 cups water
  • 500ml/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (rice milk recommended)
  • 1 x 400g/14½ oz tin/can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice (or use a tin of chopped tomatoes with a pinch of smoked paprika)
  • 1 x 6 oz can tomato paste or 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 330g/1½ cups frozen vegan mince/vegan beef crumbles
  • 1⁄2 small onion, finely diced
  • 1⁄2 red pepper, diced
  • 1⁄2 orange pepper, diced
  • 1⁄2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp hot sauce
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1⁄2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp white pepper
  • 1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1⁄4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 240g/2 cups grated vegan cheddar cheese (divided into 2)
  • 70g/2⁄3 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.
  2. Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish, then toss in the dry pasta. Add all remaining ingredients except 120g/1 cup of the cheese and the breadcrumbs (you’ll need those for topping). Mix and cover with foil. (Note: The pasta mixture will nearly reach the top of the dish; you’ll need to stir it carefully to avoid spilling. If you are prone to mess, you can mix dry pasta and remaining ingredients (except 1 cup of cheese and breadcrumbs) in a large mixing bowl first, and then transfer to baking dish. You’ll dirty an extra bowl, but maybe save yourself from mopping tomato juices off the floor.
  3. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, top with the remaining 120g/1 cup of cheese and breadcrumbs, then bake, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. If you want an extra browned top, set your oven to broil/grill and crisp it up for a few extra minutes.
  5. Let cool 5–10 minutes before serving, then dig in!

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