Vegetarian Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti is a vegetable filled marinara sauce with spaghetti noodles and a cottage cheese, cream cheese, and Italian cheese mixture, all baked until bubbling! This baked spaghetti casserole recipe is such a family pleaser, and shakes up spaghetti night!
Spaghetti night is always a favorite with our kids. Every time I make spaghetti I say "it's spaghetti night - you know what that means!" and the boys say "we get to eat with our shirts off!" It cracks me up every time I see them, bare chested, gobbling up their spaghetti.
The only downside is that spaghetti can get a little boring sometimes. I love it but I like to shake things up a bit from time to time. Enter: Vegetarian Million Dollar Baked Spaghetti!
This vegetarian baked spaghetti recipe is seriously so, SO good! The recipe starts with a vegetable-filled marinara sauce. I used onion, red bell pepper, and zucchini but you can get creative with this. I think mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, carrots, and kale would all be great additions.
The spaghetti noodles get layered with a cream cheese and cottage cheese mixture, some butter, and then topped with the marinara. It might sound a little strange but trust - it's amazing!
Marinara Sauce - I use Rao's jarred marinara sauce - it's my favorite!
Zucchini - I added zucchini to this recipe to increase the nutrition and bulk up the sauce a bit.
Red Bell Pepper
Shredded Italian Cheese - Italian cheese is usually a combination of mozzarella cheese, Romano, Provolone, asiago, and Parmesan cheese. It's melty and flavorful!
Italian Seasoning - a delicious combination of oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.
To start, you'll want to cook the spaghetti noodles. Since they are also baked, you can cook them to al dente.
While you are waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, you can prepare the rest of the components of the baked spaghetti. First, add the vegetables to a large pan and saute in olive oil until they're softened. This usually takes about 7-10 minutes. Next, add the garlic and Italian seasoning, and cook another minute. Lastly, add the marinara and stir well to combine.
After the marinara sauce is finished, make the cottage cheese mixture. Simply add the cottage cheese, cream cheese, Italian cheese, and Italian seasoning to a bowl and mix well to combine. I used a fork to do this but you could use an electric beater if you want to speed things up a bit.
Finally, you get to assemble everything! First, add half of the spaghetti noodles to the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish. Top the spaghetti noodles with the cottage cheese mixture, spreading it out evenly. Top the cottage cheese mixture with the remaining spaghetti noodles and then evenly lay out slices of butter on top of the noodles.
Lastly, pour the vegetable marinara sauce on top of the buttered noodles and sprinkle with cheese. Bake the whole dish in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, until the cheese is golden and the casserole is bubbling.
I let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it, to let it set up a bit. Serve the dish topped with fresh parsley, and enjoy!