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Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole {dairy-free}

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This easy and delicious Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole recipe is a family favorite. Flavorful pizza sauce tossed with penne pasta, onion, bell pepper, pepperoni, sliced olives and lots of melted (dairy-free or regular) cheese.

Penne pasta in a creamy tomato sauce topped with melted cheese and sliced olives in a casserole dish.

Alex and I could not stop eating this pasta, it is so good! Some leftovers go into the refrigerator and never see the light of day again, but not this one. Every last noodle got eaten!!

Ingredients needed

Ingredients needed to make cheesy pizza pasta casserole.
  • Penne pasta or favorite shaped pasta is used for the base of this casserole.
  • Thinly sliced onion and bell pepper is sautéed in olive oil before getting mixed together with pizza sauce and cream cheese (dairy-free or regular) to create an amazingly creamy sauce. Thin with cooking water to get the right consistency.
  • Chopped pepperoni slices and sliced olives get tossed in as well before being topped with shredded mozzarella (mine is cashew cheese).
  • Garnish with grated parmesan*, fresh oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
A plastic jar of vegan parmesan cheese.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Looking down on an oval casserole dish filled with cheesy pizza penne pasta recipe topped with sliced olives.

How to make Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole

Boil pasta as per package directions. Drain, reserving 0.5 cup of cooking water, and set aside.

In a skillet, sauté onions and pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat until they are tender. Remove from heat and stir in the pizza sauce and cream cheese. Stir until thoroughly combined.

Sautéed onion and bell pepper slices, pizza sauce and chunks of cream cheese in a large skillet.

Return skillet to the heat and add the drained noodles, pepperoni and olive slices. Stir in reserved cooking water as needed to thin sauce.

Cooked penne pasta, slices of pepperoni and creamy tomato sauce in a large skillet.

Pour half of the noodle mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish.

Half of the creamy pizza pasta mixture in an oval baking dish.

Sprinkle one-cup of cheese over the pasta mixture.

Shredded cheese sprinkled over the creamy pasta in a casserole dish.

Cover with remaining pasta mixture and remaining cheese.

Turn on oven broiler. Place casserole dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Allow to broil until the cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, fresh oregano or Italian parsley, and crushed red pepper (if using). Serve immediately.

Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole on a plate.

Complete your meal with a Classic Caesar Salad and sliced Garlic Bread.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • I do not like olives so I added them last to make them easier to pick out!
  • Any color bell pepper will work, green will show up better against the red sauce.

Can this casserole be frozen?

Yes, prepare the pizza pasta as directed but do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place in the freezer for up to a month for best flavor.

Remove from the freezer and bake as directed if thawed, or bake for additional time if baking from frozen.

How do you store leftovers?

Store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, 350F degree oven, or in an Air Fryer until heated through.

Tools used to create this recipe

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More pizza inspired recipes

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Enjoy!!

Looking down on an oval casserole dish filled with cheesy pizza penne pasta recipe topped with sliced olives.

Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole

Cheesy Pizza Pasta Casserole – flavorful pizza sauce tossed with penne pasta, onion, bell pepper, pepperoni, sliced olives and melted cheese.
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Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pizza sauce, penne pasta, casserole
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 568kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dry penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
  • 12 ounce jar pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces cream cheese use dairy-free or regular
  • .33 cup pepperoni slices sliced in half or quartered if the large ones
  • .25 cup sliced olives
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese I used veggie shreds
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free Parmesan cheese plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or Italian parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional

Instructions

  • Boil pasta as per package directions. Drain, reserving 0.5 cup of cooking water, and set aside.
  • In a skillet, sauté onions and pepper in olive oil over medium-high heat until they are tender. Remove from heat and stir in the pizza sauce and cream cheese. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Return skillet to the heat and add the drained noodles, pepperoni and olive slices. Stir in reserved cooking water as needed to thin sauce.
  • Pour half of the noodle mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle one-cup of cheese over the pasta mixture. Cover with remaining pasta mixture and remaining cheese.
  • Turn on oven broiler. Place casserole dish on the bottom rack of the oven. Allow to broil until the cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, fresh oregano or Italian parsley, and crushed red pepper (if using). Serve immediately.
  • Complete your meal with a Classic Caesar Salad and sliced Garlic Bread.

Notes

  • Any color bell pepper will work, green will show up better against the red sauce.
  • To freeze: prepare the pizza pasta as directed but do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and place in the freezer for up to a month for best flavor. Remove from the freezer and bake as directed if thawed, or bake for additional time if baking from frozen.
  • Store any leftovers you may have in an airtight container inside the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, 350F degree oven, or in an Air Fryer until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 1132mg | Potassium: 586mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2091IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 384mg | Iron: 3mg

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13 Comments

  1. Your version looks good! I must have missed it (but I remember you saying that you don’t use dairy) but why don’t you use dairy? Do you have a food allergy?

    I might have to try this sometime. Maybe make a vegan version. I like to make meat free recipes sometimes. I usually don’t make vegan recipes but it can’t hurt to try a few, right?!

  2. You have one lucky daughter getting to travel Europe. I didn’t get to until I was 30! I love coconut milk, and replace it for milk often. Luckily there are many dairy free choices these days! It looks delicious!

  3. Yay! So glad your daughter is coming home 🙂 Sounds like a great trip! The casserole looks delicious. I haven’t cooked with coconut milk before..I am looking forward to trying it!

  4. holy moly delicious!!! As a gigantic pizza + pasta lover, this recipe caught my eye in just a second on the Wonderful Food Wed. linkup. I used to be so much like your Cassi when I was younger. My college travels from Seattle to Syracuse, NY taught me to slowly begin trying the foods that my diverse group of friends enjoyed, though my tastes grew the most during my 6-month study abroad in Ecuador and Chile. I’ll eat almost anything these days {aside from sushi and Thai, lol} that I would have easily refused before. How exciting that you will get to see her soon and get to know the new adult she’s becoming!

  5. How wonderful that your daughter was able to travel. My daughter just graduated from college and is in Thailand right now! I am glad you will be able to try more recipes with your baby now. This one looks really great.
    Thank you for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party! I look forward to seeing what you bring next week!

    Cynthia

  6. In our house {mostly!} it is also – eat what you get or stay hungry 😉 So awesome that she is able to travel in Europe! Love your recipe, Lisa 🙂 Thank you for sharing at our ALL MY BLOGGY FRIENDS party !

  7. Your recipe looks amazing! & yummy! I can’t wait to try it. I am featuring it tomorrow @ DearCreatives.com thanks for linking your posts up! Your daughter is very lucky to have a chance to travel like that. Drop by tomorrow & pick up your featured button, along with linking up again.

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