I have been craving pizza lately, but didn’t want to fuss with making a gluten-free crust. So this recipe for Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Casserole is the perfect alternative. All the flavors of your favorite pizza combined with pasta in a hot and cheesy casserole. So good!
Warming and filling, this was the perfect dinner for the cold and rainy days we’ve been having. This casserole appeals to kids and adults alike, everyone enjoying their meal and cleaning their plates.
Chopping part of the pepperoni slices and stirring them into the pasta mixture gives you a light spiciness throughout the casserole. All the best pizza goodness in every single bite!
You are welcome to add more vegetables to the mix if you want to bump up the health quotient. You can also leave out the ground meats if you want and replace them with mushrooms for a similar texture. This is a great way to get more veggies into your kid’s diets in a way they will love.
Do you want to make this even faster and easier? You can make the sauce a day or two in advance, letting you assemble the dish easily and quickly on serving day.
For those who don’t like chopping vegetables, just hit the salad bar at your local grocers, selecting the pre-sliced and cut vegetables you like. Many stores also now offer pre-cut onions, carrots, and celery (called mirepoix) to speed up the cooking prep even more.
I used Barilla brand gluten-free penne pasta to make this for my family because it holds up well to cooking and baking. You can use your favorite brand of pasta or whatever you have on hand – just adjust the cook time to be sure the pasta is al dente because it is going to finish cooking in the oven.
If you want a crowd pleasing meal, just put this Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Casserole on the menu. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you back here for Chocolate Monday!
Many prepared pizza sauces contain gluten ingredients and aren’t safe for us to eat. Making your own from scratch not only tastes better but guarantees you know exactly what is in it and can make smart choices for your family.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup gluten-free chicken broth
- 28 oz crushed or finely chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 12 oz uncooked penne pasta (gluten-free if needed)
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 lb ground pork or beef
- 1 small white onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 oz pepperoni slices, coarsely chopped (gluten-free if needed)
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 to 3 cups pizza sauce (from above or a gluten-free brand)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- About 20 whole slices pepperoni (for the top of the casserole)
- Sliced green onions, for garnish
- Make the Pizza Sauce: Place the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, cooking until softened, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the chicken broth, whisking to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add the sugar and the salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the oregano and rosemary. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Stir in the fresh basil and let sit for a few minutes to infuse the flavors.
- The sauce can be made a day or two in advance and reheated when you are ready to assemble the casserole. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
- Prepare the Casserole: Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Oil or butter a 9x13-inch baking dish.
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and pour into a very large mixing bowl.
- In a large, deep skillet, brown the turkey and pork with the onions and bell peppers, breaking up clumps. When cooked through, mix in the chopped pepperoni and oregano. Pour over the pasta in the bowl. Add the pizza sauce and stir all the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Add more pizza sauce if desired. You want all the pasta coated with the sauce.
- Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover the top with the mozzarella or Jack cheese and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Scatter the whole pepperoni slices around the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling. Remove from the oven and scoop servings into bowls, sprinkle the tops with sliced green onions, and serve hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584 Total Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 17g Cholesterol: 113mg Sodium: 1129mg Carbohydrates: 32g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9g Protein: 37g
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