Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake

GFGluten Free

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This Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake is a creamy, tangy, cheese lover’s dream! All of the elements of the classic appetizer, but as a main course! Optionally Spicy, Gluten-Free.

Personally, I’m always trying to have appetizers as the main course. Sometimes when I’m at a restaurant, I will look through the starters on the menu and imagine them turned into a full-blown meal. It’s kind of a dream of mine, no big deal. This Vegan Jalapeño Popper Casserole is a product of my appetizer glow-up dreams…I combined all of the elements of a crispy, creamy, cheese-filled jalapeño popper with pasta to make this quick & easy jalapeño popper casserole!

Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake in small white bowl next to casserole dish of cooked pasta bake and small side bowl of fresh jalapeños

INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the great joy that is the jalapeño popper, it is an insanely delicious Tex-Mex appetizer consisting of a battered jalapeño pepper that is stuffed with cream cheese and then deep-fried. The ingredients in this Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake are inspired by the classic Tex-Mex starter, but with a few twists: 

Ingredients for jalapeño popper casserole in small white bowls on marble background. Clockwise text labels read pasta, jalapeños, smoked paprika, garlic powder, red onion, dairy-free milk, dairy-free cream cheese, dairy-free cheese, and corn

The addition of corn adds some subtle sweetness that compliments the spicy flavor of the jalapeño, plus an extra veggie or two is never a bad thing 😉 I like to add a little smoked paprika for an extra kick of smoky flavor, reminiscent of the smoky bacon some people will add to their poppers; you could also top yours with some crumbles of vegan bacon if that’s your style!

HOW TO MAKE VEGAN JALAPEÑO POPPER PASTA BAKE

Two side-by-side photos of the jalapeño popper pasta bake before baking; one to show the pasta, and another after the pasta is covered with cheese

Just a few simple steps and you’ll be in jalapeño popper heaven! You just cook your pasta, slice your jalapeños, add everything to a casserole dish, and bake until you’re left with a (vegan) cheese-covered wonderland consisting of a crunchy, brown top and creamy, tangy inside 🙂

***A few tips before you get started: If you’d prefer not to use store-bought cream cheese, see my recipe notes below for a quick & easy homemade cream cheese! Oh, and if you have a pair of gloves handy, I’d suggest bringing them out for the jalapeños 😉 They call it “jalapeño hands,” when the capsaicin in hot peppers touches your skin, causing it to burn. Not fun.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and set aside a casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, cook to al dente, then drain (but don’t rise!)
  3. Add the cooked pasta, jalapeños, corn, onion, cream cheese, milk, spices, and salt to the casserole dish and sprinkle cheese on top. 
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes, then move to the top rack for an additional 12-15 minutes. Uncover and broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the top is browned. 
  5. Top with sliced jalapeños and chopped cilantro (optional) and enjoy!

Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake in white casserole dish after baking, with wooden spoon in the dish and scooping out pasta

Love jalapeño poppers as much as I do? Why not turn up the heat and make this popper pasta bake alongside my Vegan Baked Jalapeño Poppers?! Okay…that might be a little jalapeño overkill but hey, I’d love it! No matter what you make it with, this Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake is a great fuss-free dish for any time you’re in the mood for a hearty, cheesy meal with a little kick of heat! You can also make a big batch ahead of time for easy lunches all week, as this stores well in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake in small white bowl next to casserole dish of cooked pasta bake and small side bowl of fresh jalapeños

If you’re looking for more flavor-packed pasta recipes, you’ll also love this Vegan Chorizo Pasta with Roasted Tomato Sauce, this Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad, and this One Pot Cheesy “Beef” Pasta!

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake

This Vegan Jalapeño Popper Pasta Bake is a creamy, tangy, cheese lover’s dream! All of the elements of the classic appetizer, but as a main course! Optionally Spicy, Gluten-Free.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces (225 g) pasta of choice
  • 8 ounces (225 g) jalapeños, finely diced and seeds removed (about 68 peppers)
  • 1 cup (150 g) fresh corn
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 8 ounces (225 g) dairy-free cream cheese (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 cup (236 ml) dairy-free milk (I used cashew)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 7 ounces (198g) dairy-free mozzarella shreds
  • Sliced jalapeños and cilantro, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prep: preheat the oven to 425F and set a 9×12″ (or similar sized) casserole dish to the side.
  2. Cook the Pasta: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Drain, but do not rinse.
  3. Assemble: add the pasta to the casserole dish along with the jalapeños, corn, onion, cream cheese, milk, spices, and salt. Sprinkle the top of the casserole dish evenly with plant-based cheese, and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
  4. Bake: bake in the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes covered, then move to the top rack of the oven and bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes. Broil the casserole for 3-5 minutes, or until the top is browned.
  5. Serve: Serve warm, topped with sliced jalapeño and chopped cilantro (or as desired). Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Vegan Cream Cheese: If you don’t want to use store-bought cream cheese, you can use this tofu and cashew-based filling instead! You could also use equal parts of unsweetened vegan yogurt, in a pinch
  • Pro Pepper tip: It helps to wear gloves while handling the jalapeños, to avoid getting their spicy heat on any other body part you touch after!

Keywords: jalapeno pasta, jalapeno casserole, vegan jalapeno poppers, vegan casserole

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. I made this using So Delicious brand mozzarella shreds and cream cheese and unsweetened original silk soy milk and it was great! I also used whole wheat penne. I think next time I will try adding some chopped bell pepper and maybe some pinto or black beans too!

    1. I like how you put your own style to the recipe. Thank you and I’m glad you liked it, Kendra! ♥

  2. My hubby just adores this jalapeno popper pasta. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe!