This Italian style slow cooker vegetable casserole is layered with delicious flavors! This healthy vegetarian casserole is loaded with Italian seasoning, beans, pesto, polenta, and melty cheese. Make it vegan with plant-based cheese. You've got to try this one!
You'll Love This Healthy Slow Cooker Vegetable Casserole
Delicious Layers. This crockpot casserole is assembled with two layers of the bean mixture then polenta slices, and cheese. Freshness is added at the end with tomatoes, fresh arugula, baby spinach, and more pesto.
Unique Crockpot Recipe. This recipe is one of my favorites because it doesn't serve like a classic crockpot meal. It has fresh veggies on top, a bright flavor from the pesto, and the beans make it hearty and delicious!
Healthy! This casserole can be served as an entree or as a side. It is vegetarian and can easily be made vegan! Remove the cheese or replace it with your favorite plant-based product for the same result.
Crock Pot Vegetable Casserole Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this vegetarian crockpot casserole:
- Cannellini Beans: substitute white or navy beans if desired.
- Garbanzo Beans: always drain and rinse canned beans to control salt and flavor.
- Pesto Sauce: store-bought or homemade.
- Onion: I used yellow onion in this recipe, but you can use any variety you prefer.
- Garlic: mince fresh garlic at home or use store-bought pre-minced garlic.
- Dried Italian Seasoning
- Prepared Plain Polenta: I usually find this in the pasta aisle at my local grocery store. It is yellow grits that are prepared and stored in a casing to keep a specific shape. That makes it easy to cut into ½-inch slices for layering.
- Fresh Tomato
- Shredded Italian Cheese Blend: use pre-shredded blends that you can purchase at the grocery store or create your own and shred your own at home. Italian blends usually include mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, or asiago cheeses.
- Fresh Baby Spinach: smaller leaves than regular spinach and is a more tender leaf.
- Arugula: is a great fresh green to add for a slightly citrusy and peppery flavor. If you are unable to find arugula use extra spinach.
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
How To Make Crockpot Vegetable Casserole
Here's how to make this easy vegetable casserole slow cooker recipe:
1. Mix beans, pesto, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning in a bowl until combined.
2. Layer half of the bean mixture, half of the polenta slices, and half the cheese. Repeat layer.
3. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.
4. Top with tomato slices, fresh spinach, and arugula. Drizzle with a bit of water or olive oil.
5. Cover and continue to cook until the arugula and spinach are wilted slightly, and tomatoes are warm.
Hint: Watch your greens once you put them on. It doesn't take long until they are wilted.
🍽️ How to Serve It
There are several ways you can serve this amazing cheesy vegetable crockpot casserole!
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle with additional pesto sauce and sprinkle with extra shredded cheese.
Serve with a fresh slice of your favorite crusty bread, Italian loaf, or breadsticks.
Meal idea! Serve as a side dish with some baked or grilled chicken thighs! Marinate your chicken in some pesto with olive oil before baking for a complimenting flavor.
Keep it vegetarian by adding cubed tofu to your bean mixture for extra nutrient-dense protein. The tofu takes on the flavor of the pesto and is a really delicious flavor and texture.
Here are some suggestions for customizing your layered vegetable casserole in the slow cooker:
- Substitute the beans in this recipe with any of your other favorites! You can also use dried beans and soak them before adding them to this recipe.
- Use homemade polenta in place of the store-bought used in this recipe.
- Use fresh herbs with the arugula and spinach for extra delicious bright flavors. I recommend parsley; a little thyme or rosemary is great with Italian food as well.
- Use white cheddar cheese in place of the Italian cheese blend if you would like. You can also use any of your favorite cheese blends!
💭 Slow Cooker Tips
Tip #1: Make sure to drain and rinse your beans before making your vegetable mixture. This will help the flavor of the beans and remove excess moisture from the casserole.
Tip #2: This is meant to be served as a layered casserole, so resist the urge to stir this recipe while it is cooking.
Tip #3: I love using a crockpot liner (when I remember to use it). It helps prevent sticking to the crockpot and helps with cleanup afterward! Try using nonstick spray before adding ingredients if you don't have a liner.
Be sure to save this pin to Pinterest! 🙂
Let your leftovers cool completely and then transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The best way to reheat your vegetable casserole is with a microwave. Place a serving in a microwave-safe bowl, or plate. Reheat on 50% for 30 seconds to 90 seconds, checking frequently and removing when it reaches your desired temperature.
The answer is yes, vegetables can be overcooked to the point of being very mushy and sometimes dry. Check the vegetables when nearing the recipe suggestion and remove them when the desired doneness is reached.
More Crock Pot Vegetable Recipes
- Crockpot Baked Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Green Beans with Ham
- Fresh Crock Pot Asparagus
- Crockpot Ranch Mushrooms
Slow Cooker Vegetable Casserole
- 2 (19-ounce cans) cannellini, great northern beans, or navy beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (19-ounce can) garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (8-ounce jar) prepared pesto sauce
- 1 cup onion (finely chopped, approx. 1 medium)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 teaspoons dried italian seasoning
- 1 (16-ounce package) prepared plain polenta (sliced ½" thick)
- 1 large ripe tomato (or 2 small, thinly sliced)
- 8 ounces shredded italian cheese blend (omit if desired)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup arugula
- Mix beans, ½ of the pesto, garlic, onion, and italian seasoning in a bowl until combined. (Tip: if you prefer a softer onion, microwave the onions on high for 5 minutes prior to adding to the crock pot.)
- Layer half of the bean mixture, half of the polenta slices, and half the cheese. Repeat layer.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
- Top with tomato slices, fresh spinach, and arugula. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and remaining pesto sauce.
- Cover and continue to cook just until the spinach and arugula are slightly wilted, and the tomatoes are warm, about 5 minutes.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Substitute any favorite bean combination you like. Dried beans can be soaked and used instead of canned beans. Homemade polenta can be used in place of store-bought prepared. Cheddar cheese or mozzarella can be used instead of Italian cheese blend.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with additional pesto sauce and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
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