Home Β» Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is one of the coziest, homiest meals I can think of it. It’s like lasagna in that way, except it’s much easier to make and this one is packed with wholesome plant-based goodness.

Can’t wait for you to give it try!

NOTE: In the video below, I made half of this recipe πŸ™‚

For the Baked Ziti:

Serves 6

  • 1 lb box of rigatoni
  • marinara sauce, recipe below or 2 jars of store-bought sauce works too
  • 1 batch of tofu ricotta, recipe below
  • vegan mozzarella (I used this one)
  • vegan parmesan (I used this one)
  • parsley and/or basil

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 small cloves of garlic (3 if they’re the really big kind)
  • 2 heaped tbsps of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp dried fennel seeds
  • 2 28oz can of San Marzano tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup of water

Before you start making the ziti, prep the TOFU RICOTTA (unless you’re using store-bought, then skip ahead)

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1 package of firm tofu 
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • the juice of half of a large lemon 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Drain the water from the tofu package and transfer to a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend until verrry smooth and creamy. 

Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

BAKED ZITI

  1. Start by dicing the onions and carrots. You want small pieces for this. Mince the garlic and it aside.
  2. Then warm a large saucepan to medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (I use refined coconut oil) When warm, add the onions and the carrots. SautΓ© for 5-6 minutes until softened, lowering the heat if the onions are getting brown. I usually start at 7 out of 10 and end up at about a 4-5.
  3. Then add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and keep an eye on it, you don’t want the garlic to burn or the whole sauce will taste like burned garlic. Your kitchen should start smelling pretty darn good at this point πŸ‘Œ
  4. Next, add the tomato paste, oregano, salt, and fennel seeds and cook for 2 more minutes or until the tomato paste is at least one shade darker. Add a splash of water to the pan as needed to prevent it from drying out too much.
  5. When you have what looks like a soft, chunky paste, add the canned tomatoes and water.

Now you have two options depending on your blender. If you’re using an immersion blender (recommended) then blend until very smooth.

If you’re using a traditional blender, allow the mixture to cool slightly and then ladle into the blender. Blend until smooth and return to the pot. Taste the sauce and see if you want to add more salt.

6. Return to the stove, crank it up to medium heat, and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Then lower heat to medium/low. Cover with an ajar lid and simmer while you prepare the noodles.

7. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling add a few pinches of salt and add the rigatoni. Stir and let cook until al dente (this will be 2 minutes shy of the cooking directions on the package)

TIP: Set a timer if needed to because over-cooking the pasta isn’t ideal for this recipe as the noodles will continue to cook in the oven and you don’t want want mushy baked ziti!

8. In the meantime, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees and if desired, pulse the vegan mozzarella and parmesan in a food processor like I did in this video...and after that, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine?)

9. As soon as the noodle timer goes off, drain the noodles in a colander and add the noodles back into the pot.

10. Ladle in 1/2 of the marinara sauce and toss to coat the noodles evenly. Then add half of the coated noodles to a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Ladle 1/2 of the remaining sauce on top of the noodles.

11. Next dollop 1/2 of the tofu ricotta generously on top of the noodles and use the back of the spoon to gently spread out into a even-ish layer. You don’t want it to be too thin, so don’t worry about making it perfect.

12. Then add the remaining noodles to the casserole dish. Layer the remaining sauce on sauce over the top, allowing it to seep between the noodles. Don’t forget the edges!

13. Dollop on the remaining tofu and then top with lots of vegan mozzarella and parmesan.

BAKING

Place the casserole dish on the center rack in the oven and put a cookie sheet on the lower wrack of the oven to catch any overflow. Trust me, this will prevent having to scrub your oven and if any sauce or cheese bubbles over!

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown on top.

I like to set the oven to broil for a few seconds at the end to make sure the cheese gets a little crispy on top, but make sure to keep an eye on it. This happens in just a few seconds, so don’t walk away from the oven!

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes to set. Top with chopped parsley and basil and serve with a fresh green salad or sautΓ©ed broccoli to round out the plate.

Check out the video below for a visual aid and more step-by-step instructions πŸ‘‡

NOTES:

1 Fennel seeds give this sauce it’s delicious flavor. Garlic and fennel are two of the main seasonings in sausage, so using garlic and fennel in the sauce gives it a special savory quality that is so good. Definitely recommend trying fennel seeds if you’re new to them. You can also leave them out if you don’t have fennel on hand.

2. You can make this sauce spicy by adding red pepper flakes when you add the oregano. Toasting the dried spices at that stage of the cooking process really brings them back to life.

3. This sounds weird but make sure to finely chop the parsley. It makes a big difference and looks so pretty! Like a sprinkle of green confetti. Lovely πŸ™‚

4. In the video above, I made half of this recipe πŸ™‚

Hope you enjoy this recipe! Can’t wait to hear what you think if you make this at home!

Tag me in a picture on Instagram so I can see your recreations!

Happy cooking!

Nicole

Follow:
Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

Find me on: Instagram

7 Comments

  1. Julia Reinhart
    May 25, 2020 / 3:18 am

    Hi Nicole! This looks delicious. What kind of vegan parmesan and vegan mozzarella did you use? Thanks so much! <3

    • Nicole
      Author
      July 5, 2020 / 6:31 pm

      Hey Julia, I love VioLife vegan parmesan and for the mozzarella I use either Follow Your Heart, WholeFoods 365 Brand, or Daiya πŸ™‚ †day

  2. KB
    May 27, 2020 / 10:30 pm

    Hi, Nicole! Did you change your blog design? If so, and if I’m remembering the previous design correctly, I just wanted to let you know that I really like this new (if it is new) design. It’s very bright and light and lovely.
    This recipe looks scrumptious and I can’t wait to try it!

  3. Kathryn
    May 30, 2020 / 12:05 am

    Wow!! I never comment on recipes. But THIS IS AMAZING! I am eating it now. It was the perfect Friday night treat! Thanks for the recipe- can’t wait to share it with everyone!

    • Nicole
      Author
      July 5, 2020 / 6:30 pm

      Aw thank you Katherine!! That makes me so happy! I love this recipe too πŸ™‚

  4. Jay
    May 30, 2020 / 8:24 pm

    I made this and it was DELICIOUS!!! That tofu ricotta I am not kidding tasted SO similar to real ricotta it scared me a little that it’s healthy haha. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I shared it with my mom πŸ™‚

    • Nicole
      Author
      July 5, 2020 / 6:24 pm

      haha that’s great to hear! I’m so happy that you liked it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *