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Vegan Baked Ziti with Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Vegan Baked Ziti with Ricotta Cheese (Easy + Oil-Free Option)


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

We are so excited to share with you our take on this Italian classic. Get ready for the best vegan baked ziti recipe out there! Moist and creamy, filled with homemade vegan mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and just like grandma used to make. It’s easy to make, perfect for weeknight dinners and too dang good to pass up on.


Ingredients

Marinara Sauce with Vegan Sausage

  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 7 oz. vegan beef crumbles or crumbled sausage (optional; we used Light Life Gimme Lean)
  • 32 oz. marinara sauce* (see notes)
  • 1 large handful fresh basil, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)

Vegan Mozzarella Cheese Sauce (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight* (see notes)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

Remaining Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ziti or penne noodles
  • ~1/2 cup vegan ricotta cheese (homemade or store-bought like Kite Hill)
  • Vegan parmesan, for garnish (optional; homemade or store-bought like Good Planet)
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and have a medium-sized baked dish ready. The dish we used was 10×8″.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta 2 minutes less than directed on the package. This will ensure that the pasta will not overcook in the oven. In the meantime, prepare the sauce.
  3. In a medium pot over medium heat, add in a few tablespoons of water (or 2 tablespoons of olive oil). Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Once cooked, add in the vegan beef crumbles*(see notes), break them up with the back of your spoon if needed and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the marinara, basil, and Italian seasoning, and stir through. Allow the sauce to simmer for 3 minutes more and then remove from heat. Set aside until assembly.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked, drain and add them back to the pot. Mix about 1/4 of the sauce into the noodles so that don’t dry out.
  5. Prepare the vegan mozzarella cheese by simply blending together all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.
  6. To assemble, grab your baking dish of choice and add a few tablespoons of sauce onto the bottom. Spread the sauce as best you can, it does not have to be completely covered. Add in a thin layer of pasta, followed by a layer of sauce, a drizzle of mozzarella cheese, and then a sprinkle of the vegan ricotta. Continue until you fill the pan or run out of ingredients, we used 4 layers of each.
  7. Place the dish into the middle rack of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow the ziti to cool. The longer you let it cool, the easier it is to cut into slices and serve.
  8. Garnish the ziti with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure to double check the ingredients on the marinara sauce–some have dairy!
  • If you would like to speed up the cashew soaking process, simply add the cashews to a large bowl, cover them with boiling water and allow that to sit for 20-3o minutes. Drain the cashews and you should be good to go!
  • If you are having a hard time breaking up the beef crumbles, you can use a potato masher after you add in the sauce to make things easier.
  • This recipe can be made completely oil-free if an oil-free marinara sauce is used and the sausage is left out.
  • This recipe can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Keep in mind that as it sits, the noodles may start to absorb some of the liquid. It is best served the day of making it but is still delicious either way.
  • The nutrition facts do not take into consideration the addition of the parmesan.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Oven, Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian

Keywords: Baked Ziti, Italian, Entree, Vegan, Easy, Oil-Free