Vegan Baked Ziti

This Vegan Baked Ziti is perfect for the winter season because it is hearty, warming and comforting. It can be served as an entree or as a side dish with salad or garlic bread. This easy Vegan baked ziti recipe is perfect for your family to enjoy on weekends, holidays, or even just a casual weekday. Vegan baked ziti is one of those dishes that are so simple to create but tastes like you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. It is not just easy to make but is super easy to store, and you can enjoy it later as well.

Ingredient breakdown

  • Dried ziti: Unless you are a pro in making handmade pasta, I prefer you use dried ziti, which is available at most grocery stores. Ziti is a particular tubular shape. Most people confuse it with penne shape. The two are a bit different. Ziti is a bit thicker and shorter than penne pasta.
  • Olive oil: Loaded with healthy fats, olive oil is often a choice in cooking.
  • Onion: You can use yellow or white onions for this recipe. Onions offer a savory flavor to the pasta base.
  • Garlic: The intense and garlicky flavor is very prominent and makes the dish pop.
  • Vegan ground beef: Traditionally, baked ziti is made using ground beef. But this vegan version uses a vegan substitute of vegan ground beef. You might be surprised by its texture and flavor. However, you can substitute seitan for vegan ground beef or make your own meat substitute by combining plant-based ingredients like onions, lentils, flaxseeds, mushrooms, flour, and spices.
  • Marinara sauce: A rich, tasty, and tomato-y marinara sauce is the perfect way to add flavor to this vegan ziti recipe. You can also go with homemade over premade marinara sauce.
  • Italian seasoning: No baked ziti recipe is complete without Italian seasoning. This blend of dried herbs adds aroma and flavor to the dish.
  • Vegan mozzarella: Vegan mozzarella cheese is made from plant-based ingredients and offers the same cheesy goodness to your dish. It is the perfect topping. Feel free to use your favorite brand.
  • Cayenne pepper: Add a bit of heat to the baked ziti by adding cayenne pepper powder.
  • Seasoning: Sea salt and ground black pepper are just what you need to season this dish.

For Vegan Mozzarella Sauce:

  • Raw cashews: Raw cashews are a great ingredient for making vegan white or cheese sauce. The trick is soaking the cashews for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight. You can also boil them for the creamy effect.
  • Water: You will need water to adjust the consistency of the sauce.
  • Lemon juice: A dash of lemon juice adds freshness and cuts through the creaminess of the sauce.
  • Corn starch: Corn starch will give body to the sauce, especially when it cooks.
  • Nutritional yeast: This vegan ingredient is magical and is responsible for adding a cheesy and nutty flavor to this vegan sauce.
  • Garlic powder: It adds a strong savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Onion powder: It also adds a savory and slightly sweet flavor to the sauce.
  • Sea salt: Brings all the flavors together.

Tips for making Vegan baked pasta

Here are a few things you should remember when making vegan baked pasta:

  • Vegan ground beef can be replaced with Seitan.
  • Add vegetables like peas, carrots, and bell peppers to make this dish more wholesome.
  • If you don’t have marinara sauce, use canned chopped tomatoes.
  • You can use silken tofu instead of cashews as well.

How to store Vegan ziti?

Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. You can also freeze vegan baked ziti for up to 2 months. Reheat it in the oven until it is bubbling again.

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Vegan Baked Ziti

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course cooked, Dinner, dope recipes, Lunch, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

Vegan Baked Ziti

  • 1 pound dried ziti
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 12 ounces vegan ground beef
  • 1 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounce block of vegan mozzarella grated ( I like Miyoko’s) – optional for topping

Vegan Mozzarella Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cook ziti pasta according to package instructions until al dente; drain and reserve.
  • In the meantime, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, sauté the onion for about 3 minutes or until tender and translucent.
  • Then, sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds, until aromatic.
  • Cook the vegan ground beef for about 4 minutes, stirring continuously to promote even browning.
  • Next, stir in the marinara sauce and continue to simmer, partially covered, until your sauce has thickened slightly. Sprinkle with spices and stir to combine.
  • Place the cashews in the bowl of your food processor or high-speed blender.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients for vegan Mozzarella sauce and blend until everything is well incorporated.
  • To assemble baked ziti, grease the inside of a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon a ladle full of the “meaty” sauce into the dish; spread it across the bottom of the dish.
  • Add 1/2 of the cooked ziti, then 1/2 of the sauce on top. Gently toss to combine. Spoon 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Repeat layers one more time. Top with vegan mozzarella.
  • Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 25 to 30 minutes (or until the cheese is melted) on the middle rack in the oven.
  • Bon appétit!
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