Baked ziti is the Italian-American version of pasta al forno. Which just translates simply to pasta been baked in the oven. Growing up I hated baked ziti. The top was always too crunchy and I ate it and felt so heavy after. But now this vegan version is just perfect for me. Packed with delicious plant protein sources like lentils and tofu this one is sure to be a new favorite!
This recipe only takes about 30 minutes to put together and about 25 minutes to cook. It makes a big portion so it would be great for meal prep as well! To make it gluten free just simply use gluten free pasta. If you want it to be soy free you can replace the tofu with almond ricotta. I also used 4 different kinds of vegan cheese in this recipe which you do not have to do. Use what is accessible to you and you like.
I know you are sure to love this recipe. It was approved by everyone in the family, even my Italian grandma who just came back from Italy.
1 box of ziti (or any tube pasta like rigatoni or penne)
1 cup of green lentils
1 1/2 cups of water
1 jar of pasta sauce 25 oz or homemade
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
1/4 block Miyoko’s VeganMozz, cubed
1/4 cup vegan parmesan
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Top with fresh basil and more vegan parmesan
1/2 block firm tofu
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (I like the one from Trader Joe’s or Kite Hill)
1/4 cup vegan parmesan (I like the one from Follow Your Heart or Violife)
1/4 cup non dairy milk unsweetened and no flavor
1/2 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
- Add lentils and water into a pot and cook on stove on medium heat for about 20 minutes. Cook until soft but not mushy. Watch the lentils to make sure they have enough water and do not burn.
- Prepare ricotta substitute by adding all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse everything until a ricotta like consistency has formed. Smooth but still with bits in it.
- Cook pasta in salted water and boil until al dente.
- In a pot add olive oil. Allow it to warm up for a minute or two on medium heat then add in chopped garlic and onions. At this point lentils should be soft but not mushy, add them into the pot as well. Finally, add in the pasta sauce. TIP: after you empty out the pasta sauce fill up the container with about 1/2 cup of water to get the rest of the tomato sauce out and pour it into the pot.
- Cook the mixture for 5 minutes and add in sugar. When using jarred pasta sauce be sure to look at the seasonings and spices in it. You may not need to add anything or you may need to add salt and sugar. The sauce I used had no added sugar and very little salt.
- Add in the cooked pasta and about 3/4 of the ricotta substitute. I like to save some to put on top. Mix until everything is creamy. You can taste it and add salt and pepper if you like.
- In an oven safe dish add 1/2 the pasta to the bottom. Then sprinkle on half of the shredded vegan mozzarella and parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta on top and top with the rest of the shredded mozzarella, vegan parmesan, Miyoko’s VeganMozz and ricotta dollops.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Then broil on a medium heat for 5 minutes to get the top crispy and melted.
- Once you take it out of the oven let it sit for a few minutes. Top with more vegan parmesan and fresh basil before serving.
Will serve 4-6 people depending on portion size and what else you serve with it.
*To reheat put the pasta in a pan with about 2-3 tbsp of water and 2-3 tbsp of pasta sauce. Mix around to allow pasta to soften again, you may also want to add a bit of extra vegan parm as well.
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