Veggie Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta Cheese topped with basil

Vegan Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta Cheese

What comes to mind when you think of a classic baked ziti? Probably perfectly cooked pasta shells, flavorful marinara, meaty crumbles, and cheesy goodness, right?Β 

Well you’re in luck, because this vegan baked ziti is the perfect symphony of savory tomato sauce, perfectly cooked pasta shells, seasoned roasted veggies, and creamy cashew & tofu ricotta cheese!

Ingredients for vegan baked ziti: pasta, tomato sauce, roasted veggies, veggie beef crumbles, and tofu ricotta cheese.
Nutrition facts for Veggie Baked Ziti showing 268 calories, 8.6g fat, 40g carbs, and 12g protein per serving

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I don’t expect you to jump for joy when I tell you that you’re getting tofu and lots of veggies in this plant based version…but you probably should because this recipe is straight fire!

The ingredients list gives you enough pasta to last as leftovers for a few nights. Or if you feel like showing off, bake a pan up and bring if to your workplace potluck. Don’t tell anyone it’s vegan though, just wait for the compliments to fly your way.

Seriously, try this vegan baked ziti recipe. It tastes so indulgent you might just forget it’s loaded with healthy plant foods!

Veggie Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta Cheese topped with basil

Create this yummy plant-based recipe and tag me in your photos on social!

Veggie Baked Ziti with Cashew Ricotta Cheese

This savory recipe for baked ziti is my healthy and guilt-free take on an Italian favorite. The cashew ricotta provides an amazing creamy balance to the rich tomato sauce.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Plant Based, Vegan
Keyword: High Carb Meals, One Dish Dinner, Pasta, Post Workout Meal
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 269kcal
Author: Maya Howard

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 14 oz Cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Onion Sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves Chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Garlic Minced
  • 2 tbsp Dried Italian Herbs (oregano or basil)
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

  • 3 oz Firm Tofu
  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews Soaked in hot water 15 min
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Grinds of Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 Whole Zucchini
  • 1 Large Red Pepper
  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Pinch of Salt
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper

Vegan Ground "Beefless" Crumbles

  • 1 Package Vegan Ground "Beef" Crumbles
  • 1/4 Cup Onion Sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Italian Seasonings (basil or oregano)
  • Garlic Powder
  • 6 Cups Rigatoni boiled in salted water for 12 minutes

Instructions

Roasted Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop zucchini, red pepper, and eggplant into small quarter-sized chunks. Toss chopped vegetables with a small amount of olive oil and seasonings. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Roast for 30 min or until softened.

Tomato Sauce

  • Combine all tomato sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cover with a lid and simmer on very low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Vegan Crumbles

  • Heat a large, non-stick skillet and add a bit of oil to the pan. Sautee onions on low heat until they are almost translucent, being careful not to burn them.
  • Add the entire package of vegan beef crumbles into the pan, season, and sautee for about 5 minutes or until heated through.

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

  • Combine all Cashew Ricotta Cheese ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree until you get a wet, ricotta cheese-like consistency. Add a bit of water to the mixture as needed to blend.

Final Baking

  • Spoon a thin layer of the tomato sauce into a large baking dish. Combine the rest of the sauce with the cooked rigatoni and vegan beef crumbles.
  • Add a layer of the pasta into the baking dish, then top with a layer of roasted veggies and a few dollops of the cashew ricotta cheese. Repeat this once more to create another layer. Top with any excess cheese and sauce.
  • Bake at 350Β° for 10 minutes in the oven, just long enough to melt the dish together but not dry out the pasta.
  • Enjoy hot, topped with fresh basil!

Notes

To make the preparation of the final baked ziti dish (and your life) a bit easier, feel free to substitute a few cups of pre-made pasta sauce for the homemade recipe!
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