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VEGAN BAKED ZITI

Vegan Baked Ziti – This super easy pasta bake is made with mostly pantry items for a comforting and delicious lunch or dinner! It’s enough to feed a crowd and anything that’s left is perfect for leftovers.

top down view of freshly made vegan baked ziti with items surrounding.

What a crazy time we are living in. I can’t even wrap my head around this new state of affairs. I hope everyone is staying home & healthy!

Like many of you, I found myself looking to the pantry for a meal to pull together and decided to throw together this vegan baked ziti recipe. It’s super easy to make and pretty much fail-proof!

Usually there’s a bottle of pasta sauce in the back of the pantry, but I was out and made my own with what I had on hand using canned tomatoes, onion, garlic and a few dried herbs. And I must say it turned out pretty darn good!

The topping is a vegan ricotta made from cashews, but can easily be made with nut free using this Tofu Ricotta instead. The creamy topping is a perfect complement to this baked pasta dish.

More reasons to love this recipe:

  • Simple and easily customizable.
  • Budget and kid friendly.
  • Super easy to make, and can even be made ahead and baked later.
  • Uses whole food, plant based pantry staples.
  • It’s full of flavor!

top down view of all the ingredients needed to make vegan baked ziti recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this easy recipe, cooked tubular pasta is tossed with a homemade tomato sauce, topped with a creamy vegan ricotta and baked in the oven until bubbly and warmed through, creating a warm and comforting pasta dish the whole family will love.

Here is everything you will need:

  • pasta – baked ziti is typically made with straight, tubular pasta such as ziti, penne, rigatoni, ect., but feel free to change it up with large elbow or shell pasta if needed.
  • tomatoes – I used whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, but you can sub with diced or crushed tomatoes.
  • onion – white, brown, or whatever you have on hand.
  • garlic
  • thyme + oregano – sub with Italian seasoning
  • cashews – use raw cashews only
  • lemon – sub with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • garlic + onion powder
  • salt + pepper
  • parsley

side by side photos showing the process of making marinara sauce.

How To Make Vegan Baked Ziti

  • Make the vegan ricotta.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Make the pasta sauce, as shown above.

side by side photos showing the process of making vegan baked ziti.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce in a casserole or baking dish.
  • Top the pasta mix with vegan ricotta.
  • Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool and top with fresh chopped parsley (and/or basil), as shown below.

And now you’re ready to enjoy!

Recommended Equipment: I used this versatile Lodge Casserole with cover (affiliate link) for cooking the sauce and then baking the ziti.

Top Tips

  • Make it quicker + easier. Use store bought bottled marinara (or your favorite pasta sauce) or make this homemade Marinara Sauce ahead of time, using 4 cups (double batch). If using bottles, there is no need to heat it, simply combine the cooked pasta with sauce and continue the recipe.
  • Add protein. For additional protein, add a can of rinsed lentils or sliced vegan sausage to the sauce.
  • Make ahead. To make vegan baked ziti ahead, simply assemble ahead and store in the fridge for a few days or freeze for up to 2 – 3 months before baking. Bake from chilled or frozen as the recipe directs.

top down view of freshly made vegan baked ziti with items surrounding.

Adjusting For Dietary Restrictions

  • Nut-Free. Those with nut allergies can use this Tofu Ricotta in place of the cashew ricotta cheese used here.
  • Gluten-Free. Use GF pasta such as one that uses chickpea, rice or quinoa flour.

How To Store

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 – 5 days. It’s great for meal prep too!
  • Freezer: To store longer, vegan baked ziti will last in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months stored in multi-use freezer safe containers (affiliate link).
  • Reheat: Warm in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees F, covered, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until warmed through. Alternatively, microwave, covered, using 30 – 60 second intervals, stirring after each interval until warmed through.

Serving Suggestions

This savory baked pasta is hearty and filling, but is also great with a little something on the side. Here’s a few of my favorite options to serve with baked ziti:

More Easy Pasta Recipe

If you try this vegan baked ziti recipe or have a question, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

VEGAN BAKED ZITI

This vegan baked ziti made with pantry staples is the BEST! It’s easily customizable, easy to make, and a perfect family meal everyone will love!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Category: Entree, Pasta
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 16 oz. pasta (ziti, penne or rigatoni)
  • parsley, to serve

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cans (28oz.) San Marzano whole tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 23 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon EACH dried thyme & oregano (sub with 1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning)
  • salt + pepper, to taste

Cashew Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 small lemon or 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mineral salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH garlic & onion powder

Instructions

Cashew Ricotta: Soak the cashews in warm water for 5 – 10 minutes, drain. In a blender cup, place the cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic & onion powder and salt, blend until creamy smooth. Set aside.

Pasta: Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Tomato Sauce: In a medium pot, heat the oil/water over medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, continue cooking over medium heat for 7 – 10 minutes, breaking up the tomatoes as you cook. Taste for flavor.

Assemble: In a casserole or medium-large baking dish, combine the sauce and pasta together, mixing well to incorporate the bits of tomato throughout. Top with vegan ricotta and cover.

Bake: Place on the center rake and bake for 30 minutes, removing the cover after 20 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, top with chopped parsley or basil.

Serves 6

Serve in individual bowls with a light dusting of Almond Parmesan.

Store: Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 – 5 days. To store longer, store in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months.

Notes

Make it quicker + easier. For ease, use 4 cups of store bought bottled marinara (or your favorite pasta sauce) or make this homemade Marinara Sauce ahead of time, doubling the recipe. If using bottled sauce, simply combine the unheated sauce with the cooked pasta and continue the recipe.

Add protein. For additional protein, add  1 – 2 sliced vegan sausages or canned lentils (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups) to the sauce.

Make it nut-free. Those with nut allergies can use this Tofu Ricotta in place of the cashew ricotta cheese used here.

Go gluten-free. Use GF pasta such as one that uses chickpea, rice or quinoa flour.

Make ahead. To make ahead, simply prepare as directed, without baking, and store in the fridge for a few days or freeze for up to 2 – 3 months before baking. Bake from chilled or frozen as the recipe instructs.

Recipe edited: I’ve updated the recipe to include an extra can of tomatoes so there will plenty of juices!

Keywords: vegan baked ziti

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22 Comments

  1. I used thin spaghetti and 3 14-oz cans of regular Petite diced tomatoes and 1 14-oz can of Petite diced fire roasted tomatoes. I added nooch to the cashew ricotta. After it baked, I topped with the almond Parm, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes. We all had 2nds!

  2. Loved it. You know it’s good when a non-vegan says it tastes like regular baked ziti!! This is definitely going to be my go to baked ziti recipe.

  3. Absolutely delicious!! This was easy to make and tasted fantastic. My husband loved it too! I mashed up the tomatoes with a potato masher lol.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Glad you both enjoyed the baked ziti! I love the idea the using a potato masher – it’s a good tip. Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

      1. Mary Anne says:

        This is easy and very good!!! My non vegan husband who’s favorite food is anything Italian had two helpings.

  4. This was so delicious!! I couldn’t believe how well the ricotta turned out. I also added some of your Vegan Almond Parmesan sprinkled over top of my individual serving, and it was delectable! Such an awesome recipe!

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipes! Thanks for sharing, Sav!

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