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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 left is perfect for leftovers.

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

Why We Love This Recipe!

This simple baked ziti recipe is a pantry favorite! It’s super easy to make and pretty much fail-proof! It’s:

  • 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!

You can make the sauce from scratch per my recipe which is a cinch, or use your favorite bottled pasta sauce. The topping is a vegan ricotta made from cashews, but can easily be made nut-free using this Tofu Ricotta.

Altogether, it’s an incredible baked pasta dish that will become a family favorite on the meal rotation!

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. You can change it up with large elbow or shell pasta if needed.
  • Tomatoes – I used whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, but you can substitute diced or crushed tomatoes.
  • Onion – You can use white, brown, or whatever you have on hand.
  • Garlic – Use fresh or jarred minced for ease.
  • Thyme + oregano – sub with Italian seasoning
  • Cashews – use raw cashews only
  • Lemon – sub with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Garlic + onion powder – Added for good measure!
  • Salt + pepper – As always, season to taste.
  • Parsley – Freshly chopped, it adds color and herbaceousness.
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) to cook the sauce and bake 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. This Tofu Ricotta can be used in place of the cashew ricotta cheese used here for those with nut allergies.
  • Gluten-Free. Use GF pasta such as one that uses chickpea, rice, or quinoa flour.

How To Store

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 – 5 days. This is great for meal prep, too!
  • Freezer: To store longer, vegan baked ziti will keep 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 are a few of my favorite options to serve with baked ziti:

More Easy Pasta Recipes!

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.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 13 reviews

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


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


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.


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!

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  1. This was so good! I added some mushrooms/garlic and zucchini sautéed to the mix. I added about 1/4 c of the “ricotta” to the pasta/sauce mixture before pouring the rest on top. I added some vegan mozzarella to the top before baking, and finished it off with a broil. Tip for others (that I forgot): Cook your pasta to al dente or even less so it’s not mushy (I used brown rice pasta, which has an even higher mush-factor).

  2. Pumelo head says:

    Yum added vegan mozz to it and extra spices mushroom and hot sauce but I love a good baked ziti. Used lentil brown rice ziti noodles. Broiled it a little to add a little crunch to the topping. But this is very yum as is and doesn’t make my stomach hurt or sick which is nice when pregnant!

  3. So is it two 28oz cans of tomatoes (totaling 56oz)or two 14oz cans (totaling 28oz)?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Anna! It’s two 28oz cans. I can see how that might be questionable, thanks for asking! If you try the recipe, do let us know how it goes – it’s super helpful to others too!

  4. I just made this and it turned out really well. I added ground impossible meat after I added the onion and garlic for the sauce. I also used crushed tomatoes instead of whole because that’s what I had. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. McKenna Zandarski says:

    Loved this recipe! Served it for our friends for dinner this weekend. The ricotta was a real crowd pleaser! I doubled the tomato sauce and used fresh tomatoes and tossed some basil + red crushed pepper in there for a little extra somethin’. We also used Bonza chickpea pasta. So decadent but so healthy!

  6. Could I add some meatless crumbles to this?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Absolutely! Add the meatless crumbles when making the sauce, or sprinkle it in with the pasta and sauce before mixing and adding the ricotta. Enjoy! :)

  7. Can I use fresh garlic and onion in the ricotta instead of the powdered form? I also want to know if linguine or spaghetti could be used here?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes, you 1 clove of garlic and a 2 tablespoons of diced shallots or onion (white or yellow). For the pasta, I’ve never tried using noodles, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’d love to know how it goes, it will be helpful to others as well. Enjoy!

  8. Made this for guests last weekend and they all loved it! I made a roux with the cashew ricotta as it seemed a bit thin. Very tasty.👍👍

  9. This was so delicious, even my picky omnivore husband loved it!

  10. I made this recipe and it turned out wonderful! So delicious! My husband thoroughly enjoyed it, which is a plus as he isn’t plant-based like I am. However, I wonder if I am doing something wrong when it comes to the ricotta. Mine was not as creamy as the pictures show. It was smooth, but not like dressing creamy, if that makes sense. I wonder if mine was the right texture and if not how do I get it the right consistency? I am using a food processor.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      So glad you both loved it! For the cashew ricotta, you might try processing it longer, for at least 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Make sure to soak the cashews first so they get nice and soft, that’ll help too. I used a NutriBullet, using the large cup with the 2 blade attachment, for the ricotta in the pictures. It works greats and makes it really creamy, which works fine for this recipe (I like the food processor when making cashew ricotta for stuffed shells or lasagna). I highly recommend having a NB in your kitchen, it’s useful, powerful, compact, and great for small jobs. Thanks for sharing! Hope that helps! :)

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