Cozy, carby, comfort food! Whether it’s a busy weeknight, or a cozy holiday meal, this vegan Baked Ziti is sure to hit the spot!
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Vegan Baked Ziti
Vegan Baked Ziti is a perfect cozy, carby, comfort food meal. I’m sure mine is far from authentic, but it is delicious, hits the spot every time, and is super simple to throw together. I take several short cuts (hello, jarred marinara), and it comes together in about a half hour. It’s great for a busy weeknight, and yet somehow magically holds it’s own for a special holiday meal.
A New Christmas Tradition
Last year we kept our Christmas celebration small. Like, just the four of us small. I had been “threatening” for years that I was going to stop working all day making a big feast for Christmas, and was going to relax like everyone else. I teased that I was going to make “festive” pasta instead (hey, it’s red, white, and green), but I’d never actually gone through with it. 2020 was the opportunity I’d been waiting for (grasping for silver linings here)! And that’s when my Baked Ziti was born—a special request from my boys. As we approach Christmas next week the boys have made it very clear—Baked Ziti is what’s for dinner.
How do you make Vegan Baked Ziti?
My version of baked ziti is really simple. I’m not sure if it’s the most authentic. It might be more accurate to call it a pasta bake. But whatever you prefer to call it, it’s delicious. I start by sautéing an onion. Then I add a package of vegan ground beef—I prefer Impossible Meat, but Beyond Meat would be great too. You could also use a package of tvp ground beef crumbles, or keep it really wholesome and use a can of cooked lentils or cannellini beans. After browning the vegan meat with the onion, I simply pour a jar of store bought marinara into the pot and let it simmer while I wait for the pasta to boil. Once cooked, I add the pasta to the sauce mixture.
Cheese or no cheese?
We are a house divided when it comes to vegan cheese. We like it on pizza, and David and I think it’s ok in grilled cheese and quesadillas. Jonny despises it melted (except for pizza), and really, really does not want it anywhere near his baked ziti. I think he has a point. Vegan cheese is great when you need it for it’s stickiness, a la pizza. But in a baked pasta dish, vegan cheese really doesn’t add much at all. Instead I top the baked ziti with panko bread crumbs for a beautifully golden crispy topping. If you still insist that you neeeeeeed some cheese, I’d recommend adding about one cup of Violife mozzarella into the pasta when you mix it with the sauce.
More Pasta Dishes You’ll Love!
- Pasta Power Bowl (vegan + GF option)
- Vegan Pasta Bolognese with Lentils (Pantry Staple Recipe)
- Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce — Nut Free!
- Almond Butter Red Curry Noodles
- Classic Vegan Pesto
Let’s make Baked Ziti!
Are you ready for my delicious baked ziti? You’re just a half an hour-ish away from this yummy meal! Leave me a note (and a rating) in the comments below and let me know how you like it!
Vegan Baked Ziti
- 1 pound ziti pasta (use gluten free if necessary)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 package vegan ground meat I like Impossible Meat (see notes for other options)
- 1 jar marinara sauce (I like the large jar of Rao's marinara from Costco)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (use gluten free if necessary)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Add salt to your water (a few teaspoons). Cook pasta according to package directions, leaving slightly al dente.
- In the meantime, brown the onion and 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a separate large pot for easy mixing later (or use a large skillet).
- Add the vegan ground meat to the onion, and brown and incorporate.
- Add the jar of marinara to the onion meat mixture and simmer while the pasta finishes.
- Mix the breadcrumb topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Once the pasta has cooked to the desired consistency, drain well. Add the pasta to the pot with the sauce in it. Mix well.
- Pour into a large casserole dish. Top the pasta mixture with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place the casserole dish into the oven and bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the breadcrumbs don't burn. Remove the pan when the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Garnish with fresh basil or parsley and enjoy!
Vegan Meat options:
- Impossible Meat
- Beyond Meat
- TVP ground beef crumbles
- 1 can lentils or cannellini beans