This easy vegan meal features a rich tomato sauce and a protein-packed tofu “ricotta” for a comforting pasta bake!
If you have a bunch of vegetables wilting in your fridge, this recipe is for you! This recipe was inspired by the carrots, celery, onion and zucchini sitting in my crisper drawer. All you need to pull it together is a quick tomato sauce, pasta, and a block of tofu. Why tofu? For the creamy, flavor-packed “ricotta” topping.
For this particular dish, I used La Moderna pasta. This is a new-to-me brand that had a nice chew, was high in protein, and held up well in the dish. I cooked the pasta to al dente before baking it in the casserole–you can find the pasta here. (Yes, this is technically penne, not ziti pasta–but close enough!)
What is tofu ricotta?
While there are vegan cheeses that don’t quite nail the texture and flavor of dairy cheese, this tofu ricotta comes fairly close texturally. To make it, you’ll puree a firm block of tofu in the food processor. Add some herbs, nutritional yeast and lemon juice for flavor, and that’s it! It’s ready to be baked on top of your vegetable-packed pasta.
This will feed a HUGE amount of people, so if you need an easy vegetarian entree to feed a crowd…keep this in mind.
Vegan Baked Ziti
For the tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup diced carrots or a mix of carrots and celery
- 1 can 28 oz diced or crushed tomatoes tomatoes
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
For the tofu ricotta
- 1 14 oz container firm tofu, drained
- 1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: garlic powder, basil, oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- juice from half a small lemon
For the pasta bake
- 1 lb La Moderna penne pasta (uncooked)
- 1-2 large zucchini, sliced
Make the sauce
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, season with salt and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and season with basil, oregano and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, then turn off heat and set aside.
Make the tofu ricotta
- Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Set aside.
Make the ziti
- Cook the pasta according to directions, subtracting 1 minute to keep it al dente. Saute the zucchini in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the pasta and sauce together. Pour the pasta into a prepared 9×13 pan. Layer the zucchini on top, then dollop the tofu ricotta over the top, using your fingers to help spread it around evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until ricotta is browned.
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This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® & La Moderna but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyExceptionalPasta #GoldenHarvest http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV