Vegan Life | Recipes

Vegan Baked Ziti

April 26, 2021

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side view of vegan baked ziti in a casserole dish

For the longest time, I never wanted to even attempt a vegan baked ziti recipe because I thought nothing could live up to the original. But after some trial and error, I was excited to learn that I was so wrong! This recipe uses my homemade vegan mozzarella, which melts and stretches like the real thing; it also uses my tofu ricotta, and the sauce is loaded with lentils instead of meat.

You will want to prepare your cashew mozzarella a few hours ahead of time (preferably a day ahead of time) to give it time to chill and firm up. The marinara sauce is a huge part of the flavor of this recipe, so be sure to use a good one, such as Rao's. You can also make your own sauce if you prefer.

This recipe will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week. I don't recommend freezing it, since it will affect the texture of the pasta.

ziti on plate side angle with basil
With meaty lentils and a stretchy vegan mozzarella, everyone will love this plant-based baked ziti!

Vegan Baked Ziti

Yield14 servings

Prep Time40 minutes

Cook Time70 minutes

Total Time110 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 batches vegan mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced
  • 1 batch tofu ricotta
  • 1 cup dry green or brown lentils
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced (about 6 cloves)
  • 3 3/4 cup marinara sauce (36 oz.; about 1.5 24-oz jars)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 16 oz. ziti

Instructions

  1. Before you begin, be sure that your cashew mozzarella and tofu ricotta are ready to use. The mozzarella will need time to cool before it can be sliced or grated. I recommend preparing the mozzarella the day before making the baked ziti.

  2. Cook your lentils according to package instructions; drain and set aside.

  3. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Add your yellow onion and cook for about 7-10 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional one minute. Then, add your marinara sauce, maple syrup, and water and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Stir in lentils and set aside.

  4. Boil your ziti for about 8 minutes (or 2 minutes less than the package recommendation; your ziti will soften as it bakes). Drain and combine the ziti with the sauce and lentils in a large mixing bowl.

  5. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Assemble your baked ziti in a 3- to 4-quart casserole dish. Spread half of your ziti-sauce-lentil mixture across the bottom, then top with half of your tofu ricotta and half of your cashew mozzarella. Repeat your layers with the remaining half of ziti, ricotta, and mozzarella. Bake for 35-40 minutes (no need to cover), then let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    baked ziti layers in a casserole dish; left to right: ziti and sauce, ricotta, mozzarella

Notes & Hints

For the best flavor, be sure to use a high-quality sauce such as Rao's, or use your own homemade sauce, if desired.

If you want to grate your mozzarella, you will need time for it to harden, so plan ahead!

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in the oven at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/14 of recipe; Calories: 356Fat: 14 g.; Saturated Fat: 5 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 597 mg.; Carbohydrates: 46 g.; Fiber: 5 g.; Sugar: 6 g.; Protein: 12 g.; Vitamin A: 0 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 2 mcg.; Vitamin C: 4 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 46 mg.; Iron: 2 mg.; Potassium: 520 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

overhead view of vegan baked ziti on a plate with basil
StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.