How to make Vegan Baked Ziti that’s creamy, cheesy, and absolutely delicious! It’s made with gluten-free noodles, marinara sauce, easy vegan ricotta cheese, and homemade vegan mozzarella sauce.
Homemade Vegan Ricotta
- 1 ½ cups slivered blanched almonds or raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove or 3 cloves roasted garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- ⅓ cup water
Homemade Vegan Mozzarella
⅔ cup raw cashews
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove fresh garlic
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon agar powder, this is the one I use
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons tahini
1½ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
⅓ cup (67g) refined coconut oil
1⅔ cups water
For the baked ziti
- 12 oz. (1 box) ziti or penne pasta, gluten-free if needed, cooked as directed on the box
- 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, diced
Salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Prepare a 9” square baking dish or similarly sized casserole dish by lightly greasing with olive oil. Set aside.
- Begin by making the homemade cheeses if you are making them from scratch. If you’re using store bought cheeses, skip to the “prepare the baked ziti” section.
For the homemade ricotta
- Add all ricotta ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed (~2 minutes). It should be well pureed and not chunky. If the mixture needs some help blending, add water a little at a time until you’ve reached a thick, creamy texture.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for overall flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for acidity.
For the homemade mozzarella
- Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour out into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. It will start to thicken — as it does, continue to stir very vigorously.
- As soon as it starts to bubble along the sides, set your timer for 2 minutes and keep stirring, after the 2 minutes has timed out, remove from the heat. Keep covered until ready to use.
To prepare the baked ziti
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add in the diced onions and mushrooms and sauté until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have evaporated all of their water and are starting to brown slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the marinara sauce.
- If your pan is large enough, add the pasta to the pan and stir to combine. Alternatively, you can pour the sauce over the pasta in a large mixing bowl.
- Dollop on the ricotta cheese and stir gently — you want to incorporate it slightly but not completely mix it into the sauce.
- Pour the pasta into the prepared casserole pan and then pour or dollop the mozzarella cheese sauce over the top. You may have some leftover – if you do, just pour into a bowl or small container and keep it in the fridge.
- At this point, you can store the baked ziti tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to two days.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is browning and bubbling.
- Garnish with fresh herbs, I used fresh basil.
The Vegan Mozzarella recipe is adapted from Alison at Loving It Vegan – she makes all sorts of amazing homemade vegan cheeses!
Keywords: vegan dinner, vegan baked ziti, gluten-free baked ziti, vegan mozzarella, vegan ricotta