Vegan Baked Ziti is a comforting and delicious dinner any day of the week. We replaced the dairy and meat found in classic baked ziti recipes with simple vegan alternatives AND added colorful veggies just for fun. It's easily customized, a great way to feed a crowd, and leftovers taste amazing! Gluten-free and oil-free options.
If you love lasagna you've gotta love baked ziti. It's like lasagna's laid-back, low-maintenance best friend. You get all the amazing flavors of lasagna without having to fuss with broken noodles or careful layering.
And unlike classic baked ziti, which is full of dairy - and sometimes meat - this vegan baked ziti is loaded with plant-based goodness (ahem, fiber is the new protein, you know).
It has the pasta and tomato sauce you expect and instead of dairy, the ricotta in this recipe is a classic almond ricotta, which bakes up like a creamy and comforting, dairy-free dream! If you've never tried it in a hot dish before, I promise you'll be impressed.
Or for even more protein, try this creamy vegan ricotta. It's made with firm tofu, lemon juice, and plain vegan yogurt, and comes together in 1 bowl in about 5 minutes. Seriously easy!
- ziti - ziti is a small, tubular pasta with a smooth surface. It's not always as easy to come by as other similar-sized pastas, like penne. Feel free to substitute as needed.
- tomato sauce - any jarred marinara you enjoy is perfect. You'll need about 1 ½ jars (24 oz. each). You can also use canned crushed tomatoes if that's what you have in the pantry, and add an extra pinch of Italian herbs.
- ricotta - my favorite vegan ricotta is made with a base of firm tofu, lemon, and plain non-dairy yogurt. If you prefer a soy-free option I recommend this easy 2-ingredient almond ricotta.
- sausage - any Italian-style vegan sausage works well here. Use homemade vegan ground beef for a whole-food option or save time with a meat substitute like Beyond Beef.
- vegan parmesan - the ziti you see in the photos is topped with this easy homemade vegan Parmesan. For a creamier, melted cheese, you can use store-bought vegan shredded cheese or this pourable vegan mozzarella.
- veggies - traditionally ziti doesn't include the extra vegetables you see here, and you can obviously add, subtract, or swap them out as you like. But I figured why not add a little color and nutrition, right? I used onion, mushrooms, red bell pepper, and collard greens.
More veggie ideas:
During summer try zucchini or yellow squash. In fall and winter, shredded Brussels sprouts are a great option.
How to Make Vegan Baked Ziti
- Prep the homemade vegan Parm, if using (pictured). Alternatively, prepare this vegan mozzarella OR use store-bought shredded vegan cheese.
- Prep the vegan ricotta (takes 5 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. With about 2 minutes left on the timer, add the chopped collards or kale to the pot. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Saute the veggies, aromatics, and vegan sausage. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add half of a jar of marinara sauce to the saute pan. Stir and cook until hot.
- Return the cooked pasta and greens to the large pot. Add 1 jar marinara and stir so the pasta is well-coated in sauce.
- Spread half of the pasta into the casserole dish. Dollop half of the ricotta on top and gently spread around. Then, top with half of the vegetable mixture. Repeat the 3 layers, finishing with the veggies on top.
*If using my pourable cashew mozzarella instead of nut parm, pour it on top of the casserole and spread into a thin layer.
*Or if using vegan shreds, sprinkle all over the top, and cover the dish tightly with foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with nut Parm and bake for another 5 minutes or until piping hot in the center.
*If you covered the dish to melt the store-bought cheese, uncover and check to see if it's melted. Re-cover and bake for another 5 minutes if needed.
- ziti - use any gluten-free pasta you like. If you can't find ziti try penne or rigatoni.
- vegan sausage - if you're not into vegan sausage, or you want to easily transform this into a gluten-free meal, simply omit it. And not that you have to, but you could replace it with white beans or gluten-free Beyond sausages.
Baked Ziti FAQs
For one pound of ziti, I like to use at least 1 ½ (24 oz) jars of marinara. If you prefer extra saucy pasta, use the full two jars.
As long as all of the pasta is thoroughly covered in sauce, it shouldn't dry out or need to be covered. However, if you plan to use store-bought shredded vegan cheese on top, cover the dish with foil so it melts properly. If you use my homemade liquid vegan mozzarella, you don't need to cover the dish.
Yes, baked ziti can be frozen for up to 2 months. Once the leftovers are cool, freeze in one large portion or individual portions.
Individual servings reheat well in the microwave. To reheat the whole casserole, cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until heated through.
Always salt the pasta water. Cover the pot of water to help it quickly come to a boil, then add 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt and the dry pasta. Stir, return to a boil, and cook uncovered until al dente.
Plan ahead. Since this recipe uses two homemade vegan cheeses, ricotta and parmesan (or mozzarella), it does require some planning ahead. The great thing is that the cheeses are quick, easy, and can be made in advance.
But if you find yourself short on time, you can substitute store-bought vegan mozzarella. Spread it all throughout the dish, inside and on top. Cover the baking dish with foil to help the cheese melt.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Baked Ziti. If you try it I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe, and tag @myquietkitchen on instagram to show off your delicious dish.
Vegan Baked Ziti With Vegetables
- 16 ounces dry ziti - or other small tube pasta
- 8 ounces collard greens or kale, thick stems removed, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 vegan Italian sausage links, chopped - or 14 oz. of your favorite vegan crumbles/meat sub
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 cups of your favorite marinara sauce - about 1 ½ (24 oz) jars
- 1 ½ to 2 cups vegan ricotta - tap for the tofu ricotta recipe; see Notes for almond ricotta link
- salt and pepper
- homemade vegan nut Parm - or 1+ cups cashew mozzarella or 2 cups store-bought vegan cheese shreds
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. With about 2 minutes left on the timer, add the chopped collards or kale to the pot. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil, if using. Cook the onion until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and red pepper, and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the garlic, sausage, oregano, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of a (24 oz) jar of marinara sauce to the saute pan. Stir and cook until hot.
- Return the cooked pasta and greens to the large pot. Add 1 jar marinara sauce and stir so the pasta is well-coated in sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spread half of the pasta in a 13x9 baking dish. Dollop half of the ricotta on top and gently spread around. Then, top with half of the vegetable mixture. Repeat the 3 layers, finishing with the veggies on top. NOTE: If using shredded vegan cheese, sprinkle evenly on top, and cover the dish tightly with foil (trapping moisture inside is the trick to getting vegan cheese to melt!).
- Bake for 25 minutes. NOTE: If using my pourable cashew mozzarella, add it once the ziti has been in the oven for 10 minutes. Pour it on top and spread into a thin layer (no need to cover the dish). Otherwise, sprinkle with nut Parm, and bake for another 5 minutes or until piping hot in the center. *If you covered the dish to melt the store-bought cheese, uncover and check to see if it's melted. Re-cover and bake for another 5 minutes if needed.
- Garnish with more Parm and fresh basil or parsley, if desired. Serve hot.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
Made this tonight (with your tofu ricotta). It was delicious!
Excellent flavor and easy to make …well once all the chopping is done!
I used frozen kale and your tofu/cashew ricotta. It was Devine. First time making both and I must say I will seek out more recipes for the ricotta!
This looks and sounds delicious and the almond ricotta is a very creative twist. Thanks for sharing, Lori! 🙂
Thank you, Nicole! And thanks for stopping by! 🙂