Vegan Baked Ziti
This Vegan Baked Ziti is delicious, hearty, and has two different plant-based cheeses! It’s the perfect comfort food that everyone will love.
I love Italian food, but so much of it isn’t plant-based. Luckily, many recipes are easy to adapt using vegan cheese!
This vegan baked ziti is arguably just as tasty as the three-cheese original. For the recipe, I used two different kinds of cashew-based vegan cheeses to replicate the gooey texture of a traditional ziti — a silky cashew sauce to replace the ricotta and mozzarella and a vegan parmesan made with cashews and nutritional yeast to replace the regular parm.
To ensure the integrity of the dish, I invited my friend, fellow mama, Italian food-aficionado, and creator of the delicious, organic, Pizza Girl sauce line, Caroline D’Amore, into the kitchen to help out.
Caroline comes from a long line of Italian cooks — her family owns the popular D’Amores Pizza in Los Angeles — and she knows her stuff. She recently launched her scrumptious sauce company after being discouraged by the lack of quality options on the market.
As a health-conscious mama, I can attest that it can be hard to find marinara that is appropriate for babes, i.e. low-sugar and low-sodium, so I was stoked to try Caroline’s new line. Not only are the sauces super healthy, they’re also really, really flavorful.
Before we got down to business, I had Caroline fill me on how her company came to be.
W: Why “Pizza Girl” – I know there’s a fun back story to how you got in the biz and how you came up with the name?
C: “Well I grew up in a pizza family – my family owns D’Amore’s Pizza around Los Angeles, so everywhere I went, people just called me ‘pizza girl’, and it drove me crazy – which is why I got out of the business and became a DJ.
But once I had my daughter, I wanted to feed her high-quality foods and ingredients, and I noticed there was a lack of this in sauces, which is why I started the Pizza Girl sauce line.”
W: How is Pizza Girl different from other sauces on the market?
C: “Pizza Girl is locally-sourced, all organic, no added sugars, no preservatives, and low-sodium.”
W: You’re also a mom – what’s your favorite plant-based recipe to make with your daughter?
C: “I’ve never made a vegan baked ziti, so this one could be our favorite!”
I’m hoping it will be! After we finished and she tried the recipe, Caroline said she was impressed by how good it was. Whether it will make its way to the menu of her family’s restaurant is another story.
“I’m not just saying this, it’s really good for a vegan ziti,” said Caroline. “It’s super clean, flavorful. This is excellent.”
I’ll take it :)
Watch the video for the recipe and to learn more about Pizza Girl!
- 1 pound whole wheat penne or ziti pasta, cooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 (15 oz) can lentils, drained and rinsed
- 1 (24 oz) jar of pasta sauce (we love Pizza Girl Marinara)
- 1 cup cashews, soaked in very hot water for 10 minutes
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- ½-1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In a sauce pan, saute garlic and onions with olive oil, 3-5 minutes. Add lentils and marinara and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Combine all cheese sauce ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree until smooth.
- In a blender or food processor, pulse cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt until flakey.*
- Combine pasta + lentil marinara mixture.
- In a baking dish, layer half the pasta, half the lentil/marinara sauce, and half of the cheese sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Top with vegan parmesan.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
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Weigh in: Have you ever had vegan ziti? What is your favorite plant-based Italian dish?