Vegan Baked Ziti is an easy weeknight meal! This comforting pasta dish is made with cooked ziti noodles, marinara sauce, cashew cheese and optional vegan “meat”. Gluten free & Nut free options.

plate with serving of baked ziti on it, blue towel in background

This recipe was one of the first I ever posted to my website nearly 3 years ago. It remains one of my most popular recipes for a reason, and always receives rave reviews from everyone who tries it!

I decided to give it a fresh look with new photos, as well as improved instructions, but the recipe itself is unchanged from the original.

You’re going to love this Vegan Baked Ziti! It’s perfect to make when company comes over, a holiday dinner, or just a busy weeknight because it’s SO EASY.

Plus! It can be made gluten free if needed, whole grain or nut free. You can top the whole thing with some non-dairy cheese shreds, and add vegan ground “meat” to the dish if desired.

close up of vegan baked ziti on plate with a fork

How to make Vegan Baked Ziti, step by step

  1. Add cooked ziti noodles to a lightly greased casserole dish, then pour a jar of marinara sauce over the noodles. If adding vegan ground “meat”, add it now as well. Stir a little bit.
  2. Make the cashew cheese, then add it to the pasta. Stir lightly, but not too much, leaving pockets of cheese throughout. 
  3. Optional: Top with a bag of non-dairy cheese shreds, I used Daiya mozzarella.
  4. Bake, uncovered for 25 minutes until hot. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.  

collage of how to make vegan baked ziti

Special Tips & Substitutions

  • Gluten Free: Use gluten free pasta. You might not be able to find ziti, but a similar shape will work just fine. 
  • Nut Free: For a totally nut free option, use a bag of non-dairy cheese shreds instead of the homemade cashew cheese. Make sure your cheese isn’t made of nuts though! I do this sometimes just to save time.
  • Vegan “Meat”: Use a few cups (2-2 1/2 cups, or one bag) of vegan ground “beef” such as Gardein, Beyond Beef or another brand. You could also add a few sliced vegan italian sausages (I love Field Roast brand). I don’t cook them first, just add to the pasta and sauce frozen or cold.
  • Instead of topping with mozzarella non-dairy cheese, sprinkle with Vegan Parmesan instead.

casserole dish of vegan baked ziti with spoon in it.

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close up of vegan baked ziti on plate with a fork

Vegan Baked Ziti

Vegan Baked Ziti is an easy weeknight meal! This comforting pasta dish is made with cooked ziti noodles, marinara sauce, cashew cheese and optional vegan "meat". Gluten free & Nut free options.
4.98 from 39 votes

Ingredients

Cashew Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice from 1 large lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The Rest

  • 1 pound ziti noodles, gluten free if needed
  • 25 ounces marinara sauce ( 1 jar)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegan ground "beef" OR 2-3 sliced vegan sausages, optional
  • 1 bag non-dairy mozzarella cheese shreds, optional for topping
  • Optional: Vegan Parmesan

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.
  • Make the Cashew Cheese sauce: Soak the cashews in boiling hot water for at least 5 minutes. Drain the cashews and add them to a high powered blender along with the water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder and salt. Blend until smooth, scraping the sides down as needed. Set aside.
  • Prepare pasta according to package instructions. You can cook the pasta while your cashews are soaking to save time. Drain the noodles and add to casserole dish.
  • Pour the marinara sauce and "meat", if using, on top of the noodles and stir to combine.
  • Spoon the cashew cheese on top of noodle/sauce mixture and stir gently, leaving pockets of cheese intact.
  • Sprinkle with non-dairy mozzarella cheese shreds OR about 1/2 cup of Vegan Parmesan.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes until hot throughout.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Gluten Free: Use gluten free noodles that are a similar shape to ziti, such as Penne. 
  2. Nut Free: Substitute a bag of non-dairy cheese shreds (check ingredients to ensure nut free) for the Cashew Cheese. 
  3. If you don't care for nutritional yeast, you may leave it out of the cheese.
  4. My favorite brands of vegan ground beef are Gardein or Beyond Beef crumbles. I like Field Roast brand Italian sausages for this recipe as well.
  5. This dish can be frozen. Once cooked, let it cool completely, then cover tightly with foil and freeze. When ready to serve, bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until warm.
  6. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days, making it a great meal prep for lunches.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 405kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Sodium: 863mg, Potassium: 660mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 432IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 106mg, Iron: 4mg

 

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