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
4.98 stars (106 ratings)

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.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


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


  • 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!


  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.


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
Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. Hi Nora, this sounds great! We love all your recipes. I was wondering if the tofu crumbles from your Ultimate Vegan Chili recipe would work as a ground beef sub here? Or would you season them differently?

    1. Thanks Faith, that always makes me happy to hear! Yes, you can absolutely use those tofu crumbles, as written, in the baked ziti recipe. I don’t think I’d change a thing personally. Enjoy!

  2. Delicious and super quick/easy to put together. I skipped the shredded cheese and it was still delicious. My non vegan family members absolutely loved it as well.

    1. I’m glad the ziti was a hit with your family! Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback!

  3. Sorry. Actually, it was asking how much vegan mozzarella cheese would you need to substitute for the cheese sauce.

  4. Hello! I love this recipe and want to make it for a mama friend who just had a baby to help with the postpartum period. She lives about fifteen minutes away. Do you think it’s best to just make it as usual, including baking, and then bring it over and they can warm in the oven for a few minutes before eating? Or should I make it up to the point of baking and then bring it over for her to bake?

    Also- can this be made ahead of time, like in the morning or afternoon or the day before for baking tomorrow? Thanks!

    1. Oh that is so kind of you. You could do this either way, but if possible I would make it without baking but all put together, bring it over, pop it in the oven and serve. Just so it’s warm when you serve it and it doesn’t dry out from getting baked again, which can happen. It’s probably best not to mix the pasta with the sauce and cheese until closer to serving, because the pasta will absorb the sauce/cheese and start to get dry. You could make everything, keep separate, then put it together right before going over though. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you! As a follow up question, if I use beyond beef (the kind that is “ground” and kept in the grocery store with the regular raw meat, not frozen) and wanted to cook it first, should I only cook partially and then mix it in or cook fully and not bake as long?or? Cook beyond beef fully and then still do the recipe as normal! Thank you!

  5. Another delivery recipe! Easy to make, because I had all the ingredients on hand. Definitely will be making this again…I don’t expect leftovers to last past tomorrow’s lunch!

  6. Incredible easy and delicious!! I cooked up some beyond beef and mixed in… now I can’t stop thinking about the leftovers in my fridge!

  7. Hello!
    This recipe looks wonderful.

    Question: Should I cook the vegan beef crumbles first, or just add them in frozen?

  8. Baked ziti was always our special meal when I was growing up. I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it brought me right back to my childhood. Thank you for this amazing recipe and for all of your recipes.

  9. This is the best ziti! I don’t care for bagged vegan cheeses so I just made the cheese sauce and topped with a little vegan parm. I used Gardein crumbles and did not cook them first- just mixed them in frozen and it was fine! This ziti is perfection as is, but I like that it could be changed up with whatever veggies we have on hand. Thank you!

  10. We have made this many times and it’s one of our favourites!
    Delicious on the first night and also so good re-heated as leftovers.

  11. I have this in the oven now. I cut the recipe in half. I think I added too much water to the cheese; it was smooth/flowing versus chunky. Is it supposed to be chunky? I guess we’ll see what happens.

    1. It’s okay if it was more of a sauce, it should thicken up in the oven and turn out just fine. Hope you enjoyed it!

  12. So amazing as always. Thank you for all the vegan recipes! You’ve become my go-to for delicious food. 🙂
    This recipe was awesome. Highly recommend a little red pepper flakes for a kick and using Miyokos vegan liquid mozzarella on top. SO DELICIOUS!

    1. I appreciate you using my recipes, Lauren! I’m honored to be your go-to for delicious recipes! Thanks for your stellar review and feedback!

      1. I don’t broil, but I’m sure that would be great too. It seems to melt fine for me. Just don’t use too much 😊

  13. We have had this so many times and love it! I’m making and freezing it for an upcoming event. Will I need to thaw it out prior to baking at 350 for an hour or is that the time and temp for the frozen dish? Thanks again and can’t thank you enough!

    1. Hi Laurie. I’m so glad you are loving the ziti! I would prepare the recipe up to the point of baking it, then cover well and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then bake as directed. You may need to bake it a little longer than normal. Happy cooking!

  14. Thank you Nora for another great recipe. I’ve made it many times and everyone loves it vegans and non alike. I don’t use any meat or cheez and it’s still wonderful. I’m wondering if I can make it, bring it somewhere and cook it several hours later?

    1. You’re so welcome, Joan! I’m so glad you loved the recipe 🙂 I like the ziti best when it’s fresh, but assembling it, then cooking it later should be fine. Try to boil the pasta until it’s almost al dente so it doesn’t become too mushy after baking.

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