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. This dish was terrific and jumped right to the top of my favorite pasta dishes. I made it with Gardein crumbles and vegan mozzarella. I plan to make it for a dinner party with carnivore friends. I’ll bet they won’t suspect it’s plant-based, and after they taste it, they won’t care. 🙂 Thank you.

    1. I’m so glad you loved the Ziti, and it’s become your favorite pasta dish! This is a great recipe for a dinner party! Thank you for sharing your great review and comments! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Deb! Thank you for your kind and wonderful words! I’m so glad you love my recipes. Thank you for using them! Happy cooking!

    1. If they are frozen, then yes I would, but if they are the refrigerated Field Roast ones, I just slice them up and add them in, they will get warm while the casserole bakes.

  2. I was a little worried when mixing in the cashew cheese that I had too much of it compared to the marinara sauce, but it was perfect!! So so delicious and super easy to make (coming from someone who very strongly dislikes cooking)!

    1. Thank you for taking your time to share your wonderful review and fun comments! I’m glad you cooked and that the recipe turned out perfect for you!

  3. Oh my gosh, this was fabulous! So creamy and delicious. Tastes just like the baked ziti of my youth in NY. I will definitely be making this again!

    1. I love that the ziti reminds you of your childhood ziti! A huge compliment! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, and happy cooking!

  4. I’ve made this recipe 3 times now. My family says they like it better than lasagna. I use Rigatoni pasta, not Ziti. I make the cashew cheese somewhat thin so it oozes down into the pasta. I top with Follow Your Heart brand Mozzarella style deli SLICES, it melts so much better than mozzarella shreds. I use Trader Joes Arrabbiata sauce. I also saute some green peppers, red onion and garlic with vegan sausage then layer that under the cheeze.

    1. Hi Alice. Thanks for sharing your review and wonderful ideas and comments! I’m glad your family is loving the ziti!

  5. Hi Nora! I would like to make this a day ahead of time. Do you recommend cooking it when I make it and reheating it, or simply keeping it in the refrigerator for a day before cooking? Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Hi Beth. Yes, this can be made ahead and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to pop it in the oven! Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks so much, Nora! Making a double batch tonight…one for us and one for some friends to bake tomorrow. Looks so yummy!

  6. This is a hit in our house! It’s simple, delicious and quick.  We’ve been making this for a couple years now. Thank you so much for the recipe! 

  7. absolute crowd pleaser. made this recipe several times and it’s one of our all time favs. Had omni family asking for the recipe! made with impossible ground beef

    1. I’m glad the ziti was a hit! I appreciate you taking your time to share your review and comments! Thank you!

  8. Gorgeohs recipe! I used regular penne pasta and soy chunks that I first spiced and topped with some vegan cheese I made myself. I also used walnuts instead of cashews and it worked great! Will def make again!

  9. This is absolutely amazing. I never liked pasta without dairy cheese. With this recipe, I don’t even miss it. Thank you for sharing 

  10. The whole family loves this. The kids have made it, and I make it from time to time for a hearty weeknight tea. We make our own tomato sauce and skip the grated vegan cheese (not yet found a shop-bought one we really like), and sometimes cook a handful of mushrooms to add to the mix. Plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day too.  Thank you Nora!

  11. Scrumptious!  Added onions, green pepper, and cropped kale into the marinara before stirring into the pasta, and chiffonade of fresh basil before serving, and WOW, just so rich and cheesy.  Outstanding recipe.  Thank you, Nora!

  12. This dish took me back to my dairy days! This could have easily tricked any customer at an Italian restaurant. Such cheeziness! I know what recipe I will be making when I am having cheeze cravings! Super hearty and scrumptious!

    1. I’m thrilled you love the baked ziti, Cheryl! Thank you for taking time to leave your kind review! It means a lot to me!

  13. i make this all the time! its so good and so easy. picky omni family loves it. i make a simple cashew parm to top it with instead of store bought vegan cheese and it comes out great! thank you for this recipe 🙂

  14. I made this for the 20th time today and just wanted to share that I didn’t have a lemon so I used a TSP of apple cider vinegar and 2 garlic cloves instead and the sauce is still very good! Thank you Nora ❤️❤️

  15. The cashew cheese was on point! I didn’t have any store bought cheese so we left it out. I added onion and next time (because there will be a next time), I might try adding mushrooms too. Thanks for a great and simple recipe that tastes like I spent way more time on than it actually took!

  16. Delicious and easy. Total crowd pleaser. I will admit I used Violife instead of making the cashew cheese. I don’t think there’s a tastier brand of vegan cheese.

      1. I have friends that have used macadamia nuts for recipes that call for cashews! I am even thinking sunflower seeds could work too (will alter taste).

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