I love Italian food and am always trying out new pasta and pizza creations. The other night, I randomly came up with this baked ziti that turned out to be a hit! I knew I had to share this recipe because it’s a total crowd-pleaser!
I had recently made a homemade marinara that was delicious. I had quite a bit of leftover sauce and wanted to repurpose it. I had tofu, basil and plenty of brown rice penne pasta on hand so I decided to make up a new baked ziti recipe! I already have made vegan baked ziti in the past but the recipe I usually use is quite heavy. Both the base sauce and the ricotta are nut-based so it tastes delicious but is really decadent. I wanted this to be light enough for a weeknight dinner but tasty enough to make for guests.
I owe most of the magic of this recipe to my favorite vegan, Chef Chloe Coscarelli! As you may already know I am obsessed with her creations! Her first book, Chloe’s Kitchen, is what inspired me to go vegan so her recipes are a go-to in my kitchen. If you don’t own her cookbooks yet, I highly recommend them. I’ve made her recipes for so many people and everyone loves them! This particular creation of mine uses her Rockin’ Ricotta (pg. 242) and Coscarelli Marinara (pg. 234) from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen so thank you to Chloe for veganizing these Italian staples!
Baked Ziti (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
For the ziti:
1 pound brown rice penne
4 cups jar marinara sauce*
For Chloe’s rockin’ ricotta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
14 oz extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3 cups fresh basil, plus extra for garnish
Optional: Sliced black olives
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in brown rice penne and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat and saute onion until softened for about 5-7 minutes.
3. Once softened and translucent, add to food processor along with garlic, tofu, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Pulse until well combined, leaving texture to the mixture.
4. Pour marinara over penne. Mix well.
5. Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil. Pour in half of penne. Cover this layer with half of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle on the olives if desired. Add the rest of the penne and then dollop on the remaining ricotta.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil chiffonade if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
*Note: I used Chloe’s homemade marinara on page 234 of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. Feel free to use store-bought or homemade marinara.