Vegan Pasta Bake is a delicious casserole that's ready in an hour. Add your favorite vegetables like zucchini and mushrooms to make it a complete meal.
Some people think that by eating plant based, they'll have to give up their comfort food favorites. But that can't be farther from the truth.
A lot of us grew up eating casseroles loaded with creamy sauces which weren't exactly healthy. However, it's easy to take nutritious fresh vegetables and incorporate them into our old favorite recipes.
Some of the vegan baked dishes I love to make include Tofu Scramble Tater Tot Casserole and Black Bean Quinoa Casserole. Personally I think they taste even better than the dishes I ate as a kid containing condensed soup and canned vegetables. (And if you're like me and love reading about the origins of cooking and food, check out great moments in casserole history.)
Anyway, I think you're really going to enjoy this Vegan Pasta Bake. It's a lot easier and faster than making a traditional lasagna, and it's just as delicious.
Vegan Pasta Bake can be made with any of your favorite vegetables. I chose zucchini and brown cremini mushrooms in this version.
But I generally choose whichever vegetables look good at the market. Or whatever I have in my refrigerator that needs using up.
Some of my go-to choices for this vegan pasta bake are spinach, eggplant, onions and kale. And I always add fresh garlic for extra flavor.
Besides the vegetables, you only ingredients you'll need a few ingredients to make this recipe:
- short pasta such as penne
- marinara pasta sauce
- shredded vegan cheese
I buy a box of gluten-free pasta, a large jar of sauce, and a bag of shredded plant-based cheese from my local supermarket, along with whatever vegetables I'm in the mood for.
Preparing this recipe is quick and simple.
Start by sauteing the vegetables in a little oil or water. I like to cook them until most of the liquid from the vegetables has evaporated so I don't end up with a soggy penne pasta casserole.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package since the noodles will continue to cook in the oven. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
Then add the cooked vegetables and a jar of marinara sauce. There's no need to heat the sauce first.
Mix it all up, then we're ready to layer the ingredients. Start by adding half of the pasta mixture to the casserole dish. Then add half the shredded vegan cheese.
Repeat with the rest of the pasta and cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then carefully remove the foil, and bake the casserole for another 15 minutes or until everything is heated through and the cheese is melted.
Serve this baked pasta casserole with a side salad or enjoy it on its own. It's perfect for any night of the week as part of a healthy plant-based Mediterranean diet.
And for even more delicious vegan recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook Group for support, inspiration, and fun.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days and reheated in the oven or microwave. I always look forward to the leftovers for lunch.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Vegan Pasta Bake
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound zucchini, (about 2 medium) sliced into half moons
- 8 ounces mushrooms, (white or brown) sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces penne, (or other short pasta) gluten-free, if preferred
- 32 ounces marinara sauce, (homemade or store-bought)
- 8 ounces shredded vegan cheese, (about 1 ½ cups) Mozzarella flavor, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add the zucchini and the mushrooms. Saute, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and most of their liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta for about 2 minutes less than indicated on the package directions. Drain and return to the pot.
- Pour the marinara sauce over the drained pasta. Add the cooked vegetables, then toss well to combine the pasta, sauce, and vegetables. (There is no need to heat the marinara sauce first.)
- Transfer half of the pasta mixture to a 3-quart casserole dish. Top with half the vegan cheese. Add the rest of the pasta mixture then top with the remaining vegan cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for 15 more minutes or until heated through and the vegan cheese is melted.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.