An easy to make baked Ziti with mushrooms and homemade vegan cheese sauce! This recipe contains only simple ingredients and requires less than 20 minutes of prep time. Your family will love this healthy vegan comfort food.
Vegan Baked Ziti
I am sure you know how much I love all kind of casseroles/bakes. They are super comforting, easy to make, and taste delicious! Do you love vegan lasagna but fear it is too complicated to make? Try this vegan baked Ziti recipe which is equally delicious but much easier and quicker!
I love this baked Ziti recipe because of the following reasons:
- It requires less than 20 min of prep time.
- It’s 100% vegan (dairy-free).
- It contains only simple ingredients.
What Is Baked Ziti?
As per Wikipedia: Baked ziti is a popular casserole made with ziti pasta and a Neapolitan-style tomato-based sauce characteristic of Italian-American cuisine. It is a form of pasta al forno.
Typically, the ziti are first boiled separately while a tomato sauce is prepared, which may include cheese, ground meat, sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and more. The cooked and drained ziti are then combined with the sauce, which may be layered with additional varieties of cheeses, baked in the oven, and served hot.
Now before everyone (especially Italians) gets angry at me… Yes, I didn’t use Ziti noodles. I used “Penne” because I prefer eating gluten-free pasta and gluten-free Penne is easily available where I live! However, you can make this recipe with Ziti noodles or any kind of pasta (e.g. Rigatoni), of course! No big deal! 😀
How to Make A Vegan Baked Ziti?
You know, I always try to make my recipes as simple as possible and this one is no exception. I took 8 step-by-step photos for you, which you can see below. Here is what you need to do to make your vegan baked Ziti:
- First, you need to cook the pasta and chop the mushrooms.
- Fry mushrooms in the pan.
- Prepare the flavorful marinara sauce and pour some of it into the casserole dish.
- Add pasta to the casserole dish.
- Top with mushrooms.
- Add the remaining sauce,
- And stir to combine.
- Finally, top with the best homemade vegan cheese sauce and bake in the oven until perfection!
I promised you that it’s going to be super easy. There is really no excuse not to try this recipe. 🙂
I love making this baked Ziti with mushrooms because mushrooms will always remain my favorite. However, if you aren’t a mushroom fan, simply leave them out or replace them with one of the following ingredients:
- Bell Pepper
I love that this baked Ziti is so versatile and easy to make!
Simple Baked Ziti Ingredients
You probably already have most (if not all) of the simple ingredients at home. Here is what you will need for this recipe:
- Ziti or Penne or Rigatoni noodles (regular or gluten-free)
- Marinara sauce
- Soy sauce
- Balsamic vinegar
- Plant-based milk
- Nutritional yeast flakes
- Tapioca flour
- Different spices
You can use store-bought vegan cheese instead of my homemade vegan cheese sauce of course. It takes only a few minutes to make and it doesn’t contain cashews. Another bonus is that you won’t need a blender or food processor! But if you already happen to have store-bought vegan cheese in your fridge, go ahead and use it. 🙂
Some Helpful Tips
- Prepare the marinara sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge. It saves time and is more convenient.
- You can also cook the noodles ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the casserole. I prefer it when the pasta is freshly cooked though!
- Don’t overcook the pasta otherwise, it will get mushy in the casserole dish!
- Use a broiler (if available) for the last 3-4 minutes of the baking time to achieve a nice browning.
This Vegan Baked Ziti is:
- Relatively low-fat
- Easy to make with simple ingredients
- Perfect for families with kids
- Much healthier than other baked Ziti recipes
Should you recreate this healthy vegan baked Ziti recipe, please leave a comment and rating below and don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram or Facebook post with @elavegan and #elavegan because I love to see your remakes! If you love casseroles definitely also check out the following recipes:
- Cheesy Rice & Bean Casserole
- Easy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Cheesy Pasta Bake
- Creamy Potato Bake
- Vegan Moussaka
Vegan Baked Ziti
- 9 oz (250 g) Ziti noodles or similar shape (e.g. Rigatoni, Penne)
- 20 oz (560 g) marinara sauce
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 batch vegan cheese sauce or store-bought vegan cheese
- One 15 oz can mushrooms or use fresh
- 1/2 tbsp oil or use water if oil-free
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Fresh herbs to garnish
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging but reduce the cooking time by about one minute. The pasta should be al dente and not mushy!
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
- Chop mushrooms and mince the garlic cloves.
- Heat oil (or water) in a skillet over medium heat, add mushrooms, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
- In a medium-sized bowl or saucepan combine marinara sauce, minced garlic, oregano, onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika, a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional), salt, and pepper. Stir with a whisk or a spoon to combine.
- Pour some sauce into the casserole dish (mine measures 9"x6" resp. 23x15 cm but you can also use a 8x8 pan) and add cooked pasta.
- Top with mushrooms, add the remaining marinara sauce and stir to combine.
- Make a batch of my vegan cheese sauce and pour it on top. You can, of course, also use store-bought vegan cheese of choice!
- Bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. You can use a broiler for the last 3-4 minutes if you like. Enjoy!
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
If you are using Pinterest, feel free to pin the following photo:
I doubled the recipe to 2x (8 servings) but just below the directions it says the directions are for 4 servings. I’m confused.
Hi Ahmie, if you do not double the recipe and use it as originally written (1x) then it makes 4 servings (that’s what is mentioned in the recipe notes). If you double it, then it will be for 8 servings.
Hi Ela. I found your website today and can’t wait to try several of your recipes!
One thing I’ve wondered as I’ve looked through a few of the recipes (like this one for ziti) is the size or dimensions of the baking dish you are using. I couldn’t find that listed in the recipes when a baking dish was used. I’ll be likely to guess and choose a dish that is either too large or too small.
Would it be possible to include the dimensions of the dish when you use bakeware in a recipe? (Even if you put it in metric, I can convert it to inches.)
Hi Glory, I always add the dimensions – also in this recipe. Check step 6 which says:
Thank you, Ela. I completely missed that. I should do a Ctrl+F search on the pages.
No worries, Glory! 🙂
Hi Ela. Second time making this. So Delicious and simple to make. ???? thank you
Hi Rose, so good to hear you enjoyed this dish. Thanks for your sweet feedback. 🙂
Really good! I didn’t have mushrooms so used zucchini and carrots. My cheese sauce didn’t look like the pictures (not as yellow and a bit thicker but my can of coconut milk was only 160mL so less than the recipe calls for) but it tasted delicious! Will definitely remake.
I am so glad it turned out delicious. Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
This is so good! I was trying to use up some leftovers so I actually replaced the mushrooms with vegan sausage and added spinach, and it was still delicious. Nutritional yeast worked in lieu of a cheese sauce (didn’t have any), although I’m sure that a sauce would just make it even more delicious,
Sounds yummy with vegan sausage! Happy it turned out amazing. 🙂
What marinara sauce do you use? Your recipes look great! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks! I like the marinara sauce from Pomi. 🙂
Hi! I’m looking forward to making this! Is balsamic vinegar the same as balsamic vinaigrette?
This has now become one of my go to recipes and I’m making it again tonight! Thank you for sharing your creative foodie recipes with us all????????
You are very welcome, Shereen! I am so glad you love my recipes. 🙂
My husband and I are newly vegan in the last few months and this was one of the first meals we made and it’s still our go-to. So simple and we load it with zucchini and spinach. Soooooo delicious thank you for sharing!!!
A close second favourite is the mayo free, oil free pasta salad!!
Love from Canada 🙂
Sounds wonderful, Koryn! Thanks so much for your amazing feedback. 🙂
Amazing recipe. I added finely chopped tempeh to the sauce and it was seriously so good. My meat eating husband AND my fussy toddler both had seconds. The cheese sauce is amazing. Would highly recommend.
Tempeh in addition sounds amazing! I am so glad you all liked the recipe. 🙂
Oh Ela, your pasta looks delicious! I love mushrooms! And that cheese sauce looks so yummy, definitely on my to-do list!
Yay! I hope you will like it, Jodi! 🙂
Hi Ella, This looks amazing! Is there anything you would suggest in place of the mushrooms? They are the vegetable (fugus, really) that I don’t like. Would maybe lentils or vegan ground beef work?
Hi Gayle! Yes, you could definitely use lentils or vegan ground beef instead. 🙂
Is this recipe freezable? I work a lot and I like to meal prep for my husband, so he could just heat it up when I’m not at home. Thank you.
Hi Anne, to be honest, I never tried freezing it. But I am pretty sure that it’s freezable. 🙂
Hi! I’m not vegan but I love your recipes and regularly make them as you have suggested or as vegetarian instead. I have two questions. What is in marinara sauce?. If you were making fresh, what are the key ingredients? (I’m from Australia and marinara sauce is not something we have here). Secondly, if you were adding mince meat, would you add at step 4? Thanks!
Hi Jacqui! I am glad you have tried out some of my recipes and make them on a regular basis. 🙂 Marinara sauce is a tomato sauce which also contains garlic, herbs, and onions. Since I am a vegan I really can’t answer your second question.
Love it Ela ???????????????? thank you
So happy you love it, Tanaya. 🙂
Looks delicious! I am new to vegan lifestyle & your blog inspires me in changing my eating habits without compromising the tasty food! Big thanks! 🙂
I’ve one question, where can I buy nutritional yeast from Germany & what is it called in German?; Do you have a preference?! 🙂
Hi Aya, I am so glad that my recipes are inspiring. Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 The German word for “nutritional yeast” is “Hefeflocken”. I actually have a German blog, did you see it? https://elavegan.com/de All my blog posts are in two languages. 🙂
This looks so delicious! I wish I could eat this now! Love Pasta ?
Thanks, Bianca! It’s one of my favorites. 🙂