If you love pasta and lasagna, you’ll love this easy vegan baked ziti! It has the beautiful layering process of lasagna but uses regular pasta instead of sheets.
I love how it marries those two popular Italian dishes together.
Baked ziti is typically made using a layering system of marinara sauce (usually with either ground meat or sausage), pasta (normally ziti, which looks like penne, but is cut straight with no pattern), ricotta and finished with mozzarella and parmesan.
Traditionally, not a very vegan-friendly meal.
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To make things simpler (and vegan-friendly, of course), I’ve decided to omit the ricotta, sausage or other faux meats and focus on creating a delicious tomato sauce and a creamy, rich vegan white sauce that brings it all together nicely.
I’ve also decided to use ingredients that you’ll have in your pantry, opting out of using expensive vegan cheeses or obscure ingredients.
This dish, however, doesn’t compromise on flavour!
So if you’re looking for a fuss-free lasagna style dish, then this baked pasta dish will be a winner!
I have been making lasagna for years, but only on special occasions. Because let’s be honest, who wants to spend two hours in the kitchen preparing a meal?
Only recently did I start thinking of doing it a much quicker and easier way with a pasta bake instead.
You still get that rich flavour, oozy sauce, and layers but in half the time!
The use of red bell peppers gives the tomato sauce a beautiful depth and a richer flavour.
If you’re after a meal that the whole family will enjoy (vegan or not), then this meal will affordably feed a large group of people.
It can also easily be made gluten-free. Just switch out the normal pasta for gluten-free pasta! As easy as that.
Tips for the pasta used in this vegan baked ziti
Make sure that you undercook the pasta as it will keep cooking when you’ve put it in the oven. So to make sure you don’t get a mushy (still delicious) meal, cook it for a couple of minutes less than the instructions suggest.
So for example, if it says 13-15 minutes, cook it for 10 minutes.
You can use a few different pasta varieties. I’ve made it with penne, rigatoni and fusilli. I don’t have easy access to ziti, so this is why I haven’t used it in this recipe.
Don’t swap the tapioca starch
The reason you add a few tablespoons of tapioca starch to the white sauce is so that it has that the “cheese” topping binds together well.
Don’t swap it out for cornstarch or arrowroot as it won’t give the same effect. This is not to thicken it but to provide it with the slight stretch as a regular cheese would. If you don’t have access to it, just don’t use it.
You could, however, swap it for my vegan mozzarella cheese. Pour it over the top of the bake once the cheese has thickened in the pot (no need to shape it into balls). Then you’ll have a more “traditional” take on this dish.
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This vegan baked ziti is:
- Great meal for the whole family
- Super simple
- Easily made gluten-free
Other great vegan recipes:
- How to Make Vegan Béchamel Sauce
- My Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese (Vegan)
- Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna
- Creamy Vegan Potato Gratin
- 20-Minute Creamy Vegan Red Pepper Pasta
- Easy Vegan Gnocchi with a Simple Tomato Sauce
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