My Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti is just how I always loved it: ooey-gooey, creamy, cheesy pasta topped with a simple sauce that’s bursting with flavor and more melted cheesy goodness on top, along with some crunchy bread crumbs. It’s still one of my husband's favorites, which makes his eyes light up. Just like Mom’s always did. Enjoy!
Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Lasagna:
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta (any shape you like)
- Kosher salt
- Simple Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
- Creamy Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
- 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds
- 1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
For the Simple Marinara Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Creamy Tofu Ricotta:
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Sautee the onion and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the crushed and diced tomatoes and stir. Mix in the spices and herbs.
- Cover and let cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Crumble the tofu in a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Mix until fully blended. (You can use a food processor but I prefer to use my hands and play with my food).
- To make the tofu ricotta creamier and more decadent, add vegan cream cheese. It’s soooo good, you could just eat it by the spoonful!
- Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, you can make the marinara sauce. When the water comes to a rapid boil, add a good amount of Kosher salt so that the pasta gets seasoned. Add the pasta, stir it around a bit and let cook until it is just shy of al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the creamy tofu ricotta. When the pasta is just shy of al dente, meaning it’s a little bit undercooked (remember it will cook further in the oven), drain it, reserving about ½ cup of the starchy cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the ricotta to the pasta. Pour in the starchy cooking water and toss well. In a large baking dish, add a ladleful of the marinara sauce to line the bottom of the dish. Transfer the pasta-ricotta mixture to the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Top with a generous amount of the marinara sauce. You might want to reserve some to spoon on top when you serve the dish. Add a layer of the mozzarella shreds.
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the oil. Use your fingers to mix it. The bread crumbs will become moist and crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the mozzarella shreds.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melting and the sauce is bubbling. Uncover the dish and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes or so. This helps the pasta to set.
- Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with extra marinara sauce, if desired. Enjoy!