This protein-packed Vegan Lentil Baked Ziti was made with baked pasta lovers in mind. It's so easy to make and is filled with layers of homemade tofu spinach ricotta and red lentils for a comforting & warm weeknight dinner you will love!
Whenever I think of baked ziti, it always reminds me of swim meets back in high school and "carb-loading" the day before a meet. While you won't find me carb-loading these days, my love for baked ziti has definitely stayed strong.
This version is eggless, dairy-free, & contains 18 grams of meatless protein per serving. Plus, it's honestly even more filling than the classic baked ziti we all know and love!
- Pasta (any shape, I used rigatoni)
- Red lentils
- Canned tomato sauce
- I used Rao's Arrabiatta Sauce which is SO good
- If you want to make your own sauce, my Vegan Tomato Gnocchi Sauce also would work great in this recipe!
- Firm tofu
- Fresh Spinach (frozen also works)
- Nutritional Yeast
- Fresh Parsley
- Lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
- Garlic powder
- Italian seasoning
Steps to make vegan baked ziti
This lentil baked ziti is super easy to make, though it does require a few steps and kitchen utensils. Here's a quick overview of the steps to make this dish:
Cook the pasta & red lentils
First, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, you'll also want to cook the red lentils.
I prefer using red lentils for this recipe because they break down and become mushier when cooked. This allows them to get blended into the sauce when you mix everything together in the pan. However, you can honestly use any lentil variety for this recipe. Keep in mind, while red lentils only take about 15 minutes to cook- brown or green lentils can take 30-40 minutes to cook.
Make the tofu ricotta
One of the really unique parts of this recipe is the tofu ricotta that honestly has the EXACT same consistency as regular ricotta. I first used this Tofu Ricotta in my Vegan Puttanesca Lasagna Recipe and, since then, even wrote a blog post about the recipe. If you're looking for additional ideas to use vegan ricotta outside of this tofu baked ziti, then check out that post!
Add to baking pan & bake
Once all the ingredients are prepped add the pasta, cooked lentils, tofu ricotta, and tomato sauce to a large baking dish. Then, stir so the noodles are completely coated in sauce and the lentils and tofu ricotta and mixed in.
Then, add to the oven and bake at 400F for about 10 minutes. Then, broil an additional 3-5 minutes to get the top nice and crisp. I like to serve this vegetarian baked ziti with a bit of vegan parmesan & fresh parsley on top! However, topping it with homemade vegan mozzarella before broiling is also so delicious.
FAQ & Expert Tips:
Yes! Just use a gluten-free pasta. All the other ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten-free.
I really tried to keep this recipe simple, but if you're looking to add more ingredients sauteed vegetables would also go really well in this dish! If you don't like lentils you can easily sub them for a plant-based ground meat or even cooked mushrooms.
If you want, you can totally add vegan cheese on top of the ziti before baking. I like my baked ziti with no cheese, but if you do add cheese my personal favorites are Chao, Miyokos, and Voilife. You could also try making a vegan cashew cheese and pouring it on top before baking.
Leftovers can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 4-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Freezing tofu does slightly change it's texture, so keep this in mind.
I truly hope you love this Vegan Baked Lentil Ziti! It's so nourishing, comforting, and the perfect dish to satisfy that baked pasta craving. Enjoy!
More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes You Will Love:
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Vegan Lentil Baked Ziti
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- First cook the pasta according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, also cook the lentils. First rinse the lentils and then add them to a pot with 2 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until softened, about 15-20 minutes.
- While the pasta and lentils are cooking, make the tofu ricotta. First, press the tofu between two towels or paper towels for about 5 minutes to release any excess water. Then, add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until thick and smooth.
- Add the cooked pasta, cooked lentils, and tomato sauce to a large 9*13 inch baking pan and stir together to until well mixed and all the noodles are coated with sauce. Then, add in the tofu ricotta in large chunks and gently mix into the mix so the ricotta is mostly on top of the pasta and lentils. If desired, add on any vegan cheese at this point.
- Add the pan to the oven and bake about 10-15 minutes. Then, change the setting to broil and broil another 3-5 minutes to crisp the top layer.
- Remove the ziti from the oven and top with vegan parmesan or fresh parsley. Then, serve and enjoy!
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days or freezer up to 1 month in a closed container.
- If you would like, using a homemade tomato sauce or adding vegan cheese on top of the ziti before baking are two great ways to make this dish even more delicious!