Here’s an easy vegan pasta casserole that has all the great flavors of lasagna with less hassle.
Lasagna has a timeless appeal, and is always such a hit, whether you make it for your family or take it to gatherings. But I find it a bit of a pain to make, what with having to arrange the noodles just so, and as for the no-cook noodles, it’s hard to find a vegan brand — they often contain egg. And if you just go ahead and use any uncooked lasagna noodles, the casserole can take up to an hour to bake.
A quick spin in the oven: This casserole only needs about 20 to 25 minutes in the oven — just enough time for the (vegan) cheese to melt and the flavors to meld.
You can use almost any kind of short, chunky pasta; when I last made this to photograph I used twists, as you can see, but other times I used a flatter pasta like bowties, which worked even better. Rombi would be perfect, I would think.
It almost goes without saying that you can vary the vegetables you use here; suggestions follow the recipe. Any vegetables used should be lightly steamed or sautéed first.
Just add salad: As with all hearty pasta dishes, a colorful salad is all that’s really necessary to complete the meal, but a bright green vegetable like asparagus, green beans, or broccoli doesn’t hurt!
- 1 pound pasta, any short shape (shells, twists, bowties, etc.)
- 28-ounce jar good-quality marinara sauce
- 15- to 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 8 ounces white or cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- 12.3-ounce package firm or extra-firm silken tofu, well mashed
- 8 ounces vegan mozzarella shreds
- Finely chopped parsley or chives for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Cook the pasta according to packaged directions until al dente, then drain and return to the pot.
- Pour in the marinara, crushed tomatoes, and seasoning blend and stir to combine with the pasta.
- Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish. You need a large casserole dish for this! If you don’t have one, split this between two casserole dishes.
- Pour half of the pasta into the casserole dish, then arrange of the sliced mushrooms and zucchini over it.
- Layer the mashed tofu over the vegetables. Follow with a layer of half of the mozzarella shreds.
- Finally, pour in the remaining pasta and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella shreds.
- Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes longer.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with optional parsley or chives. Let stand for 5 minutes or so, then serve.
You can make this in the morning or a day ahead of time, and leave unbaked (cover with foil). About a half hour before you’d like to serve it, bake at 400º F. as directed.
Variations: Substitute other vegetables for the ones recommended here. Small broccoli or cauliflower florets, chopped chard or kale, and diced eggplant are all great choices. You’ll want to use 4 to 5 cups veggies total, and in the case of these particular vegetables, lightly steam them. You can also add a layer of raw baby spinach any of these combinations or the one given in the main recipe.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 416Total Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 413mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 10gSugar: 16gProtein: 12g
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