A basic baked vegan pasta and eggplant casserole, this is the epitome of comfort food. You might think of it as a vegan baked ziti with something extra! Using simple ingredients you’ll find anywhere, a salad is all you need to make a great meal.
Vegan mozzarella gives this dish its yum factor. This hearty casserole makes a generous helping, and leftovers are fantastic.
What to serve with vegan pasta and eggplant casserole
As mentioned earlier, all you really need to round the meal out is a colorful salad.
However, if you want to add a little something more to the plate, a steamed or garlic-sautéed green vegetable (broccoli, broccolini, asparagus, or green beans) is always welcome. If you want to make a simple garlic-infused side dish, you can consider Easy Sautéed Broccoli Rabe with Garlic and Pine Nuts or Lemon-Garlic Broccolini.
Ingredients for Pasta and Eggplant Casserole
- Pasta (preferably tubular, like ziti or penne, but any sturdy short shape will work)
- Garlic, fresh
- Bell pepper, 1 medium, any color
- Eggplant, 1 large
- Pitted black olives, preferably cured, like Kalamata (you’ll need about ½ cup)
- Marinara sauce, meatless, 28-ounce jar
- Firm tofu, 14-ounce tub (you’ll need half)
- Mozzarella-style vegan cheese shreds, 8-ounce package
- Fresh parsley or basil, small bunch
From the pantry
- Olive oil
- Italian seasoning, or dried basil + dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Recipe adapted from Vegetariana by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 10 to 12 ounces short chunky pasta (preferably tubular, like ziti)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, cut into short narrow strips
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- ½ cup chopped pitted black olives (preferably cured, like Kalamata)
- 28-ounce jar good-quality meatless marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or 1 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano
- 7 to 8 ounces (about half of a tub) firm tofu, drained well and finely crumbled
- 8-ounce package mozzarella-style vegan cheese shreds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or sliced basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente (it will soften further in the casserole, then drain.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and bell pepper and cook over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplant and about ¼ cup water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the eggplant is about half done.
- Stir in the olives, sauce, Italian seasoning, tofu, and half of the vegan mozzarella shreds. Cook just until heated through.
- If your pan is large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta, add it to the pan. Otherwise, combine it with the sauce mixture in a mixing bowl. Either way, stir together until completely mixed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pasta mixture to an oiled 2-quart shallow baking dish. Top with the remaining vegan mozzarella.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the casserole begins to turn golden on the sides and top.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Top with chopped herb of your choice, then cut into loose squares or just scoop out to serve.
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