We Might Just Add This One-Pot Vegan Baked Ziti To Our Regular Dinner Rotation
Whipping up vegan versions of favorite foods from pre-vegan days is absolutely possible—it's all about clever swaps, careful ingredient selection, and realistic expectations. And that's what Megan Sadd's new cookbook Vegan Yum is all about: mastering vegan cooking that's still just as delicious as anything else (or maybe even more so).
This recipe hits all the best marks of a comforting recipe—it's got layers of flavor but is still relatively simple to put together. "Toasty walnuts and lentils add heartiness and crunch, while fennel adds a bright, springy flavor to the sauce."
Not to mention, it takes only one pot to make. "The only thing better than making this hearty, cozy pasta dish is the lack of dishes in the sink when you're finished," writes Sadd.
While it's got plenty of plant-based protein as is, she says for added protein, you can choose a chickpea-based pasta and opt for the optional vegan sausage.
One-Pot Lentil Walnut Baked Ziti
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups cooked brown lentils
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 vegan Italian sausage links (optional)
- 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp. ground fennel
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 3 cups water, plus more if needed
- 12 oz. ziti pasta
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup cashew cream
- ½ cup vegan Parmesan
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 500°F. Pour the oil in a large, deep, oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add the lentils, walnuts, and sausage (if using). Cook until browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, fennel, and salt. Stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the 3 cups of water and dry pasta to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low boil; cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove the cover occasionally to stir. Meanwhile, chiffonade the basil.
- Mix in the cashew cream and Parmesan cheese. If the sauce boils down too quickly, add more water ¼ cup at a time to thin. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the nutritional yeast. Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top. Bake the ziti until the cheese is melty and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Top with basil and serve.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.