It's cozy, cheesy and completely vegan! My vegan pasta bake is the one pan meal you need for a comforting weeknight dinner.
One thing I picked up from the grandmas and great aunts in my life is the beauty of a casserole. The combination of pasta, veggies and cheese truly exemplifies how sometimes in the kitchen, simplicity is key.
I know a lot of you are plant-based, so this vegan pasta bake is a cross between your classic casserole and a mac & cheese. Use whatever veggies you have, add your pasta, cheese and voila! Dinner is ready.
Whether you are vegan or just looking for a vegetarian pasta recipe, this pasta bake is like a hug in your tummy.
Why This Recipe is Dietitian Approved
- Dump and bake. It's one pan with no boiling pasta required. Prep all your ingredients, dump and bake! No frills and super weeknight friendly.
- Plant-based protein. Vegan meals can sometimes be low in protein, but we're using chickpea pasta for a boost of plant protein in this recipe. We love a pasta that's 2 in 1!
- Customizable. I've provided a base recipe with veggies I like, but feel free to use any veggies you have. This vegan pasta bake is a great clear-out-the-fridge meal, when your veggies are on their last leg.
- Chickpea pasta
- Marinara sauce
- Coconut milk
- Yellow onion
- Salt and pepper
- Vegan parmesan
- Vegan mozzarella
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish with olive oil.
Place dry pasta, marinara sauce, coconut milk, onion, garlic, zucchini, spinach and spices and half of the plant-based parmesan cheese shred in the baking dish and stir well to incorporate.
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, stir in the spinach and top with the remaining plant-based parmesan cheese shred and mozzarella cheese shred.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melts.
Top with fresh basil for serving.
Substitutions and Variations
To make gluten-free: Most chickpea pastas are certified gluten-free, however always check your labels.
To make vegan: This recipe is naturally vegan.
To make nut-free: Ensure your vegan cheese is nut-free.
Missing an ingredient? Try these:
- Chickpea pasta: I chose chickpea pasta for its protein content, however any pasta will work. If you use another type of protein, I recommend pairing with another protein source like tempeh, tofu or chickpeas.
- Coconut milk: Any vegan milk, cream or even water will work. Note that these options may not be as creamy.
- Vegan cheese: Use your vegan cheese of choice. If you can't find vegan mozzarella, increase the amonut of shredded mozzarella and add 2 tablespoon of nutritional yeast into the mixture. Alternatively, you can leave out the cheese and skip the extra baking step.
- Vegetables: Use any veggies you have. Kale, bell peppers, and mushrooms would also be delicious!
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days in an airtight container. To freeze, divide the vegan pasta bake into containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight and microwave for around 2 minutes, or until hot.
For best results, I recommend using a high quality vegan cheese substitute that MELTS! I find that not all cheese substitutes melt the same, so Vitalite is my current favourite.
I do not recommend adding the spinach into the pasta mixture while you are adding the rest of the vegetables. Spinach will wilt quickly when it is exposed to heat, so if you add it at the beginning it will disappear by the time you eat it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes you can! This is a great meal prep option. You can bake the dish, cover with tinfoil and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat from frozen: bake with foil on at 375F for about 1 hour, until the pasta bake is hot in center. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese becomes golden, about 15 minutes.
To reheat after defrosting in fridge: bake with foil on at 375F for about 45 minutes.
I used the vegan parmesan and shredded mozzarella from Vitalite - best melting factor!
From a nutrition perspective, both options have similar amounts of fat and sodium. Regular dairy-based cheese is higher in protein and calcium, however if you are vegan this just means you'll need to prioritize these nutrients elsewhere!
More Vegan Recipes
I love experimenting with vegan recipes in my kitchen!
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! If you decide to make this vegan pasta bake, don't forget to snap a photo and tag me on Instagram- @nourishedbynic or leave a comment and rating below letting me know how you liked it!
Vegan Pasta Bake (No Boil)
- 16 oz fusilli chickpea pasta uncooked
- 28 oz marinara sauce
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- ½ cup yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1.5 cup vegan parmesan divided
- 3 cups spinach
- ½ cup vegan shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 13x9-inch rectangular baking dish with olive oil.
- Place dry pasta, marinara sauce, coconut milk, onion, garlic, zucchini, spinach and spices and half of the plant-based parmesan cheese shred in the baking dish and stir well to incorporate.
- Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, stir in the spinach and top with the remaining plant-based parmesan cheese shred and mozzarella cheese shred. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese melts.
- Top with fresh basil for serving.