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plant-based veggie rigatoni bake

by Jackie Newgent  |  December 11, 2022  |  1 Comment

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_closeup

If you’re looking for a special, scrumptious, or lazy Sunday entrée, this comforting, 100% plant-based veggie rigatoni bake is my answer. Set aside about an hour and enjoy every step of making (and indulging in!) this dish – it’s worth it!

To make it

This dish is simpler to prepare than it may seem. First, you’ll make the plant-based ricotta-style filling by sautéing riced (extra-finely chopped) cauliflower with garlic and stirring it into plant-based ricotta along with lemon zest and sea salt.

Next, you’ll make the pasta. After you drain it, you’ll toss the pasta with a little olive oil, then generously with marinara sauce.

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_topped with spinach

Then you’ll layer everything into a baking dish: a little marinara sauce, half of the pasta, the plant-based cauliflower-ricotta mixture, baby greens, red pepper flakes, sea salt, the remaining pasta, the plant-based mozzarella, and finally a drizzling of olive oil. It just need to be steamy hot — so roasting time is only about 22 minutes.

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_topped with plant-based mozzarella

Immediately after removing your rigatoni bake from the oven, you’ll top it with vegan goat cheese, sliced grape tomatoes (or roasted veggies), and fresh basil. Voila!

To make it delicious

Be sure to choose plant-based “cheese” products that you truly enjoy. I’ve used three of my favorites in this plant-based veggie rigatoni bake:

And either make your own marinara sauce or use your favorite jarred variety. For a jarred option, I like to use Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara Sauce … since my body has “issues” with onions AND the sauce is sooo tasty!

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_with serving spoon

Got leftovers?

No problem! Store in the fridge in a sealed glass container for up to 4 days. It actually reheats beautifully in a microwave.

Print
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plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_closeup

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake

If you’re looking for a special, scrumptious, or lazy Sunday entrée, this comforting, 100% plant-based veggie rigatoni bake is my answer. Set aside about an hour and enjoy every step of making (and indulging in!) this dish – it’s worth it!

  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces fresh cauliflower florets, riced or finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (8-ounce) container plant-based ricotta cheese, at room temp
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1teaspoonsea salt, divided*
  • 12 ounces rigatoni or other pasta shape of choice
  • 2 1/2 cups classic marinara sauce of choice, divided
  • 2 1/2 ounces fresh organic baby greens, such as spinach or kale
  • 1/4teaspoonred pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces fresh vegan mozzarella cheese, finely diced, at room temp
  • 4 ounces vegan goat cheese or other soft cashew cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup tri-color grape tomatoes, thinly sliced, or roasted veggies of choice
  • 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a stick-resistant wok or large skillet over medium-high. Add the cauliflower and sauté until caramelized (browned), about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the cauliflower mixture, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. In an extra-large saucepan, cook the pasta in (salted) boiling water per package directions – or use my lid-cooking technique to save energy. (See NOTES.) Drain.
  5. Add the drained pasta and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the dry saucepan and stir to combine over medium. Stir in 2 cups of the marinara sauce.
  6. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup marinara sauce in an 8- x 12-inch or 9- x 13-inch baking dish, about 3 quarts. (2.8 liter).** In layers, add half of the pasta, dollop with the cauliflower-ricotta mixture, press the greens on top, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and add the remaining pasta. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top, drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and bake until fully heated throughout, about 22 minutes.
  7. Dollop with the vegan goat cheese, top with the grape tomatoes, sprinkle with additional olive oil (if desired) and the basil, and serve.

Notes

To lid-cook pasta, simply bring water to a boil, stir in the pasta, bring back to a boil, then add a lid and turn off the heat. (Note: If using a traditional electric range, remove pan from the burner.) Let the pasta “lid-cook” (cook without energy) for the exact time suggested on the package. That’s it!

*This recipe is high in sodium. Use less added salt, if need. Or be sure to plan your sodium intake accordingly the remainder of the day.

**I used an 8- x 12-inch baking dish for this. So, if you’re using a larger baking dish, you can make this recipe with a little more pasta, baby greens and/or roasted veggie topping, if you like.

  • Author: Jackie Newgent
  • Category: Main dish
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 2 cups
  • Calories: 560
  • Sugar: 9g includes 0g added sugars
  • Sodium: 1130mg
  • Fat: 29g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 62g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: pasta, pasta bake, rigatoni, plant-based pasta, plant-based entree, comfort food, plant-based comfort

Looking for more plant-based pasta recipes? Try my pasta with heirloom tomatoes, plant-based mozzarella, and basil (HERE), pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce (HERE), creamy vegan pumpkin pasta “alfredo” (HERE), and red lentil pasta with vegan basil-pistachio pesto (HERE)!

plant-based veggie rigatoni bake_in baking dish

 

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