Of all the vegan-baked spaghetti recipes out there, this is one of the best. I love it for its cheesy perfection!
Try it out; it’s sure to be a new family favorite and is a great recipe for busy weeknights. This vegetarian baked pasta is quick and super simple to make.
Grab the ingredients from any grocery store and serve it as an easy main course, along with a vegan loaf of freshly made garlic bread and green salad.
Why You’ll Love Vegan Baked Spaghetti Recipes
- Versatility: This recipe allows for endless creativity and variety. You can experiment with various vegetables, plant-based proteins, herbs, and spices to customize the flavors to your liking. The possibilities are vast, from mushrooms, zucchini, and bell peppers to vegan meat substitutes like tempeh or tofu.
- Allergy-friendly: Vegan Baked Spaghetti is naturally free from common allergens like dairy, eggs, and shellfish. This makes it an excellent option for individuals with dietary restrictions or food allergies, allowing them to enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal without worry.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Parmesan cheese: Gives all the (vegan) cheesy goodness.
- Baby spinach is a great addition to baked pasta for added nutrition and vibrant color. You can either use fresh baby spinach leaves or frozen spinach. If using frozen spinach, make sure to thaw and drain it well before incorporating it into the recipe.
- Optional toppings: Try fresh basil leaves and red pepper flakes to enhance the dish’s flavors. Italian seasoning adds a blend of aromatic herbs, while fresh basil leaves provide a burst of freshness. Red pepper flakes add a hint of spiciness.
- Pasta sauce: Marinara or tomato sauce is a classic choice for baked pasta. Look for a vegan marinara sauce that doesn’t contain any animal products.
- Vegetable protein: Instead of traditional meat-based proteins, you can incorporate plant-based alternatives like textured vegetable protein (TVP), lentils, or chickpeas.
- Vegan Mozzarella: You can use vegan mozzarella cheese for a cheesy topping. There are many brands available that offer vegan mozzarella alternatives made from plant-based ingredients. Look for a meltable vegan cheese that suits your taste preferences.
- Vegan ricotta: Check out my recipe for creamy vegan ricotta. Tofu ricotta is great too!
- Spaghetti noodles: To keep the recipe vegan, use egg-free pasta. Try this recipe with an egg-free penne or angel hair pasta – be mindful that cooking times may vary.
Pro Tips and Tricks
- Cook the pasta al dente: This will ensure that the cooked pasta doesn’t become mushy when baked in the oven.
- Sauté the spinach: If you’re using fresh baby spinach, lightly sauté it in a pan with a little olive oil and garlic before adding it to the pasta sauce. This will help wilt the spinach and concentrate its flavors.
- Season the sauce well: To enhance the flavors of your pasta sauce, don’t be afraid to season it generously with salt, black pepper, herbs, spices, and garlic.
- Mix in some nutritional yeast: Add a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the sauce or sprinkle it between the layers of pasta. This will give the dish a cheesy flavor and a boost of B vitamins.
- Cover while baking: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil or a lid for the first half of the baking time. This will help the pasta cook evenly and retain moisture. Then, remove the cover for the last few minutes to allow the cheese topping to melt and develop a golden crust.
- Let it rest before serving: Allow the baked pasta to rest for a few minutes once it’s out of the oven. This will help the flavors meld together and make it easier to slice and serve.
- Spaghetti pie: Cook it in a round dish and serve it as a spaghetti pie!
Variations and Add-Ins
- Roasted veggies: Add your favorite veggies to your favorite vegan baked spaghetti past recipes. Try roasted bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, earthy mushrooms, or butternut squash. Toss the vegetables in olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs, then roast until tender before adding them to the pasta.
- Vegan pesto: Blend some fresh basil leaves, garlic, olive oil, and cashew or almonds. Season and you have some lovely fresh pesto to add to your pasta.
- Creamy cashew sauce: Soak raw cashews in water, then blend them with vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, garlic, and spices until smooth. Pour the vegan white sauce over the pasta layers before baking.
- Vegan Alfredo sauce: Swap out the marinara sauce for a rich, creamy vegan Alfredo sauce. Make a sauce using ingredients like cashews, plant-based milk, garlic, nutritional yeast, and a touch of lemon juice. Pour the Alfredo sauce over the pasta layers and bake until bubbly and golden.
- Spicy vegan pasta bake: Add red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños to the sauce or topping.
- Fresh herbs: Try adding chopped fresh basil, parsley, oregano, or thyme to the pasta layers, or use them as a garnish.
- Vegan bacon bits: Crumble vegan bacon bits on top of your baked pasta for a smoky and savory touch.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: for a tangy, slightly sweet taste to the dish.
Make Ahead Instructions and Storage
Assemble the dish: Prepare the baked vegan pasta as directed in the recipe, including layering the pasta, sauce, and any desired add-ins. Stop before adding the cheese topping.
Once you’ve assembled the vegan pasta bake, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil and place it in the refrigerator. It can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.
Refrigeration: If you have leftover baked vegan pasta, allow it to cool to room temperature, then cover it tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate within two hours of cooking. The pasta can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
If you want to store this baked spaghetti casserole recipe for longer periods, freezing is a great option. Ensure the dish has cooled completely before freezing. Transfer individual portions or the entire baked dish to a freezer-safe container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Label the container with the date.
Vegan Baked Spaghetti
- 16 oz spaghetti noodles
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
- 4 oz baby spinach
- optional toppings, Italian seasoning, fresh basil leaves or other fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes.
- 24 oz jar of preferred marinara sauce
- 1 cup textured vegetable protein
- 3/4 cup 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1 of vegan ricotta
- Preheat the oven to 375° F
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water per package directions.
- Remember to set aside a cup of reserved pasta water before draining.
- Rehydrate the Textured Vegetable Protein by broiling the water, and pouring overtop the textured vegetable protein in a medium mixing bowl, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Next, add the reserved pasta water, baby spinach, and rehydrated textured vegetable protein to the same pot used to make the pasta and combine. Then add the cooked spaghetti and fold until well coated with the sauce.
- Transfer the spaghetti mixture to a 13x9 baking dish, ensuring it is evenly spread. Next, generously layer the vegan ricotta and vegan mozzarella on top. If you prefer a hint of spice and additional flavor, you can optionally sprinkle red pepper flakes and dried Italian herbs.
- Next, place the baking dish in the oven and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes until the vegan cheese has melted and the edges of the pie turn a delicious golden brown. Allow the dish to cool for 15 minutes before to serving. For an extra burst of freshness, garnish with fresh basil.
Can I use gluten-free pasta in a vegan baked pasta dish instead of regular pasta?
Yes, you can use regular pasta instead of gluten-free pasta in a vegan baked pasta dish if you don’t have any gluten restrictions. You could also use spaghetti squash; just be aware that the cooking time for this vegetarian pasta may change.