19 February 2013

Vegan Baked Ziti

My parents came in from Minnesota for a long weekend! They came in primarily to see Shana's roller derby bout, as neither of them had seen her skate (or derby in general). They enjoyed Shana's bout and we did other fun things as well. For example, they came to listen to me teach this morning and we did a miracle berry tasting yesterday afternoon. If you've never experienced miracle berry, you should try it! Both my parents really enjoyed the experiences!

Whey they arrived, they weren't sure about their plans to drive back to Minnesota. They ended up staying Monday night, rather than driving back on Monday. Thus, on Monday night we needed a dinner that we could all eat. When I say "all eat," what I really mean is a meal that is veg*n for me and Shana and familiar enough for my mom. She's tried a ton of new vegan foods over the past years 12 years since I went vegan (and started asking her to try stuff), but she still enjoys things more if they are more familiar to her, just like most of us do. The answer to all of our needs was vegan baked ziti. It's easy (especially with a food processor), reasonably quick (under 40 minutes from getting things out to eating), and delicious!

Normally, baked ziti is full of cheese, but this version has all the creamy richness without the dairy. You won't miss it!

Vegan Baked Ziti
Adapted from The Vegetarian Times Complete Cookbook (p. 283)
12 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
8 ounces seitan
2 c. baby bella mushrooms
2, 15 oz. cans plain tomato sauce, seasoned to taste (see Helpful Hints)
1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1 1/2 T. dried basil
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
2 T. nutritional yeast, plus more for sprinkling
salt and pepper

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400.
2. Using a food processor (or by hand), chop the seitan and mushrooms until they are crumbly.
3. Put chopped seitan, mushrooms, and tomato sauce (with your spices of choice) in a saucepan to heat.
4. In a food processor (or blender), mix the tofu, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper until smooth.
5. Combine pasta, tomato sauce mixture, and tofu mixture in a large bowl or the pasta pan, stirring until will combined.
6. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish, sprinkle with nutritional yeast, and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.

Helpful Hints
  • I know, I call for penne, not ziti. I just can't find whole wheat ziti around here. But any medium sized pasta that holds its shape well will work for this dish. 
  • The original recipe calls for a 25 ounce jar of premade pasta sauce. You can use that, but I like the extra 5 ounces of tomato and the freedom to spice the sauce the way I like. Speaking of spices, here's what I did: dash cayenne, dash red pepper, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. basil, 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, rounded 1/2 tsp. onion powder, 1 T. Italian seasoning. 
  • This is do-able without a food processor, but it will take longer. 
The post "Vegan Baked Ziti" originally appeared on Maggie's LesVegan Kitchen.

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