It’s fall, y’all! Don’t even try and deny it. I thought living in LA would mean warmer weather all the time, but it’s definitely gettin’ nipply in the mornings and I’m here for it. Fall means COMFORT FOOD SEASON if you ask me! It’s time to put our fresh n’ light salads into storage and bring out the comforting, no-BS carbs. (But make sure you still eat enough veggies this season, m’kay?) I’m a bit sad that the vegan pasta series is coming to an end today, but we’re finishing off strong with this vegan baked puttanesca ziti!
First I brought you thanksgiving tortellini, then a classic vegan bolognese recipe. Now, a cheesy baked vegan puttanesca dish that ya probably won’t even need a plate for. Just eat that ‘ish right outta the casserole dish and call it a day! We’re layering up the noods, savory sauce, and vegan cheese THREE times so every bite is a 10/10. Okay, a 15/10. The limit does not exist.
Mean Girls jokes aside, are ya ready to go totally bonkers for the rich flavors we’re cooking up in this vegan puttanesca?! Don’t be surprised when it becomes a regular in your dinner rotation! But make sure to keep things interesting with some other fall-ready mains like my vegan shepherd’s pie or mushroom bourguignon. Let’s grab our comfiest cookin’ pants and get started!
vegan baked puttanesca ziti
Anyone and everyone will gobble up this fall-ready pasta dish!
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 C finely diced shallots (about 2 large shallots) or finely diced white onion (about a 1/4 of an onion)
- 2 tbsp finely minced garlic (about 3 to 4 large cloves)
- 2 C drained whole pitted kalamata olives
- 1/4 C finely chopped sundried tomatoes (not oil packed)
- 3 tbsp capers + 1 tbsp caper brine
- 3 tbsp vegan worcestershire
- 3 C store bought vegan tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4 C dried ziti pasta
- 1 C reserved cooked pasta water
- 4 1/2 C (2 x 200g / 7oz pkgs) vegan mozzarella shreds
- 8 to 10 whole fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
To make the sauce, in a large nonstick pan over medium heat, add olive oil and shallots. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and then add garlic, olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, caper brine, vegan worcestershire, tomato sauce, chili flakes and sea salt. Stir to combine and when the sauce begins to simmer, about 4 to 6 minutes, turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer until the pasta is cooked. Reserve ¼ cup of this sauce before adding the pasta.
In a large pot of salted water cook pasta until very al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes. It will continue to cook in the oven with the sauce, so make sure there’s still a bite to the pasta. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the pasta from the water right into the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water in case you need to add water to the sauce to thin it out. Use a rubber spatula to toss and coat the pasta evenly in the sauce.
To assemble use a baking dish about 10 x 7.5-inches. Add the ¼ cup of reserved tomato sauce to the bottom of the dish and spread out in an even layer. You will add the pasta in three layers so add the first layer of pasta, then about ¾ cup of vegan mozzarella shreds, the second layer of pasta and another ¾ cup of mozzarella shreds. Add the remaining pasta and fresh basil leaves on top, then cover with remaining mozzarella shreds.
Bake in an oven for 20 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted and golden.