This Italian-inspired vegan eggplant pasta bake recipe is easy to make and a substantial meal. It’s filling and hearty. You don’t wonder later whether you ate dinner or not. You’ll know you did! And hopefully, it was a hit 🙂
Think of this baked vegan Italian eggplant dish as a bit like eggplant lasagna. It incorporates many of the same basic elements, but with less work layering them.
And it’s great for the end of summer or early fall when there’s lots of fresh eggplant available, but really, you can make it any time of year.
- ・I used a 24 ounce jar of Mezzetta Marinara Sauce, but you can use whatever sauce you like. If you decide to use a homemade sauce, you’ll need ~2½ cups.
- ・Don’t skip parboiling the pasta. If you skip it, some rigatoni may not cook all the way through.
As always, thanks for visiting, and I hope you enjoy this vegan baked pasta recipe! 💚
Vegan Baked Pasta with Tofu Ricotta and Eggplant
1 pound dry rigatoni pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium eggplant, chopped into bite-size cubes
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
½ cup vegan shredded cheese (I used Follow Your Heart Shredded Mozzarella)
½ cup water
24 ounce jar of marinara sauce (OR ~2½ cups of your favorite homemade pasta sauce)
Chopped fresh parsley, to top
Salt and black pepper
1. Fill a large pot with water, and place on the stove. Bring to a boil, and then, add the rigatoni. Boil for ½ the time listed in the directions for how to cook it on the box (or ~6 minutes). You only want the pasta to be partially cooked by boiling them (or “parboiled”).
2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, you can make the tofu ricotta. Use a large mixing bowl and follow this recipe.
3. When the pasta is done boiling, drain, rinse a bit, and then, add it to the large mixing bowl with the tofu ricotta. Mix them together, and set aside.
4. In a large skillet, add the olive oil, onion and a dash of salt. Sauté over medium-high heat for ~7 minutes or until the onion is soft and golden.
5. Then, add the garlic, eggplant, dried basil, and dried oregano. Stir around over medium-high heat for ~7 minutes or until the eggplant sweats out and cooks through.
6. Spoon the eggplant mixture into the large mixing bowl with the parboiled pasta and the tofu ricotta. Then, add the fresh basil, ¼ cup vegan shredded cheese, ¼ cup water and a few cracks of fresh black pepper. Mix everything together.
7. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Grease a 9″ X 13″ baking pan. Then, add ⅓ of the pasta sauce and ¼ cup water to the baking pan. Stir together in the bottom of the baking pan, and then, spread evenly across the bottom.
8. Spread the entire contents of the large mixing bowl over the sauce in the baking pan. Pat it down, so it’s even and there aren’t a bunch of pasta sticking out.
9. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the pasta, and then, use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top. Top with the remaining ¼ cup vegan shredded cheese (or you can use more vegan cheese, if you’re really into it).
10. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 400º F for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with chopped fresh parsley. Serve.