We’re welcoming the week with this easy, cheesy Vegan Pasta Bake. It’s packed with vegetables, topped with our favorite vegan cheese and baked to perfection. This healthy, gluten free & vegan pasta bake can be served any day of the week, or even for your next family gathering. It’s perfect for a crowd!
Can you believe fall officially starts one week from today? It feels like each year moves faster and faster – weren’t we just getting excited about summer berries, like, yesterday?!
As much as I’ll miss summer produce, the weather has already started to turn towards fall here in Michigan. Cooler, crisper days have me starting to crave all things comfort food, and not just pumpkin spice. (Although if we’re talking pumpkin spice, I’ll happily make/devour this granola any time of year!).
When it comes to easy, nourishing, family-friendly weeknight dinners, pasta is always at the top of our list. Do you honestly know anyone that doesn’t like pasta?
This easy, healthy vegan pasta bake ticks all of the boxes. It’s filling, yet surprisingly healthy and easy to customize with various vegetables and types of pasta. We use a regular gluten free rotini in this pasta bake, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand.
For a lower carb option, use a legume-based pasta instead of a regular grain-based pasta. There are so many options on the market – chickpea pasta, lentil pasta, even mung bean pasta! Be sure to take note of the cooking instructions as each legume pasta variety differs widely.
Now onto the important question…
What vegan cheese should I use?
Before nixing dairy from my diet (almost 7 years ago), I was big on cheese. Melty cheese on pasta or pizza, cheese platters, fondue – you name it. After going dairy free, cheese was the hardest thing to give up.
Luckily, over the last 7 years there have been tons of new vegan cheese options on the market. Vegan cheeses have improved drastically, and nowadays you can find just about any variety, including parmesan, mozzarella (shredded and soft), feta, cheddar and more.
We have a few favorite brands, but we tend to switch things up pretty frequently depending on availability at the grocery store and what we’re using the cheese for. When it comes to this vegan pasta bake, we opt for a vegan shredded parmesan and a soft vegan mozzarella.
Our favorite vegan parmesans are from Follow Your Heart (we seriously use up 1+ boxes a week) and VioLife. The Follow Your Heart shredded parmesan (which we used here) is particularly well-suited for high temps. It melts well and gets a bit crispy on top, just like regular cheese. So good! We also love using it in this Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip.
When it comes to vegan mozzarella, you can’t go wrong with Miyoko’s. You guys, this stuff is G O O D. It’s cashew-based and fermented, so there’s a ton of flavor without any weird additives. It melts beautifully on this pasta and adds so much creaminess. We also love using it for pizza or even this Grilled Peach Caprese Salad.
Don’t let this guide limit your choices – there are SO many options on the market! We love trying locally-made, smaller brands, too – these are just the brands we use most often. We’re typically able to find these brands at all of the grocery stores we visit.
How to assemble a vegan pasta bake
First things first, get your vegetable bolognese sauce cooking.
We use lentils to add extra plant protein (in place of more traditional ground meat). Once the lentils are cooked (according to package directions), we cook them down with various vegetables and other ingredients for a delicious, flavorful tomato sauce.
If you don’t have the time to make a homemade sauce, feel free to sub your favorite pasta sauce instead. You can always stir in cooked lentils and/or mushrooms for extra body and protein! We recently discovered a veggie-packed marinara from Otamot – perfect for busy weeknights and picky kids.
While the sauce is cooking down, throw your pasta of choice in some boiling water with a heavy pinch of salt. When the pasta is al dente, drain and stir into the finished sauce.
Lastly, transfer to a baking dish, top with as much vegan cheese as your heart desires, and bake until the cheese is melty and slightly crispy, about 15 minutes. Depending on whether you use homemade sauce or not, this can be ready in as little as 35 minutes! (If you make homemade sauce, cook time will be closer to one hour.)
We like to serve ours with some fresh basil and extra red pepper flakes. Oh, and a glass of wine!
More easy weeknight vegan pasta recipes
By now, we’ve established that pasta is a go-to for busy weeknights in our house, and we’re sure it is in yours, too. Here are a few more vegan pasta recipes to keep in your back pocket this fall:
- Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta with Caramelized Onions. Okay, so this isn’t the quickest recipe, but it is the most delicious. And most of the cook time is totally hands-off!
- Creamy Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta. A good pasta dish just needs a perfect pasta sauce. This is it.
- Mediterranean Pasta with Herbed Lemon Olive Oil. This flavorful pasta dish can be served warm or cold – perfect for dinner and the next day’s lunch!
- Vegan Pumpkin Mac and Cheese. A fall favorite in our house.
- Vegan Hamburger Helper via Mississippi Vegan – such a creative recreation of a classic American recipe!
- Basil Tahini Pasta with Mushrooms and Burst Tomatoes via The First Mess. I’ll take tahini anything – love the sound of this!
We hope you give this easy, cheesy, surprisingly healthy vegan (and gluten free) pasta bake a try! (Phew, that’s a lot of adjectives!) If you do, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below or tag us in your photo on Instagram.Print
This Vegan Pasta Bake packed with vegetables, topped with our favorite vegan cheese and baked to perfection.
- 12 oz gluten free pasta of choice (we used rotini), cooked according to package directions
- 2 cups cooked green lentils (about 3/4 cup uncooked), cooked according to package directions
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups button mushrooms, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped well
- 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 25 oz marinara sauce of choice
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
- 1 package soft vegan mozzarella cheese
- For topping: basil, red pepper flakes
- Cook lentils according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Preheat large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and diced onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add in garlic and mushrooms and cook down for additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Meanwhile, start cooking pasta according to package directions.
- Add dried herbs, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to sauté pan and stir well. Add spinach and parsley, then add fire-roasted tomatoes, marinara, 2 tbsp vegan parmesan and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella. Stir well and let cook down for a few minutes, until pasta is finished cooking.
- Add cooked pasta and stir well. Pour into a 9 x 11 baking dish and spread into an even layer.
- Top with sliced soft mozzarella and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp of vegan parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melty and slightly browned.
- Optional: garnish with fresh basil and extra red pepper flakes.
Read the full blog post for our recommendations for vegan cheese brands!
Keywords: vegan pasta bake