Vegan Gourmet: Baked Ziti


This recipe is one of my favorites! I found it in Veg News Mag(by Allison Rivers Samson) back in 2009 and its been a hit with my family ever since. I love the macadamia ricotta, which I have used in many other Italian recipes. Macadamias can be expensive and I have found that Trader Joe’s has the best price.  It is also a bit labor intensive and uses both the Vita Mix and Food Processor, but its totally worth the effort. Enjoy!

4 quarts water
1 tbsp salt
12 ounces ziti or penne

Tomato Sauce:
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c onion, diced
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 28-oz can fire roasted tomato puree 
1 tsp salt

Macadamia Ricotta:
1 1/2 c macadamia nuts, soaked in water for a minimum of four hours
1/4 c water
1/8 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

Cashew Cream:
3/4 c raw cashews
1/8 tsp dried dill
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 c water
1/4 tsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced and divided


To prepare the pasta, in a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add ziti and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

To prepare the sauce, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onion, and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add garlic, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes and cover loosely. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add salt and cook for another 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

 Blend soaked macadamia nuts, water, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a Vita Mix using a taper.  for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and puree another minute. Repeat until ricotta is light and fluffy. Set aside.

To prepare the cashew cream, in a food processor, add cashews and grind into a fine powder. Add dill, salt, lemon juice, water, and rice vinegar, and process until completely smooth.

In a large bowl, toss ziti with marinara sauce and 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley. Gently stir in ricotta, leaving small chunks. Swirl in cashew cream and pour into a deep 9×13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley. Makes 6-8 big servings.

Pilin Broden