This vegan baked spaghetti is the ultimate cozy dinner recipe. With decadent sauces and a caramelized vegan cheese topping, this spaghetti will soon become the new family favorite. Perfect both for entertaining and busy weeknights, there is never a bad time to cook up this easy vegan meal!
You will Love this Baked Spaghetti
- It's hearty. As a Midwesterner, there is nothing cozier than a baked pasta dish. Something about serving from a casserole dish levels up a cozy meal to ultimate comfort food status.
- It's full of classic flavors. Marinara sauce, earthy mushrooms, and fresh herbs make for familiar Italian flavors that are sure to please.
- It packs a healthful punch. Veggies and olive oil provide flavonoids and heart-healthy fats. Plus, using tofu as vegan ricotta and mozzarella makes for creamy and satisfying pasta while also being packed with plant protein!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: I've used lentil spaghetti, but use your preferred spaghetti. I love lentil or chickpea pasta recipes they have great texture and are good sources of protein and fiber. Gluten-free or regular pasta also work well in this dish so long as they are not overcooked.
- Tofu: Extra firm silken tofu makes the ricotta-esque base and the vegan mozzarella topping. If you cannot find extra firm, simply use the firmest silken tofu you can.
- Nutritional yeast: Known for its cheesy flavor, "nooch" adds a savory touch and B vitamins to this dish.
- Lemon: Fresh or pre-juiced are both fine here. I use the juice of one medium lemon, which comes out to about ¼ cup.
- Olive oil: olive oil provides a satiating dose of heart-healthy fats, but use your favorite cooking oil for similar results.
- Seasonings: Garlic, onion, salt, and black pepper are all this recipe needs, but feel free to add Italian seasoning to your pasta sauce. Red pepper flakes also add a nice kick!
- Veggies: I've used mushrooms and baby kale for some earthiness, but feel free to get creative with your favorite veggies or what's in season.
- Marinara sauce: Feel free to use your go-to tomato sauce for this recipe.
- Textured vegetable protein: This is used to mimic meat sauce and beef up the dish. Feel free to omit the TVP as the tofu and lentil pasta are also good protein sources.
- Tapioca starch: This is used to make the topping carmelize and pull for cheesy perfection. Easily substitute corn starch in a pinch.
- Parsley: Fresh herbs bring this hearty dish some brightness. Chiffonade some fresh basil leaves for an equally delicious garnish.
Drain the cooked pasta, reserving ⅔ cup of pasta water. In the same large pot used to boil the pasta, on medium heat, add olive oil, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they have sweat and much of that water has evaporated.
Turn off the heat and add the reserved pasta water, pasta, baby kale, and all but ½ cup of the white sauce (keep the reserved ½ cup of white sauce in the blender). Stir until the pasta is well coated and transfer the pasta to a large baking dish.
In the same large pot, combine the marinara, textured vegetable protein, and red pepper flakes. Transfer the red sauce to the baking dish and spread it evenly over the pasta.
Add the cheese topping ingredients to the blender containing the reserved white sauce and blend until it's smooth. Use a spoon to dollop the mixture onto the spaghetti and spread it evenly over the red sauce.
Bake the spaghetti for about 10-12 minutes. Then, broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese topping starts to brown. Remove from the oven and slice the baked spaghetti into 8 servings. Top with parsley and enjoy!
- Spaghetti pie: Set the recipe card below to 4 servings and use a pie dish for this classic midwestern dish!
- Spaghetti squash baked spaghetti: Slice two medium spaghetti squash, remove the seeds, and roast at 400° F for 30 to 40 minutes. When cooled, use a fork to remove the spaghetti-like strands. Follow the rest of the recipe as written, except omit the pasta water.
- Vegetarian baked spaghetti: Not ready to embrace vegan cheese yet, or dealing with skeptical guests? Instead of making the cheesy topping, use all of the white sauce in the pasta and top it with fresh mozzarella or shredded cheese and parmesan. Still delicious, and still filled with healthy ingredients.
- Vegan Alfredo: Make the same white sauce in this pared-down weeknight pasta dish.
Make-ahead: Make the white sauce and cheese topping 3-4 days in advance and store them in the fridge until ready to use.
Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheat: Reheat leftovers covered in the microwave with a tablespoon of water for about two minutes. To reheat in the oven, spread the pasta out evenly in your baking dish, cover it with aluminum foil, and bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes.
- This recipe was created to minimize food waste, so exact measurements are not necessary. Add extra veggies, squeeze your lemon without measuring, or get creative with your seasonings. The result will still be delicious!
If you are concerned this or any baked spaghetti casserole recipe seems too dry, do not add the cheese topping and cook covered with aluminum foil until all the ingredients are warm. Then, add the cheese topping and broil until the cheese topping bubbles and caramelizes.
Vegan Baked Spaghetti
- 16 oz chickpea or lentil spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
- ⅔ cup reserved pasta water
- 8 oz mini bella mushrooms, diced (or preferred mushrooms)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 oz baby kale (or baby spinach)
To Serve (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (or chiffonade fresh basil)
- In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions.
- While the pasta cooks, combine the white sauce ingredients with a standard or immersion blender.
- Drain the pasta, reserving ⅔ cup of the pasta water.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F (191° C).
- In the same large pot used to boil the pasta, on medium heat, add olive oil, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms for about 5-8 minutes; until the mushrooms have sweat and much of that water has evaporated.
- Turn off the heat and add the reserved pasta water, pasta, baby kale, and all but ½ cup of the white sauce (keep the reserved ½ cup of white sauce in the blender jar). Stir until the pasta is well coated and transfer the pasta to a baking dish.
- In the same large pot, combine the marinara, textured vegetable protein, and red pepper flakes. Transfer the red sauce mixture to the baking dish and spread it evenly over the pasta.
- In the blender containing the reserved white sauce, add the cheese topping ingredients and blend until smooth. Use a spoon to dollop the mixture onto the spaghetti and spread it evenly over the red sauce.
- Bake the spaghetti at 375° F (191° C) for about 10-12 minutes. Then, broil for 1-2 minutes until the cheese topping starts to brown.
- Remove the baked spaghetti from the oven. Slice it in half lengthwise and quarters widthwise for 8 servings. Top with parsley and enjoy!