This week is flying by so quickly! I cannot believe it is already Thursday – it feels like it was just yesterday that I was blogging away all weekend. So just a quick post for tonight – a couple of this weeks highlights.
1. I got my new Lavishy wallet delivered – and I am in love! Lavishy is a vegan/eco friendly company with some of the cutest products on the market. I chose the red aztec print – what are your favorite designs?
2. Spent some time volunteering as part of a work event – who doesn’t count volunteering as a highlight?
3. VEGFEST! Orlando VegFest is this Saturday – it feels like it was months ago that I put this date on my calendar and I am so excited that it is almost here!
4. This ziti.
This ziti is a great recipe for a busy night because it can be made up ahead of time and just quickly tossed in the oven to bake when you are ready. Besides the combination of cheesy and crunchy goodness – that is one of my favorite parts of this recipe.
So lets talk che ese. There is something about stretchy, melty cheesy cheese that sells me every time. It almost doesn’t matter what else is in the recipe, just top it with cheese and I’m in. It just so happens that not only is the cheesy part of this dish delicious, but the crunchy topping, and tomato-y pasta make it an entire pan full of goodness.
Do you see that cheese? Yep. Sold. Cheese and crunchy breaded topping. The way to my heart…
The other secret part of this Cheesy Baked Ziti is in the spices. The tofu ricotta cheese sauce could be described as a sea of spices, with a little tofu and a little vegan cream cheese mixed in. Don’t be alarmed at the amount of spices mixed in here – trust me, when you taste it – you’ll know you did the right thing.
This is one more meal I can add to the “passed the teenage son test”. I may have to start a category just for these special occasions!
- 16 oz of your favorite ziti pasta - cooked al dente
- ½ cup of starchy water, reserved from draining cooked pasta
- Sea salt
- Tofu Ricotta Sauce - see below
- 2 cups vegan shredded mozzarella
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 1 lb. firm tofu, drained
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1½ tsp oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp basil
- 2 TBS parsley
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup vegan cream cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Add all Tofu Ricotta Sauce ingredients to food processor and mix until creamy and smooth
- In a large bowl, mix cooked pasta, reserved starchy water and Tofu Ricotta Sauce until combined
- Pour about 1 cup of pasta sauce in a medium baking dish, spreading to cover the entire bottom
- Spoon pasta and Tofu Ricotta Sauce into baking dish, spreading evenly
- Pour remaining pasta sauce over mixture and top with shredded mozzarella
- In a small bowl, mix panko and olive oil together with your fingers
- Sprinkle oiled panko crumbs over top of the mozzarella
- Cover pan with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
- Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until bread crumbs are toasty and cheese is melted
- If preparing in advance - complete all steps prior to baking - cover with foil and place in refrigerator.
- Increase covered baking by 15 minutes, and uncovered baking by 5 minutes if just removed from refrigerator