This easy vegan pasta bake recipe is a delicious, creamy, garlic pasta, covered in red sauce and dripping with delicious vegan cheese. It’s a vegan pasta casserole that’s easy to make and healthy, too. Serve it on a Friday night and enjoy leftovers all week. Share it as an easy family dinner or a tasty meal with guests.
Family meals should be special. I don’t know how I arrived at that notion after growing up on Salsbury Steak TV dinners and Macaroni and Cheese. Not to say that we didn’t have more than a few made-from-scratch homemade dinners; it’s just that I don’t recall the sense of a committed family dinner time.
That’s definitely this recipe – simple and easy, but still delicious: Easy Vegan Pasta Bake.
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Using sweet potatoes adds flavor and texture to this simple pasta dish
- Veggie Crumbles add a plant-based protein with a meat-like texture in every bite
- Customize the veggies to make this recipe exactly the way you want it
- It’s fast — this dish comes together quickly, and it’s ready to serve in around 30 minutes.
The aroma of this easy vegan garlic pasta recipe as it bakes is amazing. Then there are the vibrant colors that result from combining pasta with sweet potato and a generous helping of garlic. I like to add some fresh basil, but dried works fine if you don’t have any fresh on hand.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Penne Pasta — I recommend penne pasta, but ziti or rotini works fine here, too. Substitute gluten-free to make this a gluten-free pasta dish.
- Garlic — You’ll need 4 cloves of garlic for this recipe or use the tender cloves from this garlic confit.
- Olive oil
- Sweet Potato — You’ll need a medium sweet potato.
- Vegetable Broth
- Pasta Sauce — I use marinara sauce for this dish. Make yours homemade or check the back of the label to make sure it’s vegan.
- Veggie Crumbles — Any variety of vegan crumbles will work here. See below for homemade options. I oftentimes use Gardein or you can substitute textured vegetable protein (TVP).
- Veggies — Add your favorite veggies like sliced mushrooms or chopped bell peppers.
- Fresh basil — I prefer fresh basil but you can substitute a teaspoon of dried basil if you don’t have fresh available.
- Vegan Mozzarella — I recommend Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds, but you can also use Daiya or any of the other vegan mozzarella shreds available these days.
How to Make Vegan Pasta Bake
The most important thing you need to know about making a vegan tomato pasta bake recipe is whether or not your pasta is egg-free. I recommend looking at the ingredients to make sure.
Here’s the step-by-step at a glance:
- Cook the pasta and spread it across a 9×13 baking pan.
- Cook a sweet potato in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly tender.
- Pulse the cooked sweet potato with and oil in a food processor until smooth. Add vegetable broth to achieve a spreadable consistency.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture over the pasta and stir to distribute it throughout the pasta. Pour the pasta sauce evenly over the top.
- Spread the veggie crumbles over the pasta sauce.
- Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil on top, followed by vegan mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Set it aside to cool slightly before serving warm.
Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.
Step One: Cook the Noodles
Cook the pasta following the recommendations on the box. Also, you can use whole wheat penne pasta for this recipe. The flavorful sauce should camouflage the darker color of the whole wheat pasta. Maybe your crew won’t care about that. Maybe mine doesn’t either, but I can’t help but wonder about it sometimes. I know whole wheat is healthier so I try to sneak it in whenever I can.
Drain the cooked pasta. I even used a paper towel to blot the pasta dry. Then transfer the pasta to a prepared 9×13 baking dish.
Step Two: Prepare the Garlic Sweet Potato Filling
I know sweet potatoes are an unusual ingredient for a pasta dish, but it works! Prick the sweet potato with a fork several times and then microwave it for a couple of minutes, until tender. Use tongs to remove it from the microwave and set aside to cool.
Peel the garlic and add it to a food processor. Once the sweet potato has cooled enough to handle, chop it into large chunks (including the skin) and add it to the food processor as well. Pulse a few seconds. Add vegetable broth and pulse again until smooth.
Pour the Sweet Potato Filling over the pasta and stir until distributed equally throughout the pasta.
Step Three: Add Toppings
Pour the red pasta sauce evenly across the top of the pasta. Sprinkle veggie crumbles over the pasta sauce and add any of your favorite veggies, like chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle the top with chopped fresh basil (or dried) and vegan mozzarella.
You can buy veggie crumbles at most grocery stores these days, but you can also make your own. Here are some alternatives to store-bought veggie crumbles that you can add to this dish:
Step Four: Bake and Serve
Once done, remove the vegan bake from the oven and allow it to cool slightly before serving.
Bake the pasta casserole for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese has melted. You can place a piece of foil over the top of the pan before baking to trap in steam and melt the cheese too.
Vegan Pasta Recipes
Do you love vegan pasta dishes? If so, you’ll be head over heels for these best vegan recipes:
Is vegan pasta healthy?
There’s a lot of ways to make a pasta dish healthy. It begins by using healthy ingredients, such as pasta made from whole wheat or even low-carb pasta made from beans. You can also add healthy plant-based toppings such as tomatoes, veggies, and even herbs like basil and oregano.
Is pasta vegan?
The majority of pasta noodles in the store, such as penne and rotini, are typically made without eggs and therefore vegan. However, it never hurts to take a quick glance at the ingredients on the back of the package to make sure.
For this recipe, I included sweet potato, and you probably already know about the amazing phytonutrients called beta-carotene. In addition, you’ll get lots of fiber from both the sweet potato and the whole wheat penne pasta.
What to Serve with Vegan Pasta
The options for side dishes with this recipe are endless, but here are a few of my favorites you can try:
- Vegan Broccoli Salad makes a nice side dish.
- Or you can have this Vegan Raw Kale Salad — so good!
- Of course, you’ll want some Vegan Garlic Bread on the side.
Easy Vegan Pasta Bake
- 1 box penne pasta
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups pasta sauce look at the ingredients and make sure it’s vegan
- 1 cup veggie crumbles
- Your favorite veggies like sliced mushrooms or red peppers optional, based on what you’ve got handy
- 3 leaves fresh basil chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
- Heat your oven to 375°F.
- Follow the directions on the box to cook the pasta. Once done, rinse in cool water, drain any excess water (I even used a paper towel to blot it dry), and spread across the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.
- In the meantime, stab the sweet potato with a fork a few times and microwave for about 2–3 minutes, until slightly tender.
- Peel and chop the garlic and add to a food processor, along with the olive oil. Chop the sweet potato into chunks (I included the peel) and add that to the food processor as well. Pulse until smooth. Add the vegetable broth to achieve a spreadable consistency.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture over the pasta and stir to distribute it throughout the pasta. Make sure the pasta is distributed equally throughout the pan, and then pour the pasta sauce evenly over the top.
- Spread the veggie crumbles over the pasta sauce. Then add any of your favorite veggies.
- Sprinkle the chopped fresh basil on top, followed by the shredded vegan mozzarella.
- Place the baking dish in your heated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
- Once the pasta is done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit. Serve warm.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.