Our family’s favorite famous comfort food recipe, remade! Mom’s Best Classic Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Ziti without the dairy, but still under 5 ingredients! This make-ahead “cheesy” pasta dinner casserole is soy-free too, super easy, delicious, and baked in 20 minutes! Great as a freezer meal or having leftovers throughout the week!
My mom didn’t cook things from scratch much. She was more of a “throw these chicken nuggets in the toaster oven and this packet of rice in a pot” kind of cook. Every so often she would get the urge to make her “famous” baked ziti recipe. While this Italian pasta casserole only needed 4 ingredients (she used jarred sauce), it still tasted like home-cooked comforting love! While I grew up eating her baked ziti, she and I both can’t indulge in the cheesy carby comfort food anymore…until now.
How is this baked ziti now gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free?
As you can imagine, my mom’s ziti consisted of gluten-filled pasta, and gallons of dairy-filled ricotta and mozzarella cheese! As a celiac who also prefers her food vegan (dairy-free, egg-free) and with a soy allergy (soy-free), this dish needed some revamping! I wanted to keep things simple, quick, and easy (something even my mom could still “cook”) but make this dinner more accessible to all! All you have to do is haul out the gluten-free ziti noodles, vegan and soy-free ricotta, mozzarella, and sauce! I opted to make a homemade sauce, but my mom’s option of jarred sauce is always there 😉
How is this gluten-free dairy-free “cheesy” ziti made?
It’s all a super simple “boil, layer, bake” process! Boil the gluten-free ziti, drain, then layer in about half the noodles, then the dairy-free ricotta, half the dairy-free mozzarella, half of the tomato sauce, the rest of the pasta, then the last of the sauce and mozzarella, with a good dose of vegan parmesan before slipping that casserole dish straight into the oven to bake and come together in 20 minutes! A little chop of parsley never hurt to pretty this cozy casserole up either 😉
What makes this the BEST baked ziti?
I think we all have our tried-and-true family favorites, famous passed down recipes, and dishes we define in our minds (and bellies!) as “The Best”. The reason why always comes down to the LOVE infused in a homemade recipe. Is there ever anything better than your mom’s or grandma’s “signature dish”? I think not! I mean, I used to LIVE for my mom’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! There was something you was able to “add” that no one else could ever do. I’ve tried to add the “secret” mom touch, but I always fall short! So maybe her recipe did have another ingredient. Love!
If you’re looking for similar comforting cheesy gluten-free and vegan pasta dishes, we Italians know how to “bake” some up! From Stuffed Shells, to Manicotti, to Lasagna! They’re all no-fail pasta casseroles that are perfect for dishing up that plate of love when you’re craving comfort, warmth (winter is coming!), or a meal you can make-ahead, freeze, and have ready to pull out, heat up, and devour when you need that hug on a plate! While I may never be able to enjoy my mom’s REAL recipe again, I think this gluten-free, vegan, soy-free version does the trick (she approved too…in case you were wondering!)
Mom’s Best Classic Baked Gluten-Free Vegan Baked Ziti
- 12 oz Gluten-Free Ziti Noodles
- 3 Cups Vegan Soy-Free Ricotta (I use Kite Hill)
- 1 8 oz Bag of Vegan Mozzarella Shreds (I use Daiya or So Delicious)
- 2 TB Vegan Parmesan*
- 4 Cups Tomato Sauce (Homemade Recipe Below):
- 4 Cups Plain Tomato Sauce
- 1 TB Dried Parsley
- 1 Tsp Dried Basil
- 1 Tsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- ½ Tsp Black Pepper
- Fresh or Dried Parsley (to garnish, optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Boil the ziti noodles al dente according to package direction, drain, and set aside.
- Mix together the sauce ingredients in a large bowl if using homemade (no need to heat).
- In a 9x13 baking/casserole dish, lightly coat the bottom with a touch of sauce.
- Next, layer in ½ of the cooked ziti, then the ricotta, 4 oz of the mozzarella, and 2 cups of the sauce.
- Then repeat with the remaining ziti, sauce, and finish with the last half of the mozzarella.
- Sprinkle on the parmesan and optional dried parsley last.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.
- Remove and serve or let cool before storing.
My mom has since made her traditional baked ziti for my brother in these interim years, but I take the reigns when we ALL want to enjoy a scoop or two of comforting gluten-free vegan baked ziti! So shout-out to my mom and all the loving childhood favorite memories she created in the kitchen! She may say she hates cooking and finds it stressful (she hates grocery shopping too), but I definitely didn’t miss out on some good eats as a kid!
So tell me:
+ What is you mom’s BEST recipe?
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