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Vegan pasta bake in a white dish on a cream cloth.

Vegan Pasta Bake

Vegan pasta bake – this delicious vegan pasta bake is a hearty, healthy, satisfying meal. It consists of pasta in a tomato, spinach, mushroom and vegan sausage sauce, topped with a creamy dairy-free cashew cheese sauce. The ultimate vegan comfort food!

Course Main Course
Cuisine vegan
Keyword pasta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Domestic Gothess

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes (or olive oil)
  • 1 large onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 250 g (9 oz) chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 8 sundried tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato puree
  • 180 ml (¾ cup) red wine
  • 2 400 g (14 oz) tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch chilli flakes optional
  • 1 vegetable stock cube crushed
  • 120 ml (½ cup) water
  • 250 g (9 oz) frozen spinach
  • salt and pepper

Cheese Sauce:

  • 190 g (1 ¼ cups) cashews (soaked in boiling water for 1/2 hour then drained)
  • 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) water
  • 75 ml (5 Tbsp) olive oil or melted refined coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • 2 ½ Tbsp tapioca starch or cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt

To Assemble:

  • 500 g (17 ¾ oz) dry pasta shapes
  • 6-8 vegan sausages (I used Naked Glory ones)

Instructions

  1. If you haven't already, put the cashews for the cheese sauce to soak - cover them with plenty of boiling water and set aside for half an hour. Alternatively you can soak them in cold water overnight.

  2. For the tomato sauce, heat the sundried tomato/olive oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrot and cook gently for about 10 minutes until softened. Stir often.

  3. Add the sliced chestnut mushrooms, crushed garlic and chopped sundried tomatoes and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft and most of the excess water has evaporated.

  4. Add the tomato puree and red wine and cook until most of it has evaporated then add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, thyme, sugar, chilli flakes if using, vegetable stock cube, water and frozen spinach. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes then season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. While the sauce is simmering, cook the sausages according to the packet instructions. Once they and the tomato sauce are both cooked, thinly slice the sausages and stir them through the sauce.

  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water for two minutes less than the packet instructions then drain well.

  7. To make the ‘cheese’ sauce, drain the soaked cashews and put them in a blender with the water, clove of garlic, nutritional yeast, olive oil or refined coconut oil, cider vinegar, salt and tapioca starch or cornflour and blend until completely smooth.

  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  9. Toss the cooked pasta through the tomato sauce then tip half of it into a lasagne dish (mine is 32 x 25 x 7cm / 12 ½ x 10 x 2 ¾ inches) and spread level. Drizzle about a third of the white sauce over the top.

  10. Top with the rest of the pasta then pour the rest of the white sauce over the top. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Recipe Notes

Can I Freeze It?:

Yes, any leftovers can be portioned out and frozen then defrosted and heated through in the microwave or oven as needed.

It will also keep in the fridge for about 4 days.

Tips And Substitutions:

  • I like to use either penne or fusilli pasta but any shape will work really so just use whatever you’ve got.
  • The pasta will continue to cook in the oven so make sure that you cook it for a couple of minutes less than it says on the packet so you don’t end up with mushy pasta. It should still have some bite to it when you drain it.
  • The vegetables can be varied to suit whatever you have. Bell peppers and courgettes would work really well instead of the mushrooms or spinach.
  • The sundried tomatoes give the sauce lots of umami flavour but can be omitted if you don’t have them.
  • Likewise the red wine provides lots of flavour but you can use extra vegetable stock instead if you don’t have any. Maybe add a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar instead.
  • It’s also worth noting that lots of wines aren’t suitable for vegans so do check the bottle.
  • The tinned tomatoes can be swapped for passata – about 800ml but if you only have one of the 700ml bottles that is fine.
  • The cashew ‘cheese’ sauce could be swapped for a bechamel – melt 60g vegan butter in a pan and stir in 40g plain flour. Gradually whisk in 500ml unsweetened non-dairy milk then cook gently while stirring until thickened. Add 1 clove garlic, 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar and 1 1/4 tsp salt and blend until smooth.