Easy Vegan Meatballs

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant based dinner.

Vegan Meatballs

Here’s a go-to when you need a plant based dinner that’s protein-packed: this Vegan Meatballs recipe! Now, there are two problems with most vegan meatballs recipes. Vegan meatballs take a long time to make, and many recipes don’t have much protein (so you’re hungry an hour later). This vegan meatballs recipe solves both problems. This recipe takes under 30 minutes to make, and it’s packed with protein! Even better: the flavor is outstanding.

The secret to the best vegan meatballs

Ok, you might need to use a new-to-you ingredient for this one. But we promise: this will revolutionize your vegan meatballs game! The key? Tempeh. Here are the particulars on this powerhouse ingredient:

  • Tempeh is a compressed cake of whole soybeans. It can include seeds like millet or grains like rice, wheat, or barley (most brands are gluten-free). It has a nuttier flavor and firmer texture than tofu. Read more about Tempeh vs Tofu here!
  • Tempeh is protein packed. One serving has a whopping 20 grams protein! That’s double the protein in one serving tofu.
  • Wait, are soy products healthy? Soy products in moderation are part of a healthy diet! Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week.
Vegan meatballs

Consider a double recipe!

Before you start, think about whether you’d like to make a single or double recipe for these vegan meatballs. Here’s what to know:

  • This recipe makes 14 meatballs, about 2 to 3 servings. They’re easy to cook in one skillet and feed a family like ours (2 adults and 1 preschooler).
  • Consider doubling the recipe, because they save well! They hold up very well refrigerated or frozen (without sauce). Instant lunch or dinner!
  • You’ll need a very large skillet for a double recipe. Use the biggest you have to cook them!
  • Use the 2x button in the recipe below. You likely won’t need the full quantity of olive oil: you can likely cook the meatballs in less than 6 tablespoons (start with ¼ cup).

Important: steam the tempeh first

The cardinal rule when using tempeh in recipes: it tastes bitter raw. While it’s completely safe to eat raw, you’ll want to cook it to remove that flavor.

  • Steam the tempeh for just 10 minutes. It gets just the right moistness to the tempeh and removes the bitter flavor.
  • Steaming doesn’t make the recipe take any longer, because you can prep everything while the tempeh steams.
  • You’ll need a steamer basket for this recipe. Don’t have one? Here are a few ways to steam without a steamer.
Vegan meatballs recipe

Tips for cooking vegan meatballs

Once you’ve got your tempeh steamed, you’ll simply mix the dough together with breadcrumbs and spices. When you cook them, here’s the main thing to note: use chopsticks to turn them! It’s hard to use a spatula to flip the balls so they get golden on each side. Chopsticks make it much easier! Of course, you can use whatever method you like. Just try to get each side lightly browned!

Italian breadcrumbs, and how to make them gluten free

Italian breadcrumbs are an important component to these vegan meatballs. It gives them just the right texture so they don’t fall apart. If you eat gluten-free, we’ve got some ideas. Here’s what to know:

  • Italian breadcrumbs are breadcrumbs mixed with herbs and salt.
  • Can’t find Italian style? Mix ½ cup plain breadcrumbs with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and ¼ teaspoon each dried basil and thyme).
  • Try gluten-free panko or homemade. For gluten-free, it’s easy to find gluten-free breadcrumbs these days online or at your grocery. Or use gluten-free bread or crackers to make homemade breadcrumbs, then add the seasonings above.
Vegan meatballs

Make ahead and storage info

This vegan meatballs recipe is genius not only because it tastes great and has lots of protein. These also hold up very well! Here’s what to note about texture:

  • Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days. Don’t store them with sauce, or they will get mushy.
  • Freeze leftovers after you allow them to cool. They’ll hold up in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. 

Ways to serve vegan meatballs

Once you’ve made your beautiful vegan meatballs…how to serve ’em? We’ve got ideas.

More vegan dinner recipes

There are lots of more vegan dinner recipes like this one! Here are a few more favorites to try:

This vegan meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or see the section above.

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Vegan Meatballs

Easy Vegan Meatballs


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14 meatballs (2 large or 3 modest)
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant based dinner.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tempeh*, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup minced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 cups favorite marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Steam the tempeh: Place 1 ½ cups water into a saucepan with a steamer basket: the water surface should be right under the basket. Bring the water to a boil. Chop the tempeh into small pieces. Once boiling, add it to the steamer basket and steam it for 10 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix the meatballs: Mince the white onion. Mince the garlic. Add them to a medium bowl with the breadcrumbs, fennel seeds and dried oregano. Once the tempeh is cooked, remove it from the steamer and add it to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Stir in the soy sauce or tamari and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and mix. Once the tempeh cools slightly, use your fingers to mash it together into a uniform dough.
  3. Form the meatballs: Use your fingers to form the dough into golf-ball sized balls, about 13 to 14 total, placing them on a plate. 
  4. Cook the meatballs: Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning them occasionally with chopsticks, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if it starts to smoke.
  5. Serve: Once cooked, you can remove the meatballs from a pan and refrigerate up to 5 days until serving if you’d like. Or serve immediately: turn off the heat and add the marinara sauce to the pan (beware of spitting). Simmer for about 1 minute until warm, then top with chopped basil or parsley and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated without sauce for 5 days, or allow to cool then freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Notes

*The meatballs save well, so we recommend making a double recipe and refrigerating or freezing leftovers! Click the 2x button for quick doubled quantities.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan meatballs, vegan meatballs recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too! Best cheese tortellini to buy Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy? Fresh tortellini […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil.

Cheese tortellini

Some meatless recipes stand a head above the rest, and this is one of them. In fact, I think we’d be happy eating this genius quick dinner every day of the week. Try this cheese tortellini in creamy marinara sauce! In just 15 minutes, you’ve got a pasta skillet that’s a literal symphony flavor. The fresh basil-infused marinara sauce is perfectly complimented with pillows of tangy goat cheese. (In fact, it’s our baked goat cheese dip made into a main dish, because we love it so much we needed a way to justify it as dinner.) This one is a huge hit in our house…and we hope it will be in yours too!

Best cheese tortellini to buy

Cheese tortellini often escapes our radar when it comes to pasta: usually we think of penne, spirals or macaroni. But there’s lots of high quality tortellini in grocery stores these days! Tortellini are traditional ring-shaped Italian filled pasta. In Italy you can get them freshly made at local shops. What to look for if you’re not in Italy?

  • Fresh tortellini is sold refrigerated. This is usually the best quality when it comes to tortellini recipes. It boils up in just 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Frozen tortellini is also a good option. We like frozen because it saves well and you can pull it out at moments notice.
  • Avoid dried tortellini. Tortellini isn’t traditionally a dried pasta: and all the brands we’ve tried dried just haven’t measured up.
  • Look for any type of cheese tortellini for this recipe. Use 3 cheese, spinach ricotta, Parmesan: any type of cheese flavor will work.
Cheese tortellini

Secrets to the best creamy marinara sauce

This tasty cheese tortellini recipe is engineered by us to be two things: mega quick and mega delicious! This one’s like a cross between our famous baked goat cheese and our goat cheese pasta. It capitalizes on the best flavor pairing: a great tomato sauce that’s made creamy using soft goat cheese. Here are a few tips for the very best creamy marinara:

  • Use canned fire roasted tomatoes. This special type of tomato is becoming easy to find. It’s charred over an open flame, which gives them a beautifully sweet flavor right out of the can. Can’t find them? Use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Use fresh basil. It’s a splurge in winter, but it’s absolutely worth it for the peppery flavor it imparts.
  • Use soft goat cheese (chevre). You might think a creamy marinara is good with heavy cream. But it’s great with soft goat cheese! None of those hard crumbles with the texture of feta: this sauce deserves a good chevre.

Why it works

Here you’ll use soft goat cheese to crumble into the marinara, and it adds a tang and a creamy body that makes it taste like a best-in-class gourmet meal. Add those beautifully boiled cheese tortellini, and every bite is velvety, heavenly goodness. You can save out a few goat cheese crumbles as a topping, too.

We like to add a little spinach into the mix too! It adds nutrients but the way it melds into the skillet, you can barely tell that it’s there.

Tortellini in skillet

Is goat cheese healthy? How does it compare to cow’s cheese?

You may have heard that when it comes to cheese, goat cheese can be a healthier option that other cheeses. You’re right! There are a few advantages to choosing this cheese vs a mozzarella or a Parmesan. Goat cheese has the following going for it (source: Prevention):

  • More vitamins and minerals than cow’s cheese. Goat’s milk is richer in essential nutrients than cow’s milk. It has more vitamin A & B, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Slightly less calories than cow’s cheese. Goat cheese has just 75 calories per ounce—less than cow cheeses like mozzarella (85 calories), Swiss (108 calories), and cheddar (115 calories).
  • May be easier to digest. Goat cheese has less lactose than cow’s milk and a slightly different protein structure, so people who are lactose intolerant many times can digest goat cheese.

Can you make it gluten-free?

Yes! There are actually some good brands of gluten free tortellini on the market these days. We don’t eat exclusively gluten-free, so we don’t have a preferred brand. But there are lots of great options in both refrigerated and frozen varieties. Again, we recommend steering away from dried. Do you have a brand to recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

Tortellini recipes

What to serve with cheese tortellini!

This cheese tortellini recipe is an ideal quick dinner: it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up! Pair it with a simple side dish or two and you’re in business. It’s ideal for Meatless Mondays or impressing friends with a tasty vegetarian dinner. Of course, it can be harder than you think to find side dishes that work with the flavors, compliments it nutritionally, and is easy enough to make while you tackle the main dish. Here are a few of our favorite sides to pair here:

This cheese tortellini recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free tortellini.

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Cheese tortellini

Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Cheese tortellini makes the best quick dinner recipe! Serve it up in a creamy marinara sauce flavored with goat cheese and basil. 


Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 ounces frozen or refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 28 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, tightly packed (or chopped spinach)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 ounce goat cheese log

Instructions

  1. Boil the tortellini according to the package instructions (fresh usually takes 2 to 3 minutes and frozen takes 2 to 5 minutes to boil). Then drain it. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, oregano, kosher salt, spinach, and whole basil leaves. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer while the pasta cooks or at least 10 minutes.
  3. When the pasta is done and drained, add it to the skillet. Crumble in the goat cheese into the sauce and stir until a creamy sauce forms (if you’d like, save out a few crumbles for topping). Serve immediately.
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: Cheese tortellini, Tortellini recipes

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Easy Marinara Sauce

My homemade marinara sauce is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make this recipe ALL of the time, it is a staple in our kitchen. It’s a family recipe, that could be a secret family recipe, but since we don’t keep any secrets from you g…

My homemade marinara sauce is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make this recipe ALL of the time, it is a staple in our kitchen. It’s a family recipe, that could be a secret family recipe, but since we don’t keep any secrets from you guys, I am sharing the recipe. You are our…

The post Easy Marinara Sauce appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Easy 1-Pot Vegan Spaghetti (30 Minutes!)

Want spaghetti but don’t have the energy to boil water, drain pasta, and make a from-scratch sauce? Us either!
Try our simplified take on spaghetti made in 1 pot with plenty of veggies, perfectly al dente spaghetti noodles, and hearty marinara sauce. …

Easy 1-Pot Vegan Spaghetti (30 Minutes!)

Want spaghetti but don’t have the energy to boil water, drain pasta, and make a from-scratch sauce? Us either!

Try our simplified take on spaghetti made in 1 pot with plenty of veggies, perfectly al dente spaghetti noodles, and hearty marinara sauce. Top with vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil for the ultimate 30-minute weeknight meal! Perfect for making ahead and enjoying throughout the week. Let us show you how it’s done!

Easy 1-Pot Vegan Spaghetti (30 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles. One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved. How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do: Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash. *Note: Using the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.

Spaghetti squash lasagna

One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved.

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps

This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do:

  1. Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash.
    *Note: Using the Instant Pot cuts this time in half.
  2. Step 2 (15 minutes): Make the filling and layer it up.
  3. Step 3 (10 minutes): Bake it until the cheese melts.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Tips on how to cook spaghetti squash

The main task for this spaghetti squash lasagna is (no surprise!)…cooking the spaghetti squash. Here’s what to know about cooking this tough yellow squash:

  • Slice lengthwise to serve in “bowls”. Usually we slice the squash around the middle to get the longest noodles (see How to Cook Spaghetti Squash). But if you want to serve it in natural bowls, cit it lengthwise.
  • Roasting is the best method. Roast your squash at 400 degrees until it’s tender, 40 to 55 minutes.
  • Separate into noodles with a fork. Scrape out the cut sides with a fork: instant noodles!
  • Allow to steam 5 minutes in a colander. This helps to remove excess liquid.

Alternative method: Instant Pot!

Want to speed up the cook time? You can cook your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot, with one caveat: you’ll have to cook them one at a time. This spaghetti squash lasagna calls for 2 squash, but only 1 can fit in an Instant Pot at a time.

The Instant Pot is significantly quicker: it takes only 13 minutes for the squash to cook. So even cooking two squash, it takes about half the time to pressure cook them. Score!

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna filling ingredients & add-in ideas!

Once you’ve cooked up that spaghetti squash, the rest of the lasagna recipe is a breeze! Here’s what you’ll need for the filling, including an idea for some add-ins:

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Spaghetti sauce: Use your favorite brand to keep this quick and easy. There are lots of great brands on the market these days that are minimally processed.
  • Add-in idea: To make it more filling, add plant-based crumbles! We used to avoid these, but lately there have been less processed versions on the market. For more details, see our Quick Chili recipe. You can also add cooked and drained ground beef for meat eaters.

Bake it in the shells, or use a baking dish!

The fun part about this spaghetti squash lasagna is that you can bake it in the shells for beautiful presentation! But it’s not required. Here are a few notes about both:

  • Bake it in the shell: When you scoop out the spaghetti squash strands with a fork, keep the skin of the squash in tact. It forms a natural shell that you can use for baking it! Pros: it’s beautiful. Cons: it’s pre-portioned so you can’t choose how much you want, and it’s harder to serve to a crowd. Kids also seem to prefer the next option.
  • Bake it in a 9 x 9 baking dish: Or, throw it into a 9 x 9 baking dish! It works just as well and takes a little less time to assemble. Pros: It’s easier to serve to a crowd, and seems more like “real” lasagna. Cons: It’s not nearly as stunning to look at.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Make ahead tips for spaghetti squash lasagna

Can you make ahead parts of this spaghetti squash lasagna for easy prep? Absolutely. Here are a few options to choose from:

  • Roast the squash in advance. Simply roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: just pour it off. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling).
  • Don’t assemble in advance. You might be tempted to assemble it then refrigerate, but we advise against this. Moisture can accumulate in the fridge, making it overly watery. Simply roast the squash in advance per above: you can layer it while the oven preheats and there’s no time lost!

Sides to serve with spaghetti squash lasagna

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a total show stopper that everyone will love! While it’s a great naturally gluten free and keto dinner option, it works for anyone no matter their eating preferences. Here are a few ways we’d accessorize it to make a healthy dinner (though on a weeknight, we usually just do non-recipes like raw veggies or a throw together salad):

We hope you love it as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below.

Spaghetti squash recipe

This spaghetti squash lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Spaghetti squash lasagna

Favorite Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much satisfying flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.


Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil and oregano OR 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce or marinara, your favorite brand (24 ounce jar)*
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the spaghetti squash: Using a small sharp paring knife, cut the spaghetti squash around the middle lengthwise. To cut, pierce the knife into the squash and swing down, making small slices around the squash until it breaks in half. Use the knife to cut around the seeds, and then scoop them out with a spoon. Rub the insides of the squash with 2 teaspoons olive oil total. Place the halves on baking sheet cut side down, and roast 40 to 55 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the squash, until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Alternative method: Go Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash and cook the 2 squash separately (they each cook in 13 minutes).**
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Make the squash noodles and steam 5 minutes: Allow the squash to cool slightly, then use a fork to scrape out the squash into “spaghetti” strands into a colander. Save the hard “shell” of the squash to use for serving, or you can use a 9 x 9 baking dish. Allow the squash to steam in sink for 5 minutes.
  5. Season the noodles: Place the noodles in a large bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the Italian seasoning. Add the cheese mixture and stir gently to combine (don’t overmix). Now for the important part: taste the noodles and add up to 1/2 teaspoon more salt, until the flavor pops. The exact amount will depend on the weight of your squash and the brand of ricotta. We typically end up adding between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more. 
  6. Layer the lasagna: Using the 4 squash shells or a 9 x 9 baking dish, do the following: place a layer of the cheesy squash and top it with a layer of 1 cup sauce (split among the shells if desired). Then top with the final layer of cheesy squash and the remaining 1 1/2 cups sauce. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (split across the 4 shells or in the pan).
  7. Bake: Place in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with torn or chopped fresh basil. 

Notes

*To make a more filling spaghetti squash lasagna, simmer 1 1/2 cups frozen plant-based crumbles in the sauce for 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Or, cook and drain 3/4 pound ground beef and add it to the sauce.

**Make ahead tips:  Roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: pour it off before assembling. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling). Don’t be tempted assemble in advance and refrigerate; too much liquid accumulates while in the fridge, so we don’t recommend this. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Spaghetti squash lasagna

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Baked Bubbly and Cheesy Cauliflower Parmesan.

This cauliflower parmesan is the perfect cheesy treat. Why yes, I’ll call anything with a cheese a treat. Cheese is my treat of choice. Always! To say I love this meal (side? snack?) would be an understatement. It is so darn good. See, Eddie LOVES chicken parmesan. I make it for him every few weeks […]

The post Baked Bubbly and Cheesy Cauliflower Parmesan. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

This cauliflower parmesan is the perfect cheesy treat.

baked cauliflower parmesan

Why yes, I’ll call anything with a cheese a treat. Cheese is my treat of choice. Always!

sliced cauliflower

To say I love this meal (side? snack?) would be an understatement. It is so darn good.

See, Eddie LOVES chicken parmesan. I make it for him every few weeks (sometimes in meatball form!). And I’m not sure when the idea of cauliflower covered in sauce and cheese became more appealing to me than chicken covered in sauce and cheese, but it did. There I said it! 

cauliflower steaks with olive oil

It’s true. This is more desirable to me than crispy chicken, which is just crazy! I never thought the day would come.

Now I don’t exactly consider this a meal alone, though it could be one – maybe with a side of pasta or vegetables or beans or something? Something with a little more substance. 

OR you could make this as a side dish. Or heck, a nice little lunch with a greens salad. Sounds perfect with a glass of chilled pinot grigio!

cauliflower parmesan about to be baked

Okay so the cauliflower parm!

It’s no secret that roasted cauliflower is one of the first vegetables I really got into. I’ve said for years that when it’s roasted, it almost takes on a popcorn-like flavor. It’s kind of nutty, if you will. In a really good way.

fresh mozzarella, sauce on cauliflower

I still can’t bear to call cauliflower steaks. But I mean, these do look steak-like, if I do say so myself! The key is to slice the head of cauliflower into thick pieces so it can hold a ton of sauce and cheese.

Since we cut the slices thick, I like to roast them first. This allows them to get a little browned and charred, maybe with a few crispy edges. 

Then we go back in and top with marinara. Then top with fresh mozzarella!

baked cauliflower parmesan

Roast a bit more until that cheese is golden and bubbly. It’s a dream! Top with the garlic butter breadcrumbs for a little texture. And fresh basil too. 

baked cauliflower parmesan

This is definitely a knife and fork kind of dish. The cauliflower will be tender enough to cut with a fork, but it may be a little messy with the sauce. Throw in some garlic bread too? 

baked cauliflower parmesan

It’s warm and comforting and totally delish.

baked cauliflower parmesan

I’m all about the easy weeknight comfort meals right now and this hits the spot!

baked cauliflower parmesan

Cauliflower Parmesan

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Cauliflower Parmesan

This baked cauliflower parmesan is seasoned and covered in saucy marinara, topped with bubbly cheese and garlic butter breadcrumbs.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author How Sweet Eats

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, sliced into 1-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, for topping
  • fresh basil, for topping

garlic butter breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Slice the cauliflower from the top down, into 1-inch thick slices. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet. Drizzle or brush with the olive oil so it covers the slices. Sprinkle with the italian seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper all over. Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, spoon the marinara over the cauliflower. Place a slice of the fresh mozzarella on top. Bake for 15 more minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and melted.
  • Remove the cauliflower and top with the breadcrumbs, fresh basil and a sprinkle of parmesan.

garlic butter breadcrumbs

  • Heat the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic, cook for a few seconds, then stir in the bread crumbs. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes until golden.

baked cauliflower parmesan

Looks like a nice cheesy pillow

The post Baked Bubbly and Cheesy Cauliflower Parmesan. appeared first on How Sweet Eats.

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Baked Rigatoni Pasta

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella. Here’s a vegetarian dinner idea that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater. Ingredients in baked rigatoni The sauce in this baked rigatoni is full of tangy tomato flavor! As you’ll see, we’ve used a few tricks to get big flavor with little effort. Here’s what you’ll need: Rigatoni pasta Marinara sauce Use your favorite, high quality brand. Fire roasted crushed tomatoes If you can’t find them, use any high quality crushed tomatoes. More on fire roasted is below! Fresh garlic Key for big Italian flavors! Onion powder and fennel These add to the meatiness. Fresh basil Peppery fresh basil brings an herby zing. Fresh mozzarella […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella.

Baked rigatoni

Here’s a vegetarian dinner idea that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater.

Ingredients in baked rigatoni

The sauce in this baked rigatoni is full of tangy tomato flavor! As you’ll see, we’ve used a few tricks to get big flavor with little effort. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rigatoni pasta
  • Marinara sauce Use your favorite, high quality brand.
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes If you can’t find them, use any high quality crushed tomatoes. More on fire roasted is below!
  • Fresh garlic Key for big Italian flavors!
  • Onion powder and fennel These add to the meatiness.
  • Fresh basil Peppery fresh basil brings an herby zing.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese Use shredded mozzarella if you can’t find it.
  • Parmesan cheese Grated Parmesan finishes it off with a savory sharpness.
Rigatoni

What is rigatoni?

Rigatoni is a tube-shaped pasta that usually has ridges on the outside, used in cuisine from Southern and Central Italy. It’s larger in diameter than penne and is cut straight, not on the diagonal. Rigatoni comes from the Italian word rigato which means “ridged”. It’s easy to find at most grocery stores.

What we like about rigatoni? One bite of rigatoni feels somehow more substantial than penne, and the shape tends to hold sauces a bit better. However, it’s very similar to penne and can easily be substituted for it. Rigatoni is a short cut type of pasta, so you can substitute it with many short cut pasta shapes.

How to make baked rigatoni: basic steps

This baked rigatoni is missing one thing that most rigatoni recipes have: meat! That makes it even easier than most to put together, and it works as a vegetarian main dish. Here’s all you have to do to make it:

  • Boil the pasta to al dente. Air on the side of a firm al dente, since the pasta will cook a little more as it bakes. See below for more!
  • Make the sauce. Saute garlic, add marinara, fire roasted tomatoes and spices, and simmer just a few minutes.
  • Combine, top with cheese, and bake. You’ll bake 25 minutes: 15 with foil and 10 without.
Baked rigatoni

How to cook pasta to al dente

What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite” and means pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Note that for this rigatoni recipe, you can air on the side of firm because the pasta cooks more as it bakes. Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.

Make ahead tips!

Yes! You can make the pasta right up until the baking step. Then refrigerate it until baking! We’d suggest refrigerating for only 24 hours. You may have to bake slightly longer: make sure that it’s fully warmed through and the cheese is fully melted.

Rigatoni

Fire roasted tomatoes have the best flavor

Last note on ingredients: we recommend using canned fire roasted tomatoes here. Why fire roasted? Fire roasted canned tomatoes have a sweet flavor right out of the can. So you don’t have to spend a long time simmering for great flavor. There are several of brands of fire roasted tomatoes these days that should be available at your local grocery.

Using these tomatoes is a little less crucial for a recipe like this where you’re combining them with marinara sauce. So if you can’t find them: buy the best quality tomatoes you can find!

Variations on baked rigatoni

You can always add mix-ins to this rigatoni! Here are some ideas on ingredients to add:

  • Cooked ground beef or plant based meat crumbles: Make it ultra traditional and saute meat or veggie crumbles. Add them to the pasta and sauce before baking.
  • Spinach and mushrooms: Saute mushrooms and spinach like in our Vegan Lasagna filling.
  • Other veggies. Saute other veggies you have on hand to add to the mix! Some ideas: kale, red pepper, zucchini, and so forth.
Cheese pull

This rigatoni recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

Print
Baked rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 15 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the rigatoni until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the basil and tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and 1 pinch red pepper flakes and the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the sauce and the drained pasta into the baking dish. Top with torn pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle the entire top with generous sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and top with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided over the top. Let stand 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped basil. (Make ahead instructions: Make the pasta through Step 4 and cover with foil. Refrigerate until baking, up to 24 hours.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Rigatoni

More rigatoni recipes

Love rigatoni? Us too! Here are a few recipes that highlight this tasty pasta shape:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes