Creamy Vegan Sundried Tomato Baked Pasta
If you want a creamy delicious baked pasta dish sans the cheeses and gluten you have come to the right place. Give up none of the comfy cozy flavours of a pasta bake with this vegan one that you will not be able to stop eating.
I have partnered up with an awesome Canadian company that has fabulous gluten free and vegan products. I particularly love the texture of quinoa pasta and GoGo Quinoa’s pasta does not disappoint. It works wonderfully with this pasta bake.
You noticed that I give you two ways of preparing the pasta in the directions. I read in a Food 52 article on baked pastas that the best way to achieve a great textured pasta for baked pastas is to soak the pasta in hot water as opposed to boiling it. Either way is fine with this recipe but I personally love to soak mine. You don’t have to bring a huge pot of pasta water to boil – also one less huge pot you have to clean. Simple and by the time your sauces are made for this, the pasta will be ready.
Another tip I learned from somebody else, I cannot remember who, but a great little tip for if you forget to soak your cashews and don’t have 2-4 hours to wait just soak the cashews in barely boiling (not boiling though) hot water for 15-20 minutes. I had to do that the first time I made this dish when I was testing it out because I completely forgot about the cashews.
The red sauce has so much flavour it’s unbelievable! It had notes of pesto from the basil and some smokiness from the peppers and the sun dried tomatoes add a sweetness and slight bitterness that are a great balance. The onion and garlic get pulverized into the sauce and cook while baking so you don’t have to worry about them going in raw. The same goes for the finely grated zucchini. I got the idea for the zucchini from Healthy blended recipes and I love the addition of it. You get a little texture and you also get more veggies packed into the dish.
I particularly the love the texture of quinoa pasta and Gogo Quinoa’s pasta does not disappoint
This entire dish is a real mash up of several recipes and ideas I had. I mentioned the one above and then Eatwithinyourmeans for a take on their cashew sauce and Foodwithmyfamily inspired the red sauce – which I have made many times before. I wanted the same great flavours of some of the most delicious baked pasta dishes I have made into this vegan and gluten free dish. Fully achieved with the super flavour packed red sauce and the creamy vegan cashew cream. I needed to add some crunch though and that’s why I decided to add the bread crumbs between layers and on top. It’s perfect. I love all the textures in this dish.
I have to say we did not miss the cheese or the creamy béchamel sauce from my regular baked pasta or Mac and cheese at all. We loved this! This would be perfect on any occasion and for anyone. A great dish for entertaining and all would enjoy it regardless of whether they have food allergies or intolerances.
I have a giveaway going on in partnership with GoGo Quinoa and you can win the pasta for this dish as well as the cookies I used for the chocolate hazelnut tart I made in partnership with them. So do check it out on my Instsgram Post and qualify to win!!
For the pasta
- Approx 16 oz of pasta (I used GoGo Quinoa)
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 grated zucchini
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Gluten free bread crumbs **
For the cashew cream
- 2 cups of cashew (soaked in cold water for 2-4 hours then drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup water
- 1 heaping tbsp of nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp GF miso paste
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of vegetable broth or water
- 1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 roasted red pepper (roast on the grill or in the oven on broil until blackened and blistered all around, allow to rest in foil for a few minutes to steam and cool and then peel and remove seeds and chop)***
- ½ cup basil
- Pinch of chili flakes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 chopped onion
- 8 oz of sundried tomatoes packed in oil
- ¾ cup of cashew cream
Preheat over to 450 ° F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish
Grate the zucchini and put in a large bowl and set aside
Soak your pasta in hot water from a kettle (place pasta in large bowl and cover with hot water stirring every so often until al dente - approx 10-15 minutes depending on which pasta you use) or boil until al dente then drain and add the pasta to the bowl of zucchini along with 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste tossing well until zucchini is fully mixed in with the pasta. Set aside.
While the pasta is soaking make your sauces
In a food processor or high speed blender add the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, miso paste and white vinegar and process until smooth periodically stopping to scrape the sides of bowl down. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Empty into a bowl and remove ¾ cups of it to add to the red sauce.
In the same processor add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, tomato paste, roasted red pepper, basil, chili flakes, garlic, onion, sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and process until smooth. Add the reserved ¾ cup of cashew cream and pulse a few times until incorporated into the sauce.
Place half of the pasta zucchini mixture in the greased dish. Add half the rosé sauce to it and toss it well so that all the pasta is wet from the sauce. Spread it into an even layer.
Dollop half of the remaining cashew cream sauce and evenly spread it over the pasta
Sprinkle with half of the gluten free bread crumbs.
Toss the rest of the pasta zucchini mixture in the bowl with the rest of the sauce and then layer it over the bread crumbs evenly
Spread the rest of the cashew cream of the pasta and top with the remaining bread crumbs.
Bake on a baking sheet for approx 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Let cool for 10 minutes and serve topped with torn basil.
Homemade GF bread crumbs:
- Tear 4-5 pieces of your favourite GF bread (I used Ezekiel sesame bread) into pieces and toss with 1 tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste.
- Place on to a baking sheet and bake at 350 ° for approx 10-15 minutes until golden tossing them once halfway though.
- Remove when done and set aside to cool complete and harden.
- Process them in a food processor until they are bread crumb.
* You can also used the bottle kind of roasted red pepper too. Either works well but the roasted ones usually have a nice smokier flavour that they add to the dish.