Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baked Ziti

I have just been so neglectful of my little blog. I could make excuses about how busy life has been but really, I eat every day so how can I make excuses? I made some awesome foods for Thanksgiving so expect some new posts coming soon. Now onto the ziti!

I grew up in a town with a very large Italian population, so suffice it to say that going out for Italian food was a common occurrence in my childhood. I really missed stuffed shells until I found Rising Moon and ravioli until I found SoyBoy. I never found a store bought baked ziti so I had to find a way to make my own. Ok well I don't eat any of those very often but it is a special treat when I get some good old Italian pasta dishes.

This dish isn't necessarily fast but it's pretty easy. I make a big batch of vegan ricotta and use it for different dishes over the next 1 1/2-2 weeks.  That is probably the most time consuming item to make, aside from bake time.

For 2-4 Servings of Baked Ziti:

1 1/2-2 cups (dry) of cooked ziti pasta
8 oz Tomato Sauce (store bought or homemade)
6-8 oz Vegan Ricotta (see recipe below)
4 oz Daiya Mozzarella Cheese (or any brand that you like)
2 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese (1 part ground sesame seeds, 1 part nutritional yeast)

*Preheat your oven to 375F.
*Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Drain well and place in a medium mixing bowl. add in the tomato sauce, vegan ricotta, and vegan mozzarella. Mix well using a rubber spatula.
*Lightly grease/spray a baking dish and place the mixture into the dish.
*Sprinkle the vegan parmesan on top and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Vegan Ricotta 
1/2 cup Raw Cashews (soaked for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (slightly less if bottled)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 lb of Firm Tofu (I like the texture of Nasoya Light Firm Tofu for this recipe)
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt

*In a food processor add the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blend until creamy.
*Add remaining ingredients to food processor and blend until creamy again.
How easy is that?!

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