Creamy Vegan Pasta Bake
Updated: Apr 2, 2020
One of my favourite winter meals before I turned vegan was the Pasta bake, and honestly it was one of the few meals that I actually missed, so I was determined to veganize it. Turns out that this vegan recipe tastes even better than the original! The addition of the cashew cream to the tomato sauce makes it so lovely and rich and creamy, and with the homemade vegan cheese baked on top, you definitely wont miss the dairy. Filled with tons of roasted vegetables and beans, this pasta bake really has everything.
If you’d like to make the meal a little less heavy, or just cut out a bit of extra work, you can leave off the cheese on top, or just substitute it for store-bought vegan cheese. Either way, the creamy pasta sauce will still make a delicious meal!
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g dried vegan pasta (of your choice, I use penne)
1 red pepper
2 white onions
200g white button mushrooms
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 400g tin of kidney beans
½ cup (125g) cashews
20g fresh basil
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tomato puree
a splash of apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper to season
For the homemade vegan cheese topping (optional)
½ cup (125g) cashews
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
2 tbsp miso
4 tbsp tapioca starch
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
juice of half a lemon
½ tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper
Start by chopping the red pepper, courgette and one of the onions into chunks. Add to a baking dish, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven at 180 degrees C, for about 30 minutes or until soft.
Whilst the vegetables are roasting, add 1 cup of cashews (or half a cup if not making the cheese topping) to a mug or bowl and cover with boiling water, so that the nuts are just submerged. Leave to soak.
Next, finely chop the remaining onion and the garlic and add them to a frying pan with some oil. Fry for a few minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms into slices and when ready, add them to the frying pan. Cook until soft.
Whilst the mushrooms are cooking, add the soaked cashews to a food processor along with the water that they have been sitting in. Blitz for a few minutes until it forms a smooth paste.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet.
When the mushrooms are soft, finely chop the basil and add it to the frying pan along with the tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and a small splash of apple cider vinegar. Pour in half of the cashew cream (or if not making the cheese topping, then use all of the cream), leaving the rest in the food processor. Season the sauce with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
When the roasted vegetables are sufficiently soft, remove the baking dish from the oven. Drain the pasta and add it to the baking dish, along with the sauce. Mix everything thoroughly, ensuring it is evenly combined. If not adding the cheese topping, then you can at this point serve the meal as it is. Otherwise, set the dish to one side and begin making the cheese.
To make the cheese topping, combine all of the ingredients (soy milk, miso, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder and pepper) with the remaining cashew cream in the food processor. Mix for 30 seconds.
Transfer the cheese mixture to a small saucepan and heat on a medium heat, whisking continuously. Be careful to ensure that the bottom of the mixture does not burn. Heat until the liquid thickens, but remains of pouring consistency.
Pour the cheese over the pasta mixture, ensuring to cover as much as possible. Use a spoon to spread if necessary. Then place the baking dish back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese hardens slightly and begins to brown.
Remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy!