I haven’t had real beef in a long time. But this Vegan Beef by Beyond Meat tastes pretty close to the real thing. Well as far as I can remember. It cooks down similarly, and the texture is very close. You could probably trick a carnivore into believing that they are eating real meat. My meet eating teen loved this dish just as much as I did, and even went back for seconds.
I don’t do fake meat often because most varieties include some form of soy or gluten, both of which I try to limit my intake of. But this fake beef is plant based and doesn’t contain neither soy nor gluten. Although I haven’t been tested, I believe that I’m sensitive to gluten since it makes my stomach swell right up. I do have an autoimmune thyroid disorder. So it’s not unlikely that I could have another autoimmune disorder that is triggered by gluten. Anyway, let’s get back to this Vegan Beef Baked Ziti.
The beef is vegan, but I used cheese. A lot of cheese. So this is a vegetarian dish (if you eat cheese) and not a vegan dish. You can easily swap out the dairy cheese for vegan cheese to make it a vegan dish though.
I usually use gluten free pasta. But there wasn’t any gluten free ziti available when I ordered my groceries online (see where I shop for my groceries online here). So I used regular ziti noodles and my poor stomach suffered. It was worth it. However, next time I’ll plan in advance and be sure to get gluten free noodles so that I can enjoy this dish even more. Now let’s get to the recipe.
“Vegan Beef” Baked Ziti
- 1 lb Beyond Beef
- 1 lb ziti pasta (cooked al dente)
- 48-64 ozs tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup vidalia onion (chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 cup tomatoes (chopped)
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 7 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chop the onion and tomatoes, and crush the garlic. Cook the ziti noodles al dente, rinse and drain. Set everything aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven (or any large pan that can go in the oven). Add the onions and garlic and sautee until tender. Then add the Vegan Beef and season with sea salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Break up the beef with a spoon and let it cook until brown.
- Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce to the pan, and season with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and brown sugar. Cover the pan and let the sauce simmer until heated through.
- Add the ziti noodles to the sauce and mix thoroughly. Now mix in half of the mozzarella, and add all of the ricotta. I like like to add the ricotta in large spoonfulls throughout the pan, but you can mix it in if you'd like. Level the ziti mixture with a spoon. Then add the rest of the mozzarella and a few tablesoons of tomato sauce on top.
- Cover the pan and bake the ziti for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- The seasoning measurements are estimated and can be adjusted to your taste.
- Use whatever kind of tomato sauce you prefer, or even make your own.
- You may also use whatever kind of cheese you like, or even swap out for vegan cheese.