This Vegan Rigatoni Pie is a SHOWSTOPPER! Rigatoni is layered in a springform pan with tofu ricotta, homemade marinara and a cheesy vegan topping.
I have had this recipe on my mind for a while! It just looked so fun and I couldn't wait to make a vegan version of it! This might not be your go-to weeknight dinner, but would be super fun for a dinner party. Definitely a recipe to impress a crowd!
Let's start with the basics. The pasta I used is called "Paccheri", which is basically a wider, fatter rigatoni. BUT, you can also use rigatoni and get the same exact effect.
You will also need a springform pan in order to make this recipe. I used a 9" springform pan and ordered it online. These are super inexpensive and can also be used to make cheesecake - believe me, that is on my to-do list!
How to prep Vegan Rigatoni Pie
This recipe does take a few steps, but just stay with me and work on one thing at a time. It will come together in no time!
Start out by making the sauce. It is just a simple combo of olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot, spices, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Get the veggies softened, then add the tomatoes. Let the sauce simmer for 30 minutes while you prep everything else.
The next step is the vegan ricotta. Instead of using my standard vegan ricotta recipe I decided to amp it up and make it more of a ricotta-pesto combo. Heavier on the tofu, lighter on the oil. Combine extra firm tofu, garlic, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, vegan parm, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a food processor. Blend until everything is combined. You can make it super smooth or leave it a little chunky.
The "cheesy" topping is my go-to combo of vegan cream cheese and non-dairy creamer. The combo just works when it is baked. It looks and tastes like delicious.
Once everything is ready, go ahead and cook the pasta. Be sure to leave it al dente (about 2 minutes less than the package says) because it will finish cooking in the oven.
How to assemble Vegan Rigatoni Pie
Now, we have made it to assembly time. Oil the spring form pan and place it on a baking sheet. Spread some sauce on the bottom of the pan.
When it comes to the next step, you have a couple of options. You can either pipe the ricotta mixture into each piece of pasta and then place them in the pan. OR you can keep things simple (like I did) and just place the pasta in the pan and top it with the ricotta mixture. Either way, be sure that the pasta is sticking straight up and is packed in pretty tight.
If you did it my way and placed the empty pasta shells in the pan, add the ricotta and spread it out to the edges. Gently press it down so it starts to go into the pasta openings. Next, add the rest of the marinara. It might seem like too much, but trust me, it's perfect!
To finish things off, add a layer of vegan parm (optional) and the cheesy cream cheese topping we made. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 375.
Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes. AND, for an extra crispy topping, you can finish it off with a few more minutes under the broiler.
How to serve Vegan Rigatoni Pie
Before you get too excited. We've gotta let this thing cool down for at least 15 minutes. This will ensure that it will stay together when you take the outside of the pan off.
And the moment we've all been waiting for...time to reveal. This is the real show stopping part! All the hard work is going to pay off. Ta-Da!!!
I topped mine with fresh basil and parsley, but any fresh herbs would be great! Now, cut it up like a pie and dig in.
Suggestions for making Vegan Rigatoni Pie
- Sauce: Once this is baked it isn't OVERLY saucy. I really like the light sauce, and earthy tofu ricotta flavor combo. But, if you want this to be saucier, then I would just have a jar of pre-made marinara on the side to serve with the finished product.
- Ricotta: Want to make this even more simple? You could buy pre-made vegan ricotta. I would go with 16 oz. Just blend it with the garlic, pine nuts and basil for the same effect.
- Cheesy Topping: While I am a HUGE fan of my cheesy topping hack (I use it all the time). You could also sub shredded vegan cheese if that's your thing.
Need more recipe inspo? Check these out:
Vegan Rigatoni Pie
FOR THE MARINARA
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic finely diced
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 carrot finely diced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- red pepper flakes optional, to taste
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup water
FOR THE TOFU RICOTTA
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu drained & pressed
- 1 lemon juiced
- 4 tablespoons vegan parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 2 large handfuls fresh basil
- salt & pepper to taste
FOR THE TOPPING
- 4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons non-dairy creamer unsweetened, or non-dairy milk
- vegan parmesan optional
- To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, oregano, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper. Cook down for 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and water to the pot and stir to combine. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, prep everything else. For the tofu ricotta, add everything to a food processor and blend until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
- For the topping, combine the cream cheese and creamer to a bowl. Stir until combined. Keep the vegan parmesan separated. Set aside.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente - be sure not to over cook. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil so the pasta doesn't stick.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a 9" springform pan on a baking sheet. Oil the springform pan.
- Add ½ cup of marinara to the bottom of the pan. One by one, place the pasta in the pan so each piece is standing straight up and they are pretty tightly packed. Spread the ricotta mixture** over the pasta, gently pressing it down into the crevices. Next, add the rest of the marinara and spread to the edges. Add a sprinkle of vegan parmesan (if using) and finally spread out the cream cheese topping. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for 10 more minutes. If you like a crispier topping, you can also cook it under the broiler for an additional few minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Place on a serving platter*** and remove the outside rim of the springform pan. Top with fresh herbs, cut into slices and serve.
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