Updated: May 15, 2020
For this recipe you’re going to need penne pasta, big or small. You can also use lasagne noodles. Or heck, just use whatever floats your boat. It all ends up in the stomach in the end. A lot of times I just use what’s in my pantry.
This recipe is going to be rough. We’re gonna eyeball the measurements and season via our taste buds. But don’t be intimidated. It’s easier than it sounds. Just trust your senses.
If it wasn’t for this blog, I would never measure anything when I cook. I’ve been cooking since was 6 years old so I’m used to relying on my senses and cooking intuitively. Baking is another story, since it’s a more sensitive process.
I started cooking at a young age but I love to eat - duh. And I couldn’t wait to cook my favorite dishes. But, I digress.
So here goes. Let’s begin our pasta adventure. 🤗😋
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour approx
Yields: 4-5 servings
8 oz of pasta or 1/2 a package - boiled and drained
7-8 oz firm tofu or 1/2 a package
28 oz canned crushed tomatos
Garlic - about 1/2 a clove or 1 tbsp minced approx , less if you're not a garlic lover
1 Zucchini -- chipped
Spinach - about 2 handfuls or as much as you can fit in your casserole dish. You can also use kale or your favorite green
Onion - optional , about 1/3 cup chopped
Beyond beef - optional, or your favorite vegan protein -- about 1/2 cup
Basil, fresh or dried (as seasoning and or garnish) - chopped or whole for garnish
Vegan cheese sauce -- see my spinach cheese dip recipe
Vegan cheese shreds - mozzarella or chedder
Red pepper - omit if you don't like it hot
Coconut oil - deoderized
Flour - as thickening agent as needed
Pre-heat oven. My oven controls were broken so I don't actually know the temperature but try 350-450 degrees. That's pretty standard.
Cook your beyond beef in an oiled skillet or pan to desired texture. Don't over cook or let it get too crunchy. If you decide to include onions, throw them in and cook with the beef.
Throw in the chopped zucchini. Cook until soft but not well done since we'll be baking it .
Throw in half of the minced garlic
Add the crushed tomatoes. Bring to boil, and cook on medium heat until tomatoes begin to soften and dissolve. If sauce is too thin, sprinkle in a tiny amount of flour (about 1/2 tsp - 1/2 tbsp). Add small amounts of water at a time if too thick. Turn to low heat after 8-10 minutes and cook for a total of 15-20 minutes approx.
Season sauce with salt, pepper, nutritional yeast and red pepper to taste. Omit red pepper as you'd like. Add in some deoderized coconut oil or olive oil for shine and richness. Add some dry or chopped fresh basil if you'd like.
In a casserole dish add the cooked pasta
Crumble the tofu with your hands and mix it in with the pasta
Add 2 handfuls of spinach or mix in as much as you'd like or can fit in the casserole dish
Mix in the cheese sauce. It's ok if you skip the cheese sauce but it will taste more creamy, savory, and delicious if you don't. It will still taste good without it though, just not as thick or rich.
Mix in your cheese shreds
Pour on the sauce, mixing it in with a spoon, making sure all the pasta is covered. Be generous or your pasta will be dry. You may have extra sauce. Keep it aside and use it as topping before serving.
Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese shreds on top
Cover with foil
Bake 30 minutes covered
Bake another 10-15 minutes uncovered, watching it and making sure it doesn't burn or over cook
Have some patience and let it cool before serving (about 45 mins - 1 hour). You can eat it sooner but the pasta won't hold it's casserole shape / form. It will just fall and melt onto the plate but will still be tasty
*Serving Suggestions: Drizzle with olive oil or sprinkle with red pepper and garnish with fresh basil before serving. Enjoy!
Come say hi, check out more photos and recipes and follow me on Instagram:
Food & Blog account: @jengo.daily https://www.instagram.com/jengo.daily/
Portrait account: @ jengo_photo https://www.instagram.com/jengo_photo/