Remember baked ziti from those super cheapo fast Italian food places? Well, now that we finally have meltable and gooey vegan mozzarella that works (Daiya®), a vegan version of this classic is now possible and it won’t suck.

And it’s just as gooey, messy, sloppy, juicy and hard to clean out of the pan as the non-vegan versions. BUT don’t burn it like I did!

SnarkyVegan’s Baked Eggplant Ziti, with Spinach

This is a two-part recipe unless you’re using premade pasta sauce in a jar. And a lot of the ingredients can be grown in your own garden, keeping it more local and organic.

Eggplant Ziti

  • 3 cups of cubed eggplant (about 1 regular eggplant or several skinny Asian eggplants)
  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 6-8 ounces boiled pasta, a little less than al dente, penne or rigatoni style works well
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
  • 16 ounces Daiya® mozzarella, shredded
  • simple tomato sauce per below or 2 big jars pasta sauce*
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spoon a smear of sauce in the bottom of a DEEP 9×13 casserole or a very large cast iron skillet. Cast iron provides additional iron in your diet so this was my choice as you can see in the photos.
  3. Start layering remaining ingredients in this order: half of the pasta, eggplant, onion, spinach, olives, cheese, sauce. Create one more layer of the other half of these ingredients, topping with a sprinkling of cheese.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350F. Check it at about 30 minutes and if it’s starting to dry out, cover with foil for the remainder.
NOTE: If you like to skin your eggplants and salt/drain them first, that’s fine. I generally don’t take the time if I get the eggplants while they’re young and tender.

*Simple Tomato Sauce

  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. dried basil
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  1. Saute garlic in oil until translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer while stiring for 15 minutes. It will cook further in the ziti.
The only downside to this dish is the clean up. But that’s what husbands are for, right?
Your ingredients will stack high but bake down in the oven.