5 Tasty and Easy Vegetarian Pasta Bakes to Warm Up Your Soul
Calling all veggies! Did you know that the 1st October is World Veggie Day?
Being a veggie has so many super health benefits, such as better heart health, better immunity as well as being very environmentally friendly!
Whether you stick to a straight-up veggie diet or just love vegetarian dishes, we’ve got some utterly scrumptious recipes you need to try out.
After all, you want to impress your pals in your student accommodation right? There’s more to life than Super Noodles and beans on toast!
Everybody loves a good pasta bake, and with the weather getting a little chillier outside, you want something nice and hearty to satisfy your rumbling tummy.
Fun fact: World Pasta Day is on the 25th October – so let’s take a look at some easy and very yummy vegetarian pasta bake recipes for inspo!
Vegetarian vs Vegan: What Is The Difference?
The main difference is the fact that vegans eat no animal products, whilst vegetarians don’t eat animals but may eat the products that come from them, such as eggs and dairy.
So, let’s break it down:
- “Lacto” vegetarians eat dairy products and eggs but avoid meat, poultry or seafood
- “Ovo” vegetarians eat eggs but no dairy products, meat, poultry or seafood.
- “Pesco” vegetarians (or pescatarians) follow a semi-vegetarian diet and eat fish and other seafood but not meat.
Vegans who choose this diet for moral reasons are always very passionate about the welfare of animals, and may avoid wearing leather and suede items of clothing because they are made from animal skins.
They may also avoid fabrics such as wool and silk, because animals used to produce these materials can be harmed in the process.
Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?
If you’re vegetarian and wondering if you can cover your tantalizing pasta bake meal in plenty of parmesan, we’ve got the answer.
Unfortunately, this may not be the answer you wanted though, because Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is not vegetarian.
This is because of its inclusion of an ingredient called ‘rennet’, which is an enzyme used to set cheese during the making process.
The enzyme is extracted from the stomach lining (blergh) of calves and softened into a brine solution, or boric acid, for four/five days, before being ready to use.
There is some good news though folks because there are a few alternatives to parmesan you can use that are veggie-friendly, and delicious!
Check out the Twineham Grange cheese, suitable for vegetarians, and perfect to give your hearty pasta dish some pizzazz.
Another fab alternative option is the VBites Dairy-Free Italian Hard Style Cheezly, a tasty vegan and vegetarian option perfect for Italian cuisine.
Now that we’ve cleared a few things up for you all, let’s crack on with our easy and tasty vegetarian pasta bake recipes, destined to warm up your soul:
Easy Vegetarian Pasta Bakes You Just Have to Try
The Classic Vegetarian Pasta Bake
This super simple veggie pasta bake is jam-packed full of goodness, ticking off your 5-a-day rule!
You’re going to need some vegetarian hard cheese (as mentioned above) for this particular dish, so you can get your cheesy fix.
This recipe can serve up to 4 people, perfect if you want to impress your uni mates with your culinary skills!
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Yellow Pepper
- 1 Aubergine
- 1 Courgette
- 1 Red Onion
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 150g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 400g chopped tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp chopped basil
- 300g penne pasta
- 150g mozzarella
- 2 tbsp pesto
- 2-3 tbsp vegetarian-friendly parmesan
1. Firstly, you’ll need to preheat your oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5, don’t forget to grab some oven gloves too, we don’t want any accidents!
2. Grab your peppers, aubergine, courgette and onion and pop them in a roasting tin or deep baking dish and coat in some oil. Season your veggies with salt and pepper and cook for 45 minutes until the vegetables are a nice golden brown and tender.
3. Add your cherry tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, don’t worry, the wait will be well worth it!
4. Whilst you’re doing this, don’t forget to cook the pasta in some salted boiling water according to packet instructions and add 4-6 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to the vegetables to loosen the tomatoey sauce.
5. Finally, drain the pasta and stir in the roasted veggies. For extra flavour, stir through the mozzarella and pesto, top with your parmesan and pop it in the oven for another 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Now all you need to do is tuck in and enjoy, hooray!
The Protein-Rich Veggie Pasta Bake
This protein rich pasta is bound to have you feeling fresh, with plenty of healthy, plant-based ingredients to really mix up your usual pasta dishes! With only a handful of ingredients necessary, this makes it one of the easiest vegetarian pasta bakes we’ve ever encountered.
Say goodbye to Uncle Bens pasta bake jars, because you’re going to be the next Gordon Ramsay after this.
- ½ cup lentil pasta (or normal pasta if you wish)
- ½ cup mushrooms
- A handful of spinach
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- 1 clove of garlic
- Black pepper
- Nutritional yeast
- 1tbsp dairy-free yoghurt
1. To begin with, boil and drain your pasta following the cooking instructions!
2. Fry the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes, then add your spinach and black pepper and fry for another two minutes until it’s all cooked.
3. Add your pasta to a pan with the sauce ingredients with your veggies and heat for 2 minutes to combine all those delish flavours.
4. Top your pasta with some nutritional yeast and get nomming that yummy dish!
The Comfort Vegetarian Pasta Bake
This extra special aubergine parmigiana has got us drooling, high in protein and low in calories, what’s not to love?
The extra tasty and super easy vegetarian pasta bake is guaranteed to keep you extra warm and cosy on a cold October evening, filled with deliciously hearty ingredients.
This dish serves 4 and takes about an hour to cook, so get ready to impress your buddies with this utterly scrumptious vegetarian pasta bake.
- 2 aubergines
- Spray oil
- Olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- 2 mozzarella balls
- Veggie alternative to parmesan
1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and put your aubergine slices onto baking paper lined trays, sprayed with a bit of oil. Roast this is in the oven for about 30 mins and don’t forget to flip halfway!
2. Next, heat some olive oil in a big pan and cook your onions and garlic for 10 minutes until they’re soft, add your chopped tomatoes, season and simmer.
3. In a 20cm x 30cm baking dish, layer up your aubergine and sauce and half-way layer half of the mozzarella, basil and parmesan. Then, layer up the remaining aubergine and sauce and finish with some more mozzarella, basil and parmesan, pretty easy, right?
4. Almost time to eat, we promise! Now all you need to do is put it in the oven for 30 minutes until it’s golden and bubbling, serve with a side salad for extra yumminess.
The Spooky Halloween Pasta Bake
Got loads of pumpkin left over from Halloween? Fear not! This creamy pumpkin pasta bake is perfect for leftovers, super-easy to make and mouth-watering too.
This dish serves four, perfect to share with your pals or great for batch cooking to save on money, because we know being a student can be expensive sometimes!
- 340g pasta
- ½ tbsp oil
- ½ onion diced
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- ½ cup of parsley
- 450g pumpkin puree
- 120ml pasta water
- 160ml plant-based milk
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp of salt
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 200g vegan/vegetarian cheese
- Fresh herbs
- Boil the pasta according to packet instructions and save about ½ the cup of water, you’ll need that for later!
- Chop up the onion, parsley and garlic and preheat your oven to 180C.
- Heat your oil in a large pan and add the diced onion and garlic, cook this for about 3 minutes and add the spices, pumpkin puree, and reserved pasta water!
- Add your plant-based milk and parsley and let that simmer for a few minutes and stir in your drained pasta.
- Transfer your mixture into a greased pan and spread evenly after seasoning and add your vegan/vegetarian on top for ultimate cheesiness, mmm!
- Finally, bake your dish for 20-25 minutes until its gold and bubbling on the top, garnish with your fresh herbs and enjoy!
The First Date Pasta Bake
Oh la la, love is in the air, at least it definitely will be after you and your lover have tried this delicious and easy vegetarian pasta bake recipe!
This deliciously comforting vegetarian pasta bake recipe is bound to make sparks fly, and it’s so easy to make too.
The recipe does serve four, but you could always half the ingredients if you’re having a romantic night in, or save the leftovers!
- 2.5 cups of penne pasta
- 2 cups of Ragu Homestyle Thick and Hearty Mushroom Sauce
- 1 tsp garlic
- 2 cups of mushrooms
- 2 cups of spinach
- 4oz fresh mozzarella
- Italian seasoning
1. First things first, you’ve got to preheat your oven to 350C and cook your pasta according to packet instructions.
2. When your pasta is done, combine the pasta, sauce, garlic, mushrooms, and spinach and mix until everything is evenly coated.
3. Pour your mixture into a baking dish and top with some fresh mozzarella, then bake for around 20-25 minutes until the cheese is nice and crispy and golden on top.
Pair this with your favourite glass of wine and let Cupid do his magic!
So there you have it, our fabulous bunch of hearty vegetarian pasta bakes, a perfect meal idea to accompany the chilly October weather. If you’re staying in student accommodation, you can ever surprise your flatmates with a tasty meal. Which one’s your favourite?