This Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza is like a delicious dream: Saucy chickpea ziti, flavorful walnut sausage, and an ooey gooey mozzarella sauce on a fluffy pizza crust baked to perfection in your cast iron pan. It’s shockingly easy to make and will be your new Friday dinner BFF!
[A huge thanks to Banza for hooking us up with the chickpea pasta which turns this totally indulgent dish into a surprisingly balanced meal!]
I’m pretty sure the first time I ever had baked ziti, it was on a pizza. A friend introduced me to it at a local Italian takeout place when I was a teenager, and I’ve been pretty obsessed with the whole idea ever since. Pasta on pizza? That is definitely my idea of a good time.
Obviously, I’ve been dying to make a vegan version for what feels like forever. And I am so, so happy I did because this might just be the best thing I’ve eaten all year. Or all decade. Or, I don’t know, I eat a lot of good food and like to hyperbolize about it. But the point is: THIS PIZZA IS AMAZING.
And I know, I know, some of you are rolling your eyes at this whole idea and thinking I’m crazy to make something so carb-heavy and decadent. This was exactly how T reacted when I first told him of my pizza plans, but I have a little trick up my sleeve:
That ziti right there is made with CHICKPEAS.
What Is Chickpea Pasta?!
That’s right: The pasta we used for this incredible Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza is made from protein + fiber-rich chickpeas. If you haven’t tried Banza chickpea pasta yet, you are missing out on one seriously cool food-vention, my friend. We’ve been using it for years now and were SHOCKED how incredible the texture is.
We’re definitely not gluten-free but have found ourselves choosing this chickpea pasta over flour-based pasta on a consistent basis because it tastes just as great but we don’t feel super bloated + gross after eating a big bowl of it. It’s basically taken our pasta eating to a whole other delicious level!
Huge shoutout and thanks to Banza for providing the chickpea pasta for this recipe post. They were also awesome enough to give us a discount code for you! Just go to their website and use the code theplantpowercouple for 10% off your order! (The code lasts until 4/28 + is limited to one use per person.) We also see them at most of our local grocery stores and even Target!
How to Make Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza
Although the title “Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza” can sound a little complicated and overwhelming, this recipe is shockingly easy to throw together and totally customize-able.
First, you’ll defrost your pizza dough. Check your ingredients here, but we find a lot of brands at our regular old grocery store are “accidentally” vegan. You can also use your favorite homemade pizza dough or a gluten-free pizza dough!
Next, you’ll make the walnut meat. This takes about 10 minutes, a few simple ingredients, and a food processor. AKA – You’ve got this. Transfer this to a bowl and use the food processor again to make your mozzarella sauce. We used a silken tofu base for the mozz sauce and a few pantry staples to give it that cheesy flavor!
Then, cook your chickpea pasta! The key to getting the most killer would-never-know-this-isn’t-made-with-flour texture is to follow the instructions on the box exactly – even the basic stuff like when to stir and how much water to use. The only change I want you to make is to cook the chickpea pasta for 5 minutes, rather than 7. Since it will be cooking in the oven also, this will ensure the texture stays on point. You’ll toss your pasta with a little marinara (homemade or store-bought) + ½ of the walnut meat.
Finally, assemble + bake! Stretch your dough over a cast iron pan (or pizza stone or baking sheet…you do you), top with sauced ziti, mozz sauce, and walnut sausage, sprinkle the crust with a little vegan parm + bake ‘til the crust is browned. Then, dig in!
How to Serve Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza
This pizza is perfect for a fun Friday dinner to make with your partner, kids, or a night with friends and a bottle of wine. However + with whomever you make this Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza, we wanna hear how it goes! You can rate the recipe and leave a comment below or tag us in your always fabulous photos on Instagram! If you’re not already following along, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
We cannot wait to hear all about it; enjoy!
Yield: 8 slices
This Vegan Baked Ziti Pizza is like a delicious dream: Saucy chickpea ziti, flavorful walnut sausage, and an ooey gooey mozzarella sauce on a fluffy pizza crust baked to perfection in your cast iron pan.
30 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
50 minTotal Time:
5 based on 1 review(s)
- 1 16-oz. loaf frozen pizza dough, thawed*
- ½ batch of walnut sausage (or ½ cup-ish of vegan ground meat)
- 4 oz. Banza chickpea ziti (about ½ the box)
- 1.5 cups marinara sauce
- 1 Tbsp vegan parmesan (or Cheesy Garlic Butter Blend )
- 8 oz. silken tofu
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil (melted)**
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- Preheat your oven to 450F and get out a large cast-iron pan (or pizza stone). If you haven’t already, make your walnut sausage and set it aside in a small bowl.
- Next, make your mozz sauce by adding all the ingredients to a small blender or food processor. Blend on high, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, for 1-2 minutes until creamy and luscious! It will be very liquid-y in this stage but will thicken up a lot in the oven.
- Time to make your chikpea pasta! Follow the directions on the box - most importantly, be sure you’re using enough water, bringing it to a rolling boil before adding the pasta, and stirring when the directions say to stir. The only thing I want you to change is to cook the pasta for FIVE minutes, not 7. This will help keep the pasta’s awesome texture after baking.
- After 5 minutes, drain your pasta and immediately spray it with cold water. Then, place it back in the pot and stir in your marinara and ½ of the walnut meat.
- Now, it’s time to assemble! Use clean, dry hands to flatten your pizza dough on the bottom of your cast iron pan, all the way to the edges. Top the dough with the sauced ziti, leaving room for the crust. Then, pour on your mozzarella sauce slowly and carefully. [NOTE: You WILL have pasta + mozz sauce leftovers. We saved ours for the next day’s lunch!] Finally, top your pizza with the remaining walnut sausage, brush the crust with some olive oil, and sprinkle it with a splash of vegan parm.
- Bake the pizza at 450F for about 15-20 minutes or until the crust is nice and browned. Depending on what crust you’re using, you may need to adjust the cooking time slightly, so be sure to read the package here! Let the pizza cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing and enjoy!
*Check the ingredients to ensure it's vegan-friendly, but we find most frozen pizza doughs at our local grocery store are "accidentally" vegan. You can sub a homemade pizza dough or gluten-free dough, but be aware the cooking time may need to be adjusted!
**As with all savory recipes, be sure to use coconut oil that's labeled REFINED and not one labeled UNREFINED or VIRGIN. This will ensure you get zero coconut taste..which would be a little weird on a pizza, but maybe that's just me.