I have for you today an ooey, gooey, creamy and cheesy vegan pasta bake that you can pull off in no time at all, without heating up your summer home, and in a single pot---an Instant Pot.
This is also delicious food, and it's incredibly kid-friendly, so you'll have every reason to want to make it. And make it again.
What you'll love about this recipe
- It's hearty comfort food, food that'll fill your belly and put a smile on your face. The flavors are a lot like those of a vegan lasagna.
- It comes together mostly--or entirely--with pantry ingredients.
- It's delicious
- It's immensely kid-friendly.
- It requires hardly any prep---all you need to do is chop garlic and if you have pre-chopped garlic, good for you.
- Most of the cooking happens in the Instant Pot so it's mostly hands-off.
- You can go from gathering your ingredients to the dinner table in about 30-40 minutes.
How to make a cheesy, creamy vegan pasta bake
- This is an easy recipe and quite foolproof. You will need to add in your ingredients in a particular order, but once that's accomplished, all you have to do is wait for your IP to do the magic.
- A marinara sauce forms the base of this recipe, and you'll just actually make it in the Instant Pot, by throwing together the ingredients. If you already have jarred or homemade marinara on hand, you can use it, by all means.
- What makes this marinara creamy is cashew cream stirred into the marinara sauce. If you're nut-free, look at my substitution suggestions below.
- What makes it cheesy are the vegan mozzarella shreds, sprinkled on top. They add the final---scrumptious---finishing touch to an already tasty dish.
- You'll start out your recipe by browning the vegan meat substitute in the Instant Pot, and by browning I don't mean actually browning it, but sauteing it a bit in a smidge of oil with some garlic to get all that amazing flavor going. Don't skip this step!
- My herbs of choice in this recipe are oregano and basil. I also add a touch of sage for depth of flavor. You can use just oregano or just basil, just increase the amounts if using only one herb.
- You can use fresh tomatoes if you have a surplus, but I prefer canned, pureed tomatoes in this recipe just to make things easier.
- Once you've got everything in the Instant Pot, set it to cook on "manual" for 10 minutes.
- I use rigatoni in this recipe because it holds up so well in the Instant Pot and all that cheesy sauce makes its way into those wide tubes. I've also tried it with celentani, which is a pretty, corkscrew pasta. You can use another pasta, like ziti or even macaroni or shells.
- I used Beyond Beef this time, but any meat substitute works. I've used Farmland and Field Roast in the past as well. Make sure you crumble up the meat substitute before adding it to the IP, especially if you're using vegan sausages.
- Use oregano or basil as your primary herb, or a combination of both. I also strongly recommend adding a teaspoon of dry sage (or a tablespoon of fresh), to add more depth of flavor.
- If you have a jar of marinara on hand, you can skip the herbs and garlic, or cut them down to your taste. Add the marinara to the Instant Pot after browning the "meat."
- Before you close the IP lid to pressure cook, make sure your pasta water is salty enough--it should be a little saltier than you want your pasta to be. It's not easy to stir salt into cooked pasta. But keep in mind that the cheese shreds will add some salt too.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and make sure you're not using a meat substitute that has gluten.
- To make this recipe nut-free, substitute the cashew cream with 1 cup of coconut milk or sub pumpkin seeds for the raw cashews.
More vegan Instant Pot recipes
- Vegan Instant Pot Lasagna
- Instant Pot Moroccan Chickpea Stew, No Oil
- Vegan Butter Chicken with Tofu
- Instant Pot Vegan Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meaty Marinara
- Instant Pot Khichdi with Mung Bean Sprouts
Instant Pot Vegan Pasta Bake
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 14 to 16 oz vegan sausage (or "beef". Any brand is fine. It should crumble like ground meat)
- 7 cloves garlic (crushed and minced)
- 28 oz tomato puree (canned or fresh is fine. I use canned)
- 2 tablespoon oregano (minced, sub with 2 teaspoon dry. Or use basil)
- 1 tablespoon sage (or 1 teaspoon dry)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (or red pepper flakes, use more or less according to your taste)
- 16 oz rigatoni (or any hardy pasta. See substitution options above)
- ¾ cup raw cashews (see substitution options above if nut-free)
- 4¼ cups water
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 7-8 oz vegan mozzarella shreds (I used a packet of Daiya)
- More herbs for garnish (basil, parsley, oregano are all fine, choose one or more)
- Blitz the cashews with a cup of water into a smooth cream. Set aside.
- Turn your Instant Pot to the "saute" function. Heat the oil in the Instant Pot liner. Add the vegan sausage or beef and garlic and "brown" the meat for a couple of minutes, stirring it frequently and scraping up any bits that stick. It won't really brown much but what you want to do is make sure it's broken down into tiny bits and not clumping together.
- Add the tomato puree, oregano (or basil, or both), and sage to the pot. Add salt, pepper and paprika along with a cup of water. Give it all a good stir.
- Add the rigatoni to the pot, the cashew cream, and the remaining 2 ¼ cups water. Give it a quick stir and taste the water. It should be slightly saltier than you would like your pasta to be.
- Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Seal the lid and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Go with eight minutes for smaller pasta shapes.
- Once cooking is done, wait 15 minutes, then release the steam manually and open the IP lid. Scatter on the cheese and close the lid again immediately. Let it sit 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt.
- Garnish with parsley or basil or oregano and serve.