This vegan pasta dish consists of penne cooked in a flavorful and creamy tomato curry sauce and topped with a rich layer of vegan cheese! It’s made in one skillet in less than 1 hour! Plant-based, easy, flavorful, and with a gluten-free option!
The weather is getting colder, meaning the comforting dishes have to come back!
Comforting is exactly what this dish is about: pasta cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce infused with Indian spices and topped with a rich and cheesy sauce.
You guys seem to love Indian-inspired recipes like this Instant Pot Cauliflower Tikka Masala, Dal Palak, or these Potato & Green Bean Stuffed Naans, so I have no doubt you’re going to love this one! Let’s do it!
🥣 How to Make This Pasta Bake
It starts with the penne that is cooked until perfectly tender. I went with penne, but you could use macaroni, fusilli, or tortellini! Just adjust the boiling time according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the curry sauce. It consists of garlic and ginger that are sautéed for a few minutes with spices like garam masala, turmeric, chili, and cumin. Then, add crushed tomatoes and coconut milk for creaminess.
Drain your pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat the pasta with the curry sauce and bake uncovered for about 10 minutes. This step will allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce.
Next, you want to top the pasta skillet with the cheese sauce. For the sauce, I went with soaked cashews that are blended with nutritional yeast for cheesiness, miso for umami, and onion and garlic powder. I also added some maple syrup and a tablespoon of white wine to give it a deeper flavor.
Another 10-15 minutes in the oven, a few minutes under the grill, and you end up with a beautiful golden brown pasta bake. The pasta on top is almost crispy while the inside remains saucy, SO good! Top with chopped cilantro and serve warm!
This pasta bake is best served immediately after baking for the best texture and flavor. You can, however, prepare the curry and the cheese sauce up to 3 days ahead. Then, simply cook the pasta, coat it with the sauce, and bake as noted in the recipe.
Simply omit the miso and use your favorite gluten-free pasta!
If you are looking for a cozy and filling pasta bake, you are going to love this one! It is cheesy, saucy, and flavorful, thanks to the addition of Indian spices. Plus, it’s made in one skillet!
- Drain the cashews and transfer them to a high-speed blender. Add all the other ingredients: water, nutritional yeast, miso, white wine, maple syrup, cornstarch, onion and garlic powder, and turmeric.
- Blend on high speed for about 10 seconds or until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed (depending on how salty your miso is). Transfer the cheese sauce to a small bowl and set aside.
- Cook the penne according to the package instructions.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large iron skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and grated ginger, and sautée for about 3 minutes.
- Add the garam masala, turmeric, chili, cumin, and salt, and cook for one more minute. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juice, maple syrup, coconut milk, and water.
- Let simmer for 5-7 minutes. Next, drain the penne pasta and add it to the skillet. Stir to coat the pasta with the sauce. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and pour the cheesy sauce over the pasta. Use the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
- Bake for another 15 minutes or until the cheesy sauce is golden brown. You can put it under the grill for the last few minutes for better caramelization.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. This pasta bake is best served the same day but will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover with foil and warm in a 400°F preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
- If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can transfer the pasta to a baking dish.