Cheesy Tomato & Vegetable Pasta Bake

Oven baked pasta in a tomato and vegetable sauce, with a herby breadcrumb and cheese topping. This is something I used to make on a weekly basis when I was vegetarian. I attempted to veganise this early on in my transition to veganism, which while it didn’t go badly, it could have been better. So I thought I’d wait until I was more skilled at cooking with vegan cheese, then attempt it again

Now I definitely know what I’m doing when it comes to vegan cheese. So for the cheese topping I mixed 50/50 ASDA free from garlic and chive, and Tesco free from mozzarella. I’ve seen that some people find that particular mozzarella to be a little too strong for them in terms of flavour. If you find any vegan cheese to be too strong in flavour, you can get around this by doing the following. Firstly ensuring it’s fully melted, secondly by adding it into a 50/50 mix with another cheese, and finally by adding the breadcrumbs and herbs. That combination of things will give a lovely cheesy topping to any pasta dish. Anyway, enough rambling, onto the recipe!

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Yield; Four to six servings (450-300kcal per serving aprox) Cook time; 45 minutes

You’ll need;

  1. One teaspoon of oil
  2. One small brown onion, minced
  3. Three cloves of garlic, minced
  4. One pepper sliced
  5. 300g/10.5oz white mushrooms, chopped
  6. One tablespoon of tomato puree
  7. One 400g/14oz tin of chopped tomatoes (blitz with a blender/food processor for a smoother sauce)
  8. Half a teaspoon of the following dried herbs; oregano, basil and tarragon
  9. Salt, sugar (if needed) and black pepper to taste
  10. 300g/3.5oz (dry weight) pasta

For the cheese and herby breadcrumb topping you’ll need;

  1. 125g/4.5oz free from cheese
  2. Two tablespoons of breadcrumbs
  3. Half a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs
  4. A sprinkle of salt and black pepper

Method;

  • Add the oil into a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and garlic. Allow to cook for five minutes before adding the peppers and mushrooms
  • Once the mushrooms start to release liquid, add the tomato puree and stir it thought the mixture. Give it a couple of minutes to heat through and then add the tomato and herbs
  • Season to taste with a little salt and black pepper, then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Then move on to cooking the pasta
  • Cook the pasta for a couple of minutes less than the packet advises, as the pasta will continue cooking in the oven
  • Once the pasta is done, drain it well and mix the sauce through it. Once it’s fully combined spoon the pasta into an ovenproof dish
  • Top the pasta with the cheese, breadcrumb, herbs and a pinch of salt black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 200ºC/180ºC fan assisted/350ºF, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Leave to stand for five minutes before serving with a side salad or garlic bread

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6 thoughts on “Cheesy Tomato & Vegetable Pasta Bake

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