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Easy vegan pesto pasta bake

Tomato pesto pasta bake

  • Author: Jade Woodd
  • Prep Time: 30 mins (not including cashew cheese)
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 serves 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian/American


Tomato pesto pasta bake that is made with dairy free red pesto and a creamy spinach filling.



Red pesto marinara

Spinach, zucchini and cheese stuffing

  • 1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250g spinach
  • 250g zucchini, grated
  • 3/4 cup (180g) cashew cheese (*see blog post for homemade recipe) 
  • 500g Rigatoni


  1. Make the marinara. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add oil and heat for 20 seconds then add garlic and brown for an extra 30 seconds. Pour in tinned tomatoes, pesto and salt then bring to a boil and simmer (lid ajar) for 10 mins. You want to stir the sauce a couple times during this process to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, Make the stuffing. Heat a frypan over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until it becomes simmery, then scrape in onion and salt. Reduce the heat to low and sauté for 5 minutes or until onion is softened and translucent. Use a wooden spoon to stir regularly and avoid burning any bits. Now, add garlic and brown for 30 seconds before adding spinach and zucchini. Cook for 5 minutes or until greens have softened. You might need to add a little splash of water if the veggies begin to stick (this will depend on your pan), and stir it a few times.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350F) and bring a large, 5L pot of water to the boil. Once the water reaches a rolling boil add salt (around 2 tsp course salt), then cook pasta per packet instructions. Strain cooked pasta.
  4. Assemble and bake. Using a large baking tray, start by adding 1 cup of the marinara to the bottom and spreading to coat. Pour the remaining marinara into the drained pasta and mix well. Use half of the pasta to make a layer, then dollop half of the spinach stuffing into the pasta dish. You can do this in small or large blogs, whatever you prefer. Repeat with the remaining pasta and spinach stuffing to make a second layer. If you like, sprinkle the top with a layer of grated, vegan cheese. Cover the tray (with a lid or 2 layers of aluminum foil) and bake for 30 mins.
Enjoy while hot, served with a fresh, punchy salad.


  • To make this gluten free simple swap for your favourite short, gluten free pasta.
  • Spinach can be swapped for you preferred greens. Kale or chard would work best, but may need to be cooked a little longer in step 2.
  • You can omit zucchini and swap for extra greens if you prefer.
  • I use homemade, fermented cashew cheese for this recipe, but store bought will work. You could also swap for store-bought cream cheese, or make a simple, unfermented cashew cheese at home instead.


Keywords: Vegan, pasta, pasta bake, marinara, red pesto, pesto, dairy free