This recipe was my “go to” dish when, as a busy mom, I had to get dinner on the table quick. I didn’t realize until recently when my grown kids requested it, that it was a family favorite. I “veganized” the original recipe and it is tastier now! The ingredients are easily kept on hand in the freezer and pantry. I omit the vegan cheese and added fat using a little nutritional yeast instead.
- 8 oz uncooked Penne (about 3 cups uncooked tubular shaped pasta)
- 2 Tbsp vegan margarine, divided (e.g., Smart Balance)
- 1 Cup vertically sliced onion
- 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
- ¼ Cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ Cup plant-based milk (e.g., oat, hemp, soy)
- 1 Cup pre-shredded vegan parmesan cheese, divided (omit or use small amount of nutritional yeast)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (don’t drain)
- 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and rained
- Cooking spray (for the bottom of the pan – not needed but makes clean up easier)
- ¼ Cup dry breadcrumbs (plain or Italian)
- 2 tablespoons (1/2 oz) pre-shredded parmesan vegan cheese (or use nutritional yeast)
- Parsley sprigs (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, set aside.
- Melt 1 Tablespoon margarine in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add flour; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add plant-based milk; stir (whisk) well. Cook 4 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in ¼ Cup cheese (or substitute), Italian seasoning, and pepper; remove from heat.
- Combine pasta, cheese sauce (from step 3), ½ Cup Cheese (or omit/substitute), tomatoes, and spinach in a large bowl; stir well. Spoon mixture into a 13×9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- Combine breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons cheese (or substitute) and remaining 1 tablespoon margarine; sprinkle over pasta mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and golden brown on top. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Yield 6 servings (serving size 1 ½ cups).