Autumn is about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin is usually found in pies and lattes, but why not add it to a savory dish, like this Pumpkin Baked Ziti! This is a fun twist on traditional tomato-based baked ziti, and it’s a great way to get in your daily does of autumn pumpkin.
Ah, November. It’s the month when we need to pull our heavy coats out of storage, the time of year we when turn to warming comfort food to get us through dark and chilly evenings, and it’s the month we here in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday for those who don’t partake in meat, but with some careful planning, it is possible to get through the day relatively unscathed. I’ll be sharing Thanksgiving dinner worthy recipes all month long. Even though pasta isn’t traditionally thought of as a Thanksgiving dish, it’s been showing up on the table more and more throughout recent years. The pumpkin and pecans in this recipe give it a fall feel, and the tofu ricotta tastes close enough to the “real” thing that even omnivores will enjoy it. This recipe is adapted from a cheese-filled dish I found on TheKitchn.com.
A big bowl full of this Pumpkin Baked Ziti will keep you warm and cozy on chilly fall evenings. Pair with Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts for the ultimate autumn meal.
- 1 pound container firm tofu, drained
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh sage
- 12 ounces whole grain ziti or penne pasta (I used Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice pasta)
- 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup pecans, chopped
- To make the ricotta, crumble the tofu into a food processer fitted with an s-blade. Add the lemon juice, garlic, broth and nutritional yeast and blend until the mixture is thick and looks like ricotta cheese. Add more vegetable broth if the mixture is too thick. Add the sage and pulse until it’s mixed in. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Prepare pasta according to the package instructions, but for about 3 minutes less than the package calls for. This is to ensure that the pasta won’t get too mushy while being baked.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the cooked pasta, tofu ricotta, pumpkin, garlic, sea salt and black pepper.
- Spread the mixture evenly in a 9×12” casserole dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and pecans.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
- Serve hot. Enjoy!