Vegan Ratatouille Pasta Bake
- 350 g dry penne pasta
- 1 aubergine cut into 3cm chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small courgettes (or 1 medium) cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper seeds & stem removed, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 red onion peeled, thinly sliced
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 300 ml vegetable stock (made with 1/2 veg stock cube)
- 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed dried herbs
- 1 pinch sugar, any kind
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar optional
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic crushed or finely grated
- 1 large pinch nutritional yeast optional
- 1 large pinch dried oregano
- 1 large pinch salt
- 5 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
Soak the pasta:
- Place the dry pasta into a heatproof bowl or dish. Cover well with freshly boiled water and season with a generous pinch of salt. Set the pasta aside to soak for 30 minutes, stirring the pasta occasionally in the first 5 minutes to prevent the pieces sticking together.350 g dry penne pasta, salt
- Once the pasta has soaked, drain and set aside.
Cook the vegetables:
- Add the aubergine chunks with a pinch of salt to a dry, large, non-stick frying pan. Cook over a medium-high heat on the stove, stirring occasionally, until the aubergine is starting to brown.1 aubergine
- Pour the oil into the pan and add the courgette, pepper and onion too. Stir to coat with the oil and cook over a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and are starting to caramelise.2 tbsp olive oil, 2 small courgettes (or 1 medium), 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, 1 red onion
Preheat the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan (350°F)/ 200°C non-fan (400°F).
Add the tomato, stock & flavourings:
- To the frying pan, add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, oregano (or mixed dried herbs), sugar and balsamic (if using). Stir together, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes so it can reduce down slightly. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with more salt and/or sugar, if needed.2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes, 300 ml vegetable stock, 1 tsp dried oregano or mixed dried herbs, 1 pinch sugar, any kind, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Toss the soaked, drained pasta with the vegetable sauce in an ovenproof dish or casserole (I used a deep 23 x 30cm baking tin). Cover the dish with an upturned baking tray to act as a lid (or cover the dish tightly with kitchen foil).
- Bake the covered dish for 30 minutes.
Make the topping:
- As the pasta is baking, make the breadcrumb topping by combining the olive oil, garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), oregano and salt in a small bowl and mix together. Add the breadcrumbs and stir through to coat with the oil.2 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 large pinch nutritional yeast, 1 large pinch dried oregano, 1 large pinch salt, 5 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
Sprinkle on the topping & bake again:
- Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle with the garlicky breadcrumbs. Return to the oven, uncovered, for a final 10 minutes so the breadcrumbs can get toasty and golden-brown.
- Remove from the oven and serve whilst hot.
Other vegan pasta recipes you might like:
Soaking the pasta instead of boiling it
For this recipe, we soak the pasta in boiling water for 30 minutes whilst we prep the sauce. This has a few advantages:
- A bit less energy needed to cook the pasta. We just pour water which has been boiled in the kettle over the pasta so most of its ‘cooking’ is done passively. It is about halfway cooked during the soak and it cooks fully whilst in the oven.
- The pasta won’t be mushy! If you pre-cook the pasta fully and then bake it with the sauce, it tends to end up overcooked and kind of dry. By letting the pasta finish cooking in the sauce, it will be perfectly cooked and still saucy.
A crispy breadcrumb topping
Inspired by the Italian pangrattato, this is a mixture of dry breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic & dried herbs. If you have fresh rosemary or thyme you can use that instead of the dry oregano for extra flavour! I like to add a pinch of nutritional yeast to this topping for more of a cheesy flavour but it’s not necessary if you don’t have it.
Can I make ratatouille pasta without courgette / aubergine / peppers?
If you can’t get hold of one of the veggies needed for the sauce (or if you just don’t like one of them), you can replace it with more of the others. For example, if you don’t have any courgettes just add an extra aubergine or bell pepper instead!
Looking for a cheesy topping instead?
If you’d prefer a cheesy topping instead, you can always replace the breadcrumb topping with shredded vegan mozzarella-style cheese. Alternatively you can make a DIY vegan ‘ricotta’ by blitzing firm tofu with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch each of nutritional yeast, garlic granules and salt, then dot the ‘ricotta’ on top of the pasta before baking.