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Vegan Feta Pasta Bake

Feta Pasta Bake

I know - I am LATE to this viral TikTok recipe party. But you see, even before I moved to a 100% plant-based diet, I didn't like feta cheese. I used to call it "feet" cheese  because - well, it smelled like funky feet lol. But after seeing so many friends and others post about it, I decided to give it a try with Vegan products. Let me tell you - I was SO glad I did! This is such an aromatic and flavorful dish that is not only easy to make, but it's one that can be easily modified if you are vegetarian or even still incorporate meat in your lifestyle. 

Serving Size:    4          Prep Time:   5 minutes         Cook Time:   25 minutes 

💚VEGAN    💚GLUTEN FREE    💚MILK FREE

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz) of cherry tomatoes, washed/dried
  • 1 (8.0 oz) Vegan feta block cheese (I used Violife, but see Tips below for modifications)
  • 1 (14 oz) box of cooked lentil and/or chickpea pasta, any shape. We like Farfalle "Bow Tie" or Cavatappi. See Tips below.
  • 1 - 1.5 tsp McCormick Italian seasoning
  • 1 - 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you don't like the spiciness this brings, omit.)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 4 chopped basil leaves, optional garnish
  • 1/2 c Vegan mozzarella shreds
  • 1/4 c shredded Vegan Parmesan 

       Optional veggie add ins:

  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts, quartered
  • Spinach leaves
  • Other veggies of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In an 8x8 dish, place block of feta in the middle. Cut small 1/4" pieces throughout feta block, being careful not to cut all the way throughout the block (if you accidentally do, just push pieces close together).  Carefully insert sliced garlic within each 1/4" sliced piece of feta. 
  3. Add in tomatoes like a little celebration circle around the the feta.
  4. Take any veggie add-ins and distribute evenly also surrounding the block of feta. It might be crowded, so don't overlap too many or your veggies may not cook evenly. 
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes/applicable add-ins and feta, evenly distributing and turning veggies so they are evenly coated. 
  6. Sprinkle Italian seasoning and red pepper evenly over entire dish.
  7. Add in 1/4 of the chopped basil leaves.
  8. Place uncovered in oven and set timer for 20 minutes.
  9. While feta is baking, cook pasta as directed (see tips below) and drain. Do not rinse pasta. 
  10. Once timer sounds for the baked feta, remove from oven, stir in any shredded cheese into feta and tomatoes. Place back in the oven for 5-8 minutes (or less - this is just to get cheese melted). 
  11. Once cheese is melted, stir in pasta directly into 8x8 dish, mixing well so pasta pieces are coated.
  12. Fold in remaining chopped basil and give a good stir. The tomatoes should have broken open and will help create a creamy sauce combined with the cheese. 
  13. Serve hot and enjoy! Keep leftovers in fridge for consumption within 5-7 days. 

 

Tips

- With lentil or chickpea pasta, I recommend cooking 1-2 minutes less than the box recommends to prevent it from being mushy/gummy. If you are not 100% plant-based/vegan, you can use any pasta you like as some people enjoy traditional pasta (some brands have egg/dairy so reading labels is key).

- Violife feta is a great option if you are 100% plant-based/ Vegan. If you still incorporate dairy, you can also use any brand of Traditional feta cheese, shredded cheese and parmesan. 

- Spices and freshness are SO important to dishes, especially ones like this with limited ingredients. Be sure to spread seasonings and cheese evenly, and immediately stir pasta until evenly coated after baked.

- To ensure a creamy sauce is created with tomatoes, keep your baking dish small. If the tomatoes aren't touching each other, they might end up being drier than desired. 

NOTE: If you still incorporate meat and/or dairy in your plant-based lifestyle, a option to add more protein is adding chicken cooked with our Kale Garlic Pesto or even Italian-style turkey meatballs.