Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free Baked Ziti Recipe with Homemade Hazelnut Ricotta Cheese

 photo IMG_1714_zps4c491425.jpgThe other day, my family was invited to a party. And were told in advance that there probably wouldn't be anything at the party that we could eat- since it would be a pizza party with baked ziti, cakes, cookies, and a few salads... and that even though they couldn't provide a gluten free alternative for us, they still wanted us to come, and asked if maybe we could bring a gluten free, dairy free version for ourselves.
So, of course, I did that. Made gluten free pizza (came out terrific) as I've done many times before... but baked ziti was going to be a little more tricky. You see, I had never made gluten free, dairy free baked ziti before. And when searching for recipes online for it, almost all the recipes called for a vegan ricotta cheese made out of tofu... and the few that didn't, called for cheeses made with a nutritional yeast base. I'm currently out of nutritional yeast, and try to avoid soy if I can help it, so those recipes didn't help me.
What I did have was a package of Daiya brand vegan and soy free meltable cheese that I brought back from the US- but I don't have so much of it (only 4 packages total) so didn't want to use it all up just on the ziti. And I also had some hazelnuts...
I read a reference on a site to a homemade hazelnut ricotta cheese (which used nutritional yeast, but I decided I'd make mine without) and decided to use a combo of the daiya and hazelnut ricotta for my baked ziti. (I ended up using half the package of Daiya for the ziti, and the other half for my pizza.) It tasted terrific and was a big hit! Definitely making this again!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free Baked Ziti Recipe with Homemade Hazelnut Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients for Baked Ziti
1 package gluten free noodles (I used Sam Mills corn pasta)
1-1 1/2 cups homemade ricotta
1 1/2 cup daiya mozerella- divided in half (alternatively, you can use a different homemade vegan cheese sauce like this one)
4-5 cups homemade tomato sauce

Ingredients for Homemade Hazelnut Ricotta
2 cups hazelnuts
1 cup water
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1-1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Soak the hazelnuts anywhere between 3 hours and 12 hours. If you soak them for shorter, your ricotta will be less smooth.

2. After soaking, strain, and add the hazelnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to a food processor. Process as much as you can, and then add a quarter cup of water, process for a few minutes, scrape down the sides, add 1/4 cup more water at a time, and scraping down the sides, until you have a consistency you like.

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3. Cook the pasta until it is 3/4 of the way cooked, and is somewhat 'al dente'.

4. Mix the pasta with the tomato sauce and ricotta cheese and half the daiya cheese (or vegan cheese sauce). Put it in a baking pan. 
5. Top the pasta with more Daiya or vegan cheese sauce.

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6. Bake, covered, at 350, for 30-45 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and it is bubbly.

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Enjoy hot!

Are you a fan of baked ziti? How do you make yours? If you're off dairy, what do you use for cheese in your baked ziti? Does this look like a recipe you'd try out?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Thank you SO much for this recipe, it looks delicious and I can't wait to try it! I recently found out I react to dairy, so very sadly took it out of my diet completely. It's been really hard to find dishes that I can make for the whole family that don't have dairy (or eggs or almonds or beef!), but that still are tasty enough for us all to enjoy. I've never even looked at the Daiya cheeses since I figured they were all just made with soy and/or yucky ingredients, but I'll give them a once-over next time I go grocery shopping. Thanks again! :D

  2. The recipes look great. Have you tried cashews to make vegan cheese? I find them less "flavorful" than hazelnut, which for me makes a better cheese. But then, I have an allergy to hazelnut. :)

  3. Dear Penny, while I really enjoy your post about your life I have to say (I'm italian) that you cooked fusilli, not ziti! But I think they where tasty and hope your family had a good time.

    1. Lol baked ziti is a recipe concept- the shape of the noodles mattered less to me... ;)

    2. Looks yummy, just gotta make sure for items marked gluten free that they are also vegan and non-gmo. A lot of gluten free foods contain eggs and dairy.

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