Forks Over Knives Cheesy Baked Ziti

I’ve been preaching about Forks Over Knives since I saw it in theaters years ago, follow them on Facebook, read all the articles. I’ve seen it in action. I know a man — for whom money is no object and could afford any medical treatment he needs — who eliminated his hereditary heart disease and cholesterol issues by following a fat-free, vegan diet like Forks Over Knives advises. (His ‘bible’ was  “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, one of the docs behind Forks Over Knives.)

Forks Over Knives isn’t necessarily fat-free — there are nuts in many recipes including this one, but can usually be easily omitted. One thing it (and others, such as the Happy Herbivore series and Fat Free Vegan) has taught me is that you don’t need to use oil nearly as much as you have been. For example, to start this recipe you saute onion and garlic — but in a little bit of water instead of oil. Most recipes can be done this well (it certainly helps if you have nonstick pans).

I finally sprang for the cookbook a few weeks ago and am glad I finally cracked into it. There are tons of recipes on the FOK website too, so no need to buy the cookbook if you don’t have it.

This recipe was really easy and my whole family loved it — 10-year-old recovering picky eater included. I baked this in a 2-quart glass dish instead of a 9 x 13 pan as recommended. I’m not sure it made much of a difference, but it was kind of overflowing a bit. Because the pasta portion was thicker (vs. being more spread out in a 9 x 13) I took the end of a spoon and “poked” holes throughout the dish after I poured the cheese sauce on so it could seep down a little. Again, not sure if this was necessary, but it came out cheesy and delicious. And we only made it through not quite half of the dish, so there are plenty of leftovers. Expect more out of the Forks Over Knives book. It’s kind of amazing that health can taste this good.

Serves 6
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano (I bought some. I think dried would be fine though)
• 28 0z. can diced tomatoes (I got plain, but basil/garlic/Italian herb,etc would be great)
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 lb. whole grain pasta (I went with gluten-free brown rice pasta)
• 1 recipe FOK No-Cheese Sauce, below

No-Cheese Sauce
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
• 3 Tbsp. cashews, toasted, optional
• 1 Tbsp. tahini, optional
• 1 c. nutritional yeast
• salt to taste

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta in salted water until just al dente or a little undercooked (it will finish in the oven).

2. Make N0-Cheese Sauce. Combine all ingredients in high-powered blender in order listed and puree until smooth, adding 1/4-1/2 c. water as needed to get blending going and reach desired consistency. Puree until smooth.

3. Place diced onion in a large saucepan and saute over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes or until the onion starts to brown, adding 1-2 Tbsp. water when needed to keep onion from sticking.

4. Add garlic and oregano and cook for one minute.

5. Add diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for about five minutes.

6. Drain the noodles and add to the tomato mixture. Mix well and pour into a 9 x 13 baking dish.

7. Pour No-Cheese Sauce over top and bake at 375, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbly. (My acorn squash was still finishing up at 400, so this cooked at 400 for the first 15 minutes or so. Worked out just fine!)

One response to “Forks Over Knives Cheesy Baked Ziti

  1. Pingback: Vegan Corn and Black Bean Cakes | VegOut Detroit

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