It’s Vegan MoFo Day 24! And today I thought I would talk about my coworkers- and how I created this recipe and came up with the name. 🙂
See when I started at my job I was quiet and kept to myself. Most people only knew me for one thing: VEGETARIAN. You’d think that everyone there never went to college. “What do you mean you don’t eat meat?” “How do you NOT like meat?!” “What’s wrong with you??!?!” It’s like they had never met a vegetarian in the world ever. I was some weird oddity that they didn’t understand and had to make fun of.
Going vegan only made the questions more annoying. “BUT YOU AREN’T EATING ANY PROTEIN!!!” “But where do you get your protein from?” “What about PROTEIN?!”
As time went on the questions got less frequent, and people overall were pretty supportive. I baked often, making muffins and cupcakes for everyone. It was made very obvious that they were vegan, and nobody ever refuses because of that fact. We even have food days every month or so, where I make something vegan and people are always curious to try. I’ve written about these food days on the blog before. They are a lot of fun.
But a lot of work, and we haven’t had one in a while. I usually plan, but since nobody has had time for it I haven’t bothered. So my coworkers started teasing me one day about bringing in food for them. The joke started with “well why don’t you ever make us any sausage?” and it spiraled into baked ziti. I think the joke was I sure as hell wasn’t going to make them baked ziti with sausage and it was a joke that they thought I would make it with real cheese. They brought it up almost every day for about a week or so. “Jill! Where’s our baked ziti?!”
So I got to thinking how I could make baked ziti in a fun vegan way. I’ve never made it before (vegan or not) so I thought it might be fun to come up with something completely new. I remember a long time ago I made a pumpkin tofu ricotta for a slow cooker lasagna that I really wanted to make again, and since it’s fall now it would be perfect for a fall themed baked ziti.
I joked (to myself) that I was creating a baked ziti for my asshole coworkers. And that is how the name “Baked Ziti for A-holes” was born 🙂
To go along with my fall theme, I picked up some sweet potato and butternut squash already cut up. (To save time!) I also got firm tofu, a jar of sauce, canned pumpkin, and pasta. The recipe I used for the Pumpkin Ricotta was from “The Vegan Slow Cooker“. I omitted the sun dried tomatoes, but you can leave them in if you’d like.
I took the cut up pieces of sweet potato and butternut squash and boiled them for 10 minutes. During this time I cooked up my pasta, and made my pumpkin ricotta.
The pumpkin ricotta! Tofu makes a great ricotta replacement as it has a similar texture and you can spice it just right. It’s perfect!
I was afraid 10 minutes was too long for my sweet potatoes and butternut squash. It looked like it was falling apart, and I thought they wouldn’t stay chunky while baking in the oven. Turns out that everything was just fine 🙂
Once all the parts were ready to go I mixed them together in the pot that I cooked the pasta in.
Yum!! Now it was time to put everything into a pan and bake in the oven. I baked at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. But before it went in the oven, I covered the ziti with Daiya Mozzarella cheese:
This is my first time cooking with the mozzarella flavor. I’ve only ever tried the Pepper Jack, as this cheese has a bit too much fat for my diet. However, I wanted this to be as close to a real baked ziti as possible so I loaded it up with cheese and baked.
The Daiya cheese melts, but not as much as real cheese. This was after 35 minutes in the oven. It still looked really good-
And it tasted good too! I brought this in to work and heated it up in the office using a crock pot. And you know what? All those a-holes ate it. And they loved it! Nobody could tell that it wasn’t made with real cheese! Score!
So what do you think of my fall themed baked ziti?
I don’t really think my coworkers are a-holes. It’s just nice to be able to tease them back every once in a while 😉
Until next time!