This Vegan Pumpkin Baked Ziti recipe (from the Veganomicon cookbook) is the perfect easy Thanksgiving Vegetarian main dish. It can even be made ahead of time and baked just before serving!
Prepare the ziti according to the package direction. Drain and yet aside.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the caramelized onions: Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, 3 Tbsp olive oil, and a tiny pinch of baking soda (Isa says this will help speed up the caramelization process). Saute, stirring often, for 15 minute or until deeply caramelized. Turn off heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
To make the cashew ricotta: Combine cashews, lemon juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, garlic cloves, 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp salt in a high speed blender or food processor until a finely chopped mixture is created that looks similar to ricotta.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together cashew ricotta, maple syrup, paprika, thyme, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, pumpkin puree, milk, and black pepper. Add caramelized onions and pasta and stir until completely combined. Transfer to the prepared basking dish and smooth on top.
Prepare the breadcrumbs: Combine bread crumbs, walnuts, nutritional yeast, sage, rosemary, and salt. Drizzle with olive oil and toss so that the oil has completely coated the mixture. Sprinkle crumbs over the casserole.
Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered, or until the crumb is golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and serve.