Dairy-Free Penne Bake


This dish is so rich and creamy, it’s hard to tell that it’s truly dairy-free.

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You’ll love this mock ricotta, made from macadamia nuts, for its rich, creamy texture. The recipe comes together quickly and will soon be a family favorite.

Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Kimberly Lord Stewart
Serves: 6


  • 12 ounces whole-grain penne
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups raw macadamia nuts
  • ½ cup macadamia nut milk or other dairy-free nut milk
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • 3 cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 2 cups almond milk grated cheese, or another nondairy grated cheese product, divided


    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Oil a 9×13-inch baking dish.
    2. Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add penne and a hefty pinch of salt. Cook until just tender, 8–10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
    3. Place nuts in a high-speed or “bullet”-style blender. Pulse until finely ground. Gradually add nut milk, a few tablespoons at a time; pulse until blended. Keep adding milk and mixing until it resembles the texture of ricotta. You may not need all the milk. Add lemon juice and garlic powder; mix well.
    4. Add oil to a large skillet. Brown chicken with Italian herbs, and add marinara sauce. Bring to a low simmer. Add pasta and stir well.
    5. Layer half the pasta in the bottom of the dish. Top with all the ricotta and half the grated cheese. Layer with remaining pasta. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 20–30 minutes, until heated through.

PER SERVING: 806 cal; 34g prot; 57g fat; 46g carb (13g sugars); 746mg sodium; 7g fiber

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