This creamy Vegan Spinach Noodle Kugel is a fantastic kosher-friendly main or side dish for any holiday meal or even on a weeknight, as it takes just 35 minutes to throw together. Protein-packed and much lighter than normal kugel, this healthy dish is delicious and perfect for the entire family.
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Hey Internet, you know I love pasta and it’s still Jewish Week here at Zardyplants, so let’s make a kugel! Except you know I’m a savory gal, so this kugel is savory.
Wait, what the heck is a kugel?
Kugel, usually made from noodles or potatoes, is kind of like a casserole or almost like baked pudding. This is an Ashkenazi Jewish dish normally served at holiday dinners.
Kugel can be made sweet or savory. The most common is a sweet noodle kugel that uses a lot of cream and egg noodles.
This particular recipe is NOT sweet, it is a savory spinach kugel with egg-free noodles. I was able to find egg-free ribbon pasta (at Walmart, believe it or not) but any pasta will work.
As mentioned above, most kugel is made with cream, butter, and eggs. But here at Zardyplants, we try to make things that taste decadent but are lighter on the calories and a bit healthier.
So my kugel is actually made with blended--you guessed it--tofu! It’s high protein and totally delicious with all the spices we add in there.
But don’t fear, if you can’t have tofu, go to the Substitutions section below and find something you can use there.
Anyway, this Jewish pasta dish is comfort food at it its finest, and you don’t need to be Jewish to enjoy it. Keep reading to learn how easy it is to make!
What You’ll Need
So for noodles, typically egg noodles are used and if you’re vegan, that’s not going to work. I found “egg-free wide ribbon pasta” at Walmart (Great Value brand) that looks just like egg noodles. If you can’t find those, any pasta will work--I recommend fusilli or rotini for a similar shape.
You can use fresh or frozen spinach for this. Keep in mind the measurements are for cooked/wilted spinach--i.e. frozen.
As vegans, we all know that cooked spinach is MUCH smaller than it was fresh! You’ll need at least 2 cups of wilted spinach for this.
For the sauce, the base is two blocks of firm tofu blended with a cup of non-dairy milk or water. See the substitutions section below if you can’t eat tofu.
To flavor the sauce, we’ll need nutritional yeast, lemon juice, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. I used unfortified nutritional yeast to keep the sauce from turning yellow, but either will work.
If you want a crispy topping, try adding bread crumbs or panko to the top right before baking. I opted for not, as I’ve never seen it used in kugel before--that doesn’t mean you can’t though!
What Substitutions Can I Make?
Any pasta will work here. If I couldn’t find the egg-free wide noodles, I’d use fusilli or rotini because they’re closest to that shape.
If you’re gluten-free, feel free to use any GF pasta you like in here. Just follow the package directions when you cook it.
Any green that can wilt easily will work instead of spinach. This would be delicious with kale. Just remove the tough stem before wilting it down, or buy frozen kale and thaw it (make sure to squeeze out the excess water as with frozen spinach).
The base of the sauce for the kugel is tofu. Firm tofu (just drained, not pressed) is what I used, but medium, soft, silken, or extra firm will work as well.
If using extra firm, use more liquid. Anything softer, use less liquid to blend. None, in the case of silken tofu.
If you don’t want to use tofu at all, you can use soaked cashews, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or even white beans.
Nutritional yeast can be not so great if you try it on its own. I’ve come to love the flavor but I didn’t at first, especially when I was new to being vegan.
It’s MUCH better blended into things and does make sauces taste cheesy, so I’d definitely recommend trying it blended.
That being said, if you don’t have it, use more spices and a touch more salt instead!
How to Make Vegan Spinach Noodle Kugel
It’s super easy to make this pasta dish. All you have to do is cook the noodles, blend the sauce, mix it all together with the spinach, and bake it!
So first, start your water on to boil. Make sure to cook according to your package instructions, but stop the cooking process when the noodles are ALMOST there--until they’re lightly chewy. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.
While the pasta cooks, you can make the sauce. Throw the ingredients into the blends and blend it until smooth. Now is a good time to taste it and make any necessary changes.
Next, take your thawed frozen spinach or your cooked fresh spinach and squeeze as much liquid out as possible.
After the pasta is cooked, drain the water from it and return it to the pot. Pour the contents of the blender into the pasta and mix it well.
Using your fingers or two forks, separate the wads of spinach into little pieces and gently stir them through the pasta.
Add the whole mixture to a deep square or rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs if you like.
Bake the kugel for 15-20 minutes at 400 F (205 C) until the sauce has set and the noodles have finished cooking. The top may get a little brown. If you’d like it more brown, you can broil it if you have a broiler. (I sadly do not.)
Serve it up and enjoy!
What to Serve with Kugel
Kugel could be your main dish, especially if you’re like us and you’re obsessed with pasta, or it could be a side dish.
You could serve it alongside more vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, or green beans.
You could also serve it alongside a protein like BBQ baked tofu.
I have another special protein dish for Jewish Week coming out tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Other Vegan Jewish Food
I have a few awesome recipes on my site for Vegan Jewish Food, but all this is a teaser for my Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book!
Even if you aren’t Jewish, these recipes are seriously delicious and comforting, and awesome to enjoy any time of the year. Most of the recipes are gluten-free, and if not, they can easily be made gluten-free with simple modifications.
My current Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book includes several kinds of baked latkes, 2 kugels including this one, rugelach, matzoball soup, a family secret applesauce, and sour cream cake.
We are in the process of updating this book and adding even more recipes!
Anyone who purchases the e-book in its current form will receive my updated and expanded Jewish recipes e-book for free.
If you would like to purchase the e-book now for only $6 and reserve your copy of our upcoming book, follow this link: Plant Based Jewish Recipes e-book.
If you’d like to try some of the other Vegan Jewish recipes on my site, read on!
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This Vegan Spinach Noodle Kugel is:
- And perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or holiday meal, Jewish or not!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
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