Vegan Italian Sausage & Ricotta Zucchini Pinwheels

  • Author: Nina | Tofu Test Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


Rolled up zucchini noodles make a perfect pinwheel for lasagna, and Italian seasonings pack in the flavor in the chickpea sausage & tofu ricotta.



Pinwheels & sauce

  • 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise using a mandoline
  • 2 ½ cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Tofu ricotta

  • 1 15-oz package firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp brewers yeast 
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 ½ tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Italian chickpea sausage crumbles

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ 15-oz cans low sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp green olives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp ground sage
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Suggested toppings: fresh basil, cashew Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes


  1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic and heat for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add sauce and spinach, stir, and continue to heat on medium in order to reduce the sauce until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Then set aside.
  2. Roll the rinsed chickpeas around in a clean lint-free kitchen towel to dry thoroughly and help remove the skins. You don’t have to remove them all, just the majority. In a large bowl, crumble the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the olives, tamari, vinegar, and sausage seasonings.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil on low heat in a medium pan. Add the diced onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and heat for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Add the chickpea mixture to the pan, stir, and increase heat to medium. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels. Lay the zucchini slices flat on the towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Place one layer of paper towels on top of the salted slices, let rest for 10 mins, then wipe clean to remove excess moisture from the zucchini.
  6. In a large bowl, crumble the tofu with a fork or your fingers until it takes on a ricotta like consistency. Add the yeasts, parsley, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a round casserole dish, pour in marinara, and set aside.
  8. On each slice of zucchini, spread about ½ tbsp each of the ricotta and sausage mixtures. Roll up each zucchini slice into pinwheels. Gently place each one in the marinara casserole dish. 
  9. Bake for 30 minutes and serve warm. Consider topping with fresh basil, cashew Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.