In my quest to start cooking more often, I decided last night to make a classic baked ziti dish. We used to make ziti quite often years ago, but I stopped because I realized one day just how horrible for us it was, with loads of cheese and pasta. So I decided to try a slightly altered version of our old recipe, using less cheese (but still plenty of it — don’t worry) and adding zucchini for a little extra nutrition.
Well, it was delicious — so I’ve decided to share the recipe with you. It’s quick and easy to throw together and into the oven, and it has the perfect amount of cheese to make it gooey and melty without any greasiness.
I think this would be a great dish for sneaking veggies into picky eaters’ meals. If you chopped your zucchini extra small, the kids (or your husband?) probably wouldn’t notice it at all. I’d also like to experiment with other types of veggies, like carrots, broccoli, and bell pepper. Could be delicious!
I hope you enjoy this simple vegetarian dish. Let me know if you try it!
Zucchini Baked Ziti
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake entree vegetarian pasta zucchini Italian
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 16 oz. ziti or penne pasta
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
- 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce
- 30 oz. ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- Prepare pasta al dente according to box instructions. Drain.
- Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. When garlic becomes aromatic, add onions and saute until transparent. Add zucchini, season with salt and pepper to taste, and continue to saute until vegetables are tender and liquid has evaporated.
- In a large bowl, combine zucchini & onions, marinara sauce, ricotta, half of the mozzarella, and pasta.
- Pour mixture into a 9″x13″ baking dish lightly coated in cooking spray. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil for 5 minutes or until cheese on top is golden brown and crispy.