Vegetarian Baked Ziti Faq
What can I substitute for ricotta cheese in baked ziti?
You can substitute ricotta cheese for cottage cheese, or mascarpone cheese or for a dairy-free option a vegan creamy cheese.
What is the difference between lasagna and baked ziti?
Lasagna is a baked pasta dish that is made with flat sheets of pasta that are layered with sauce, cheese and sometimes meat. Baked ziti is also a baked pasta dish, but is made with ziti noodles. The flavour of Lasagna and baked ziti can be similar, but the texture is completely different.
Should baked ziti be covered or uncovered?
When baking pasta for a long time, you usually cover it with foil to prevent it from drying out. Since this baked ziti only goes in the oven for 10 minutes, there is no need to cover it up.
How do you keep baked pasta from drying out?
Covering your baked pasta with foil will help prevent it from drying out in the oven when cooking it for a long time. You also want to make sure to be using enough sauce to keep the noodles moist.
What pasta can I substitute ziti with?
You can substitute ziti with penne or rigatoni for a similar shape and texture.
Should I undercook pasta for baked ziti?
For this baked ziti recipe you should cook the pasta al dente This recipe is baked in the oven for just 10 minutes, so theres no need to drastically undercook the pasta like with some other recipes where the ziti is baked much longer
What type of dish should I bake my ziti in?Should I rinse baked ziti pasta?
Meatless Baked Ziti Recipe
This meatless baked ziti recipe is a holiday side dish vegetarians & meat eaters alike will devour! Creamy, cheesy, and loaded with mushrooms, spinach, rich tomato sauce, and ricotta cheese.
This is one fantastic pasta bake without meat the whole family will love. Serve with easy homemade garlic knots and a huge side salad for a delicious dinner.
When you want a hearty filling family dinner, theres nothing better than a hot bubbling dish of meatless baked ziti! This baked pasta is super satisfying for a dinner, and makes a great dish for entertaining. It could be a delicious side dish for a holiday as well a nice meatless alternative to a heavy holiday meal.
This meatless baked ziti is a really great make ahead dish! It can be put together in a casserole dish the night before, covered, and then baked as normal the next day. Serve with a side of Garlic Lovers Garlic Bread and a giant Potluck salad, and you have a fantastic meatless meal any day of the week!
What I Love About This Vegetarian Baked Ziti
This baked ziti is such a draw for a busy home cook like me. Here are a few reasons I love it:
- Easy baked ziti you can make ahead! This vegetarian baked ziti is a crowd pleaser that you can throw together any night of the week or make it ahead as part of your meal prep
- The perfect way to sneak in some colorful vegetables. This is a baked ziti with ricotta for a filling, but I love sneaking in some small diced vegetables as a layer in the middle This time I used zucchini, bell peppers, and onions. I quickly cooked them in some extra virgin olive oil before adding them into the middle of my baked ziti casserole. They elevated this simple pasta casserole by adding flavor, color and texture.
- Lightened Ricotta Filling. I use a combination of part-skim ricotta with a bit of Parmesan and melty Mozzarella.
- For an easy dinner, just add a side salad! If you’re looking to use this baked ziti as a vegetarian main, just add a bright salad or some crispy brussels sprouts next to it. But if you want to use it as a side, you can always make this quick lemon chicken or yogurt-marinated skillet chicken to go along.
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Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
Often, we use the phrase blond Italians in our home.
No, we are not Italian, but by the way we inhale all things considered to be Italian food, we need to be.
We LOVE our pasta! Theres nothing yummier to smell than homemade sauce simmering on the stove, but in my stage of life, Ive had to let go of always serving homemade pasta sauce and have chosen to doctor up some of the store bought ones available.
For our family, baked pastas top the list of our comfort food selections, and this one is very simple, cozy, meatless choice. This meal went so fast that I didnt even have time to snap a picture of the entire dish.
No, stop eating. I havent gotten a picture yet.
So, this is a scaled down version of what I made.
This makes a wonderful Cooking with Kidsmeal since we are not cooking our noodles first,. My nine year old can mix this up, since she doesnt have to worry about pre-cooking the noodles and transferring them on her own.
Remember that you may vary your choices of quick cooking pastas. We used traditional ziti noodles, but try curly rotini, bow ties, tri colored varieties or angel hair. All of them will vary the look, but still give you the delicious end result.
The basic meatless recipe that I am sharing is wonderful as written, but feel free to add in some ground sausage or small pieces of cooked chicken as an option. Serve with the 5 Minute Artisan Style Homemade Bread, and you will be the new food hero in your home.
Enjoy! Its so yummy.
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Why Youll Love This Ziti Pasta
- Ready in 30 minutes. Who doesnt want to have dinner on the table in 30 minutes? This baked ziti comes together quickly and uses simple ingredients to help you save time in the kitchen.
- Easy to make. Youll be surprised how easy it is to make Vegetarian Baked Ziti with a few simple ingredients.
- Customizable. If you like vegetable-baked ziti, you can add any of your favourite vegetables to this baked pasta! This dish can also be made gluten-free if needed.
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How To Make It
Note: The instructions start with the sauce already made. Use our low and slow-cooked Sunday sauce recipe or a quick marinara . If you’re really in a rush, you could use jarred sauce. We will usually save left-over sauce and freeze it just for nights when we feel like a little baked ziti!
Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes uncovered to firm up a bit.
Serve baked ziti with a nice veggie side like Italian green beans. Garlicky Italian broccoli or sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic and oil would also be perfect side dishes.
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Vegetables You Can Add To This Baked Ziti Recipe
If you want to make this recipe into a Vegetable Baked Ziti, there are many different types of vegetables you can add. Here are some great options:
Youll want to cut the vegetables into small pieces and cook the vegetables before adding them to the pasta bake. There are a couple of different ways you can cook them.
The first option is to toss the vegetables with some olive oil and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. The second option is to sautee the vegetables in a skillet with some oil on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes until tender.
Then you can add the vegetables to the pot of pasta and tomato sauce and proceed with the recipe.
Ziti Or Penne Which To Use In This Recipe
Ziti is shaped in straight-cut tubes of pasta, smooth in texture. It’s super popular in Naples and gets it’s fun name from the word “zita,” meaning bride
Penne is shaped in tubes of pasta cut on the diagonal. I like using penne-rigate is textured on the outside, which allows it to grab even more of the pasta sauce.
Either ziti or penne will work well in this pasta casserole recipe. I don’t often find ziti at my local grocery store, so what I use here is penne pasta.
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The Easiest Baked Ziti
I am always looking for easy meals that I can put together in under 30 minutes. This baked ziti can also be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator and reheated for 15 minutes before serving!
I know I might not be in the majority, but I dont love all that cheese that go in traditional baked ziti.
You know what Im talking about, soft cheese, like ricotta? And by the way, I am Italian too.
I absolutely do no like it and I never will. I hate the soft, gushy texture and everything else that goes with it.
If you are looking for some other healthier comfort food recipes, you should try this Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup, One Dish Salsa Pasta Chicken Bake, Cheesy Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts or this Zucchini Ravioli. These would all taste delicious with some Spiked Apple Cider too!
Why Youll Love This Recipe
- Perfect for company, holidays and easy weeknight meals. Baked ziti is great if youve got a variety of eaters at the table, vegan and otherwise.
- Family-Friendly: This recipe is a hit with the kids!
- Budget-Friendly: This recipe is made with readily available, inexpensive ingredients.
- Easy to make in a few simple steps. Ready to serve in about 40 minutes.
- Vegetarian, vegan and can easily be made gluten-free.
- Customize by adding vegan ground meat, sausage, extra veggies or topping with dairy-free cheese.
- High in protein and fiber.
- Can be prepared in advance. Great for meal prep!
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Can I Use Penne Or Do I Have To Use Ziti Pasta
This baked ziti uses, of course, ziti pasta. But you can easily substitute penne in this recipe if you need/want to. They are both tubular pastas, so they have the same basic shape. Penne is slightly smaller than ziti, but it wont make too much of a difference.
Should I cover ziti while it bakes?
Bake it covered for the first 30 minutes, then finish baking uncovered.
Can I use meat sauce instead of marinara?
Yes! If you prefer, substitute meat sauce in place of the marinara.
What does al dente mean?
Cooking the pasta al dente means just until it starts to soften, but still firm to the bite. You dont want it to be too soft since it will cook in the casserole.
How long do you bake ziti?
It will bake for a total of around 45 minutes.
How do you keep baked ziti from drying out?
The layering of pasta, sauce, and cheese will keep the pasta from drying out in the oven. Keeping it covered for the first part of baking helps too!
Can you make ziti the night before?
Absolutely! This is a great make ahead baked ziti recipe. Check below for details on how to do so.
Should you bake ziti before freezing it?
If you want to make this ahead of time to freeze, I dont recommend baking it first. Cook the pasta and sauce, then layer into the casserole without the shredded cheese. Cover and freeze. You can add the cheese and fully bake when youre ready to serve.
Can I make ziti in a crockpot?
What Is Ziti Pasta
Ziti is a hollow pasta in the shape of a smooth tube, sort of like a short straw. It originated in Campagna, Italy, or perhaps Sicily, Italy. Its name means bride or bridegroom, although the stories of why the Italians gave this pasta the name for those getting married can vary. In some parts of Italy, it’s served at weddings.
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How To Freeze Baked Ziti
Freezing baked ziti is easy. For a family of four, this recipe yields 10-12 servings. This leaves plenty of leftovers for dinner another night.
To freeze baked ziti, cut into portions, wrap each one in plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag for up to 3 months. To defrost, leave in the fridge overnight then warm in a 350 degrees F oven for 20-30 minutes in a foil covered baking dish. Alternatively, defrost the frozen ziti in the microwave at 50% power for 3-5 minutes, or until warmed through.
Why Youll Love This Ziti Recipe:
- CREAMY AND CHEESY: We use our secret ingredient to make this the creamiest, cheesiest baked pasta ever. Yum!
- FAMILY FAVORITE: This dish is a family favorite, and a reader favorite too. Its a hit every time, for any occasion!
- MAKE IT MEATLESS: This baked ziti recipe can easily be made with or without meat, whichever you prefer! Use marinara for a vegetarian version, or add meat sauce instead.
Baked ziti is the perfect thing to serve for weekly dinners, but theres never a bad time to make it. Guests will love it, kids will love it, and you will love it too.
Its also a great baked pasta to make for parties and larger gatherings. You can double the recipe and make it for graduation parties, bridal showers, or holidays.
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How To Make Meatless Baked Ziti
Is Ziti The Same As Penne
Ziti and Penne are similar types of pasta with a few distinct differences.
Ziti is a straight tube pasta with a smooth texture on the exterior. Penne is also a tube pasta, but with the ends cut on a diagonal and ridges on the exterior.
Both are delicious and work well in baked ziti. I personally love to use either Penne or Rigatoni and love that the exterior ridges hold onto the sauce and cheese.
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Classic Meatless Baked Ziti
by Sherri · This post may contain affiliate links ·
This classic meatless baked ziti is an easy layered pasta dish made with a zesty sauce, 3 different kinds of cheeses, and baked until golden and bubbly!
This dish may remind you of a cross between a casserole, a lasagna, and a big bowl of cheesy saucy pasta! Its quick and easy comfort food, made easier with your favorite jarred tomato sauce, and ready in under 1 hour.
How To Make This Recipe
Step 1: Preheat the oven and cook and drain your pasta according to package directions.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix all of the ricotta cheese with part mozzarella and part parmesan along with the eggs, garlic, parsley, and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine. The remaining mozzarella and parmesan will be used as the top layer just before baking.
Step 3: In a 9×13 baking dish, add half of the sauce and spread evenly all around the dish. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese mixture make sure its all coated evenly. Then spread that pasta mixture over top the sauce in the baking dish and top with remaining sauce, then remaining cheeses.
Step 4: Bake in the oven until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and slightly brown. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
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