This Vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe is an actual breeze to put together and so absolutely delicious. It's a perfect meatless pasta that's special enough for a crowd but easy enough for a weeknight. Layers of pasta with homemade sauce and creamy cheese – can't go wrong!
- Dried Pasta: This is baked ziti so of course ziti pasta is best. But you could really sub just about any tubular dried pasta – penne, rigatoni, and so on. Whole wheat would be good, too.
- Tomato Paste: This helps give a delicious deep tomato flavor.
- Crushed Tomatoes: The base of the tomato sauce.
- Onion: A key sauce ingredient.
- Garlic: Also a key sauce ingredient.
- Dried Herbs: I like a mixture of dried oregano, parsley, and thyme. You could also use Italian seasoning if that's what you have on hand.
- Cheese: This recipe calls for ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. All very important for very different reasons! Ricotta for the traditional creaminess, parmesan for the salty tang, and mozzarella for the classic melty-ness throughout.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED TO COOK THIS:
- 9x13" baking dish
- 2x sauce pots (or pots of similar size)
- Medium sized bowl
- Mixing spoons
- Measuring cups/spoons
HOW TO MAKE VEGETARIAN BAKED ZITI:
As you'll see this meatless baked ziti comes together in just a few straightforward steps and makes plenty to serve a family and have more for leftovers. Serve with garlic bread for a delicious meal.
- Make the sauce. In one of your sauce pots, sauté the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes – until slightly translucent. Then add the tomato paste, salt, and pepper, cook for 2 minutes more. Last, add the crushed tomatoes, dried herbs, and butter. Let this sit while you make the pasta.
- Make the pasta. In your other sauce pot, boil water and cook pasta al dente (about 1 or 2 minutes shy of the package directions). Drain and return to the pot. Do not rinse.
- Coat the pasta. To the cooked and drained pasta, add 1 cup of sauce and stir to combine.
- Prep the cheese. In a bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, and 1 cup of mozzarella.
- Assemble. In your 9x13 baking dish, first put a thin layer of sauce. Then add half the pasta, then dollop half the ricotta cheese mixture and pour half the remaining sauce. Repeat - pasta, cheese, sauce. Then finish with the remaining 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake. In a 350℉ bake covered with tinfoil for 20 minutes, uncovered for 10 more. Broil for 5 at the end if you want the browned tops.
CAN I USE STORE-BOUGHT TOMATO SAUCE?
Sure! I am very specific about the sauces I like, so I prefer to make them homemade. But you can absolutely use a jar of your favorite sauce. 32oz should be good.
CAN I ADD VEGETABLES TO BAKED ZITI?
Of course! You can layer cooked vegetables right in there with the sauce and cheese. Zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, or peppers would be great.
HOW TO STORE VEGETARIAN BAKED ZITI AND HOW LONG IT LASTS:
To properly store baked ziti, put it in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheating is best done in the microwave.
MORE DELICIOUS PASTA DISHES:
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
- Roasted Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Tomato Sauce
- Corn and Tomato Pasta