Meatless Baked Ziti
This meatless baked ziti is insanely delicious to the point that no one will probably notice that it’s even meatless. And the addition of ricotta cheese makes it even more so.
As you can see, pasta is one of my favorite foods. I’m sure it’s one of your favorites as well. It’s one of the most popular comfort foods around beside lasagna or other similar dishes.
Now back to this baked ziti! I’m actually quite excited to share this recipe with you all, as you can probably tell – lol.
Super Easy to Make
First of all, I created this baked ziti recipe to be completely easy to make. You only have to boil the ziti to al dente, then combine it with most of the other ingredients in a greased baking dish before baking. Too easy!
It’s simply a short no-fuss way to make an absolutely tasty pan of baked ziti for your family/friends. Nothing more. Which makes it possible for almost anyone to make.
This meatless baked ziti can even be served at a gathering or other function if you don’t have a large family. And let me tell you – the leftovers taste even more delicious..
Don’t get me wrong. This baked ziti doesn’t contain any meat. But you can definitely add some protein such as ground beef, ground turkey, etc. if you’d like.
I chose to make it meatless because it takes more time to brown ground beef or cook up another protein to add to it. Especially when you want to get dinner on the table within a certain time. Honestly, it tastes great as is.
On the other hand, you can easily add some fresh baby spinach in with the pasta before baking it. The great thing about spinach, is that it doesn’t take long to cook at all.
It will bake easily into the baked ziti. And make it even more nutritious. You can also use whole-wheat pasta instead of regular if you’d like.
Unfortunately, there are no whole-wheat ziti options that I’ve seen in the grocery stores or online. But you can substitute whole-wheat penne pasta instead, as it’s almost a similar size to ziti.
About the Ricotta..
The ricotta cheese adds such a creamy texture to this baked ziti. But not everyone is a fan of ricotta cheese, I know. Fortunately, there’s almost always a substitute for an certain ingredient.
In this case, you can substitute cottage cheese instead. It’s lesser in calories than ricotta cheese, and has a similar texture. Just make sure to use the small curd kind.
If you’re vegan, or don’t eat dairy; you can leave the ricotta out completely. Or you can use a plant-based non-dairy ricotta like that from Kite Hill. It can be located in most grocery stores, or you can order it online through Amazon.
Meatless Baked Ziti Ingredients:
Fortunately, you only need a minimal amount of ingredients to make this meatless baked ziti. Actually, just a few..
Ziti (or Penne) Pasta (16 ounces needed) – As mentioned earlier, you can use regular or whole-wheat penne instead. Oh yes, make sure you cook the pasta ‘al dente‘. I found 8 minutes to be the perfect cooking time.
This way, the ziti will be the perfect texture, and not overcooked and mushy, since it’s being baked later on.
25 Ounce Jar of Marinara Sauce – You don’t have to stick to using marinara sauce. You can use whatever sauce you prefer. Or if you’d like, you can make your own sauce. Just make sure that the amount is around 25 ounces or more to properly coat the pasta.
Ricotta Cheese – You can use regular full-fat ricotta cheese or low-fat depending on your dietary needs. And if you’re vegan, you don’t have to miss out. Just sub a vegan ricotta alternative.
Mozzarella Cheese – As with the mozzarella cheese, you can use full or low-fat. And there are a few shredded vegan mozzarella alternatives available also, for vegans. Or if you’re on a dairy-restricted diet.
Besides these main ingredients, there are just a few more simple ingredients that are needed. They include parmesan cheese and a little salt to taste.
As with the other cheeses, there are also vegan versions of parmesan cheese available.
You can also top the ziti with freshly chopped parsley before serving. And it adds a pretty pop of color to it (the ziti).
Thanks For Stopping By..
Before I go, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who have tried any of my recipes.
I’d appreciate any questions or comments about this meatless baked ziti recipe. Feel free to mention them in the comment section below. Thank you!
Meatless Baked Ziti
- 16 ounce package ziti pasta or you can sub penne pasta
- 25 ounce jar marinara sauce or homemade pasta sauce
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (dairy or nondairy)
- 2 1/2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese or vegan substitute
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (dairy or nondairy) If you prefer, you can add more cheese than the one cup
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Also grease a 13 by 9 inch baking pan and set aside.Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted (optional) water to a boil. Add the ziti noodles or similar pasta, and cook at a high boil for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.*Make sure to stir the pasta every so often so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot*
- Add the pasta sauce, salt and parmesan to a medium-large bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.Heat in the microwave for a few minutes until warm, stirring occasionally. Or add the mixture to a medium sized pot and warm for a few minutes.
- Add the ziti (drained) to the baking pan along with the pasta sauce mixture. Combine thoroughly until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
- Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella or cheese of your choice evenly over the top of the ziti mixture.You can also sprinkle a bit of parmesan over the mozzarella..
- Loosely cover the ziti mixture with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes until heated throughout, and the cheese is fully melted.Serve with freshly chopped parsley if desired. Enjoy!