Meatless Baked Ziti | Living Lou

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Vegetarian baked ziti is loaded with fresh vegetables like red bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach. With an easy homemade tomato sauce, ricotta cheese, topped with melted mozzarella, you won’t miss the meat in this classic comfort food!

Meatless baked ziti in a blue dish with fresh basil on top.

Delicious cheesy baked pasta studded with fresh vegetables, tomato sauce and ricotta cheese. This is an effortless weeknight meal that is sure to become a favorite!

Why this recipe works

Who doesn’t love baked pasta? I always make my baked pasta with sausage and peppers, but recently I was craving something with more vegetables. Enter, meatless baked ziti. This is a vegetarian take on the classic, I’ve added bell peppers, sliced ​​mushrooms and frozen spinach.

With a cheesy mozzarella topping and a creamy tomato sauce with ricotta cheese, this updated vegetarian take on baked pasta will satisfy your baked pasta cravings.

Closeup of a serving being taken out of the baked pasta serving dish.

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables. This adds some flavor to the veggies.
  • The combination of vegetables I use in this recipe are onion, bell peppers, mushrooms spirit spinach. For the peppers, I typically use red and yellow peppers for variety, but any sweet bell pepper will do. I’ll also use sliced ​​mushrooms, as a shortcut to make this weeknight-friendly.
  • For the tomato sauce, I add tomato paste to add deep tomato flavor and umami to the sauce. The rest is made with crushed tomatoesbut you could also use Passatalike in my homemade marinara sauce.
  • For the cheeses, I like to use a combination of ricotta spirit mozzarella. The ricotta is mixed in with the tomato sauce resulting in aa creamy sauce. The mozzarella is sprinkled on top for a cheesy topping.
  • In terms of the pasta you can use your favorite tubular pasta, either ziti noodles, rigatoni or pens.

Expert tips

  1. Undercook your pasta! This is the secret to having perfectly al dante, not-mushy pasta. Because the pasta is being stirred into sauce and baked in a hot oven, the noodles will continue cooking in the oven.
  2. Don’t skip broiling. This is the only way to get that delicious, bubbly, browned melted cheese.
  3. If you’re extra short on time, you can skip the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and add your favorite jar of marinara sauce.
  4. I also love this article from Bon Appetit on how to make a better baked pasta.

Serve this with

Closeup of baked ziti in blue dish.

Meatless Baked Ziti

Author: Louisa Clements