This Meatless Baked Ziti is so delicious and requires little effort. The ziti is tossed in marinara sauce and spices with a combination of cheeses, then baked to perfection! Everyone in the family will love this one. Plus, it's ready in just 45 minutes.
I love meatless recipes like this pasta because even though they have no meat, they are so filling. Baked ziti was one of my favorite recipes growing up, and that really hasn't changed.
This pasta is an excellent Christmas holiday meal. It's inexpensive, feeds a lot of people, and is great for everyone to eat, even vegetarians. Kids love it too.
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- It's as easy as boiling pasta and stirring together ingredients
- Cheesy, delicious and a great Fall and Winter meal
- This recipe is really filling from the cheeses and pasta
- Vegetarian friendly
- Great dinner recipe for on a budget
Ziti-The perfect tube like noodle to hold all of this cheesy filling. Be sure to cook the noodles just until al dente, or pull them a few minutes before, because they will continue to cook more in the oven.
Marinara Sauce- Combined with the cheesy filling and poured over the top at serving. You can use any of your favorite jarred sauces or check out my homemade pasta sauce. It's easy and ready in no time.
Ricotta Cheese- The star ingredient in baked ziti for it's creamy texture. I prefer a whole milk ricotta, but you can use part skim too.
Egg- used to bind the filling ingredients.
Mozzarella and Parmesan- Used for the filling and for topping. You can used bagged pre-shredded cheese for this recipe to save on time, but I prefer to grate my own from the block for a fresher taste.
*Full recipe ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
Substitutions and Variations:
Big on veggies? Add 2 ounces of baby spinach into the filling.
Have meat lovers in the family? Cook my Baked Italian sausage or meatballs on the side!
How to Make Meatless Baked Ziti:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Boil the ziti until just al dente or a few minutes before. Strain the pasta water.
Step 2: Into a large bowl, add half of the parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Then, add in the egg, ricotta, garlic, and spices. Stir together to combine. Set aside the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese for topping.
Step 3: Stir in 1 cup of marinara sauce into the cheese filling.
Step 4: Pour in the pasta and stir to combine. Transfer the ingredients from the bowl into a casserole dish.
Step 5: Pour over ½ cup of marinara sauce.
Step 6: Top with remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Cover the casserole dish with a piece of tin foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove tin foil and continue to bake for 5 minutes or broil for a crispy top for 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 7: Allow the casserole to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Warm up the leftover marinara sauce to serve with the baked ziti.
Step 8: Slice into squares and enjoy!
Expert Tips for Baked Ziti with No Meat:
- Cook the pasta al dente or a little less (by a few minutes). It will continue to cook in the oven and we don't want mushy pasta.
- Serve with additional marinara sauce. The recipe doesn't use a whole bunch of sauce and it soaks into the pasta while baking.
Yes. You want to cook it just until before it reaches al dente or right at al dente. This baked ziti will continue to cook a bit in the oven and you don't want mushy pasta.
Both contain similar ingredients including pasta, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan and marinara sauce. The biggest difference is lasagna, like my lasagna al forno, is more time consuming with prep and layering each noodle and filling. Baked ziti is stirred together and baked with very little effort and less time.
Yes, cover the casserole dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil. You can bake for another 5 minutes or broil on high before a crispy cheesy topping. The foil helps the baked ziti to not dry out.
Leftover baked ziti makes really great leftovers. Store in the casserole dish with plastic wrap, or better yet in sealed containers. It stays good in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place each individual serving on a cookie sheet and oven bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until warm or microwave until hot. Serve with extra marinara sauce.
More Meatless Recipes You Will Love:
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