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!
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 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.
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 and 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 tomatoes, but you could also use passata, like in my homemade marinara sauce.
- For the cheeses, I like to use a combination of ricotta and mozzarella. The ricotta is mixed in with the tomato sauce resulting in a a 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 penne.
- 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.
- Don’t skip broiling. This is the only way to get that delicious, bubbly, browned melted cheese.
- If you’re extra short on time, you can skip the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and add your favorite jar of marinara sauce.
- I also love this article from Bon Appetit on how to make a better baked pasta.
Serve this with
- If you’re looking for a salad, I’d stick with an Italian-inspired salad like a burrata caprese or bruschetta salad.
- For simple roasted vegetables, I’d go with a roasted broccoli rabe or pesto-roasted cauliflower.