Even if you’re not a vegetarian, this meatless baked ziti recipe is to die for. Loaded with tangy sauce and creamy ricotta, you won’t miss the meat one bit.
Along with the flavorful marinara and creamy cheese layer, this dish also uses mozzarella and parmesan cheese. That means it’s not vegan-friendly.
But that also means you can serve a big helping of cheesy garlic bread on the side!
Trust me, this meatless baked ziti makes for one satisfying and comforting vegetarian dinner.
Meatless Baked Ziti
Saying goodbye to meat doesn’t mean saying goodbye to flavor. Take this meatless baked ziti, for example.
The sweet and savory marinara and creamy cheeses are more than enough to make any pasta dish insanely delicious!
After one bite, you might find that your weekly meatless Monday turns into a totally meat-free Tuesday too – especially when it’s this easy and filling.
Just pre-cook the pasta, then mix it up with the other ingredients. After around 30 minutes in the oven, you’ll want to add a thick layer of cheese on top.
It’s ready to devour when the top is golden and bubbling.
How easy is that?
- Ziti – this hollow-shaped pasta is a perfect choice if you’re a big sauce person. The marinara and cheese will settle inside the tubes, making it even more delectable.
- Pasta Sauce – homemade is great, but in the interest of saving time, I like to use store-bought. There are lots of jarred pasta sauces with incredible flavors, so take your pick!
- Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan – the ultimate blend of cheeses that never fails to make any pasta dish ridiculously creamy. I like to shred the cheeses myself for better flavor, but I won’t judge if you grab a pre-shredded bag.
- Egg – it’ll bind the marina and cheese together, which will give your casserole a thick, solid sauce.
- Parsley, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Salt, Ground Black Pepper – this simple blend of herbs and seasonings goes a long way! You can stay true to the measurements or make it your own.
Tips & Tricks for the Best Ziti
- While the dish has it in its name, it’s not required to use ziti in this recipe. Any hollow-shaped pasta shell will work here, such as rigatoni or penne.
- If you want perfectly al dente noodles, undercook them by 1 -2 minutes. They’ll continue to cook in the oven.
- I use store-bought pasta sauce to make things easier, but you can totally use homemade, too. That way, you can adjust the seasonings and even add some heat if you like.
- Make your ziti even more nutritious with added veggies. You can’t go wrong with wilted spinach or chopped-up bell peppers, zucchini, and broccoli florets.
- If you want that meaty flavor and texture in your ziti, throw lots of mushrooms in there. And if you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, just chop them up nice and small.
- If you don’t have non-stick aluminum foil, grease the underside with baking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking. You can also spray foil, but it gets a little messy.
- To make this ahead, assemble the layers and cover the pan with foil. Refrigerate until ready to bake. There’s no need to let it come to room temperature, but do add 30 minutes to the baking time.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze Ziti
Cover cooked and cooled ziti with plastic wrap or transfer it into an airtight container. Refrigerate leftovers for up to five days and reheat in the microwave.
If you plan on keeping it around for over five days, the freezer is the best option. Frozen ziti will keep well for up to two months, just be sure it’s sealed properly to prevent freezer burn.
You can even freeze this meatless baked ziti recipe before cooking!
Layer the components in a disposable pan and cover them with plastic wrap or aluminum foil – don’t use a glass dish for this as it might break. Then, when you’re ready to eat, let the ziti thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, and bake according to the recipe card.
If you make a big batch, it’s a good idea to slice it into smaller portions before freezing. That way, you can thaw one or two servings at a time, rather than a whole tray.
Wrap the slices in plastic wrap and foil, and place them in freezer-safe bags. Store for up to two months.
To reheat, cover the ziti with foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 to 45 minutes. There’s no need to thaw it beforehand.
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