Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Kiddo/Adult Recipe: Veggie Baked Ziti

This week I'm sharing with you a "Hawthorne girl" tradition- a dish that is always present during holidays and the dish that stands for the vegetarian substitute for Hank on any given Sunday at my Mom's. "Oh, we're having steak? Don't worry, we have a ziti in the oven."

Over the past eight years I've inched away from being vegan, Hank has remained vegetarian, and my Mom and sister have gone that route also, with all of them dabbling in long stints of veganism. So these days it's really just my Dad, brother-in-law, Grandma and myself who will eat any meat during dinner. Because of that my Mom always has a meat-free item available, and many times you can count on it being some variation of ziti. Luckily Henry loves it too, so it's been a quick all-in-one dinner idea for us that doesn't take long to prepare at all.

The best part about this dish is that it is completely open for interpretation, much like my quiche recipe- and it's VERY easy to make...and easy to hide veggies in it too, for your picky eaters. 

What you'll need:

*I don't really use exact measurements when I cook a recipe from memory so hopefully this still makes sense.

1 box/bag of penne pasta
1 jar of tomato sauce
2 lb. container of ricotta cheese
mozzarella cheese
veggies of your choice - I used frozen spinach, peppers, and broccoli
oregano/basil for seasoning

Baked Ziti Recipe

Directions:

1. Preheat your over to 350. Boil your pasta in a large pot. While your pasta is cooking, spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese on the bottom of your ziti tray or pan. Add a nice dollop of tomato sauce on top and mix it up a little. This will be your bottom layer.

Baked Ziti Recipe

2. Cut up all veggies. You can add them to your ziti raw like we did, or sautee them beforehand with some olive oil. I prefer a little crunch so I just throw them in there raw. You can also add frozen veggies straight into the ziti, like I did with the frozen spinach.

Baked Ziti Recipe

3. Get your pasta off the stove, drain, and get ready to LAYER!


Baked Ziti Recipe

4. There isn't a wrong way to do this, as long as you make sure to have a bottom ricotta/sauce layer and at least two layers of noodles. First add a layer of noodles on top of the bottom cheese/sauce layer. Then add some more sauce, top with some veggies, and then some mozzarella cheese. Then add more noodles, some ricotta cheese and tomato sauce, more veggies, and mozzarella cheese again. If you have room and want to go for a third layer, do it! The more layers, the more delicious it is, but just be sure to end with a layer of mozzarella and sprinkle some basil and oregano on top.

Baked Ziti Recipe Baked Ziti Recipe Baked Ziti Recipe Baked Ziti Recipe

5. Pop your layered beauty into the oven and cook for about 45 minutes at 350 degree, or until you see the insides beginning to bubble up. I love the cheese on the top to get a little brown, but if you're not into that sort of thing feel free to cover with tin foil for the first 30 minutes and remove it towards the end.

Baked Ziti Recipe

6. Enjoy! And on a side note, this ziti tastes even better heated up the next day! We actually make a big tray sometimes and enjoy it throughout the week.

Baked Ziti Recipe

40 comments:

  1. I love recipes like this. thanks for sharing!

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  2. Oh my goshhhhhhhh that looks SO delicious!

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    1. It really is! You should try it. :)

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  3. This looks great. Thanks for the step by step pictures it helps a lot!

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    1. You are welcome! Let me know if you try it.

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  4. This looks super easy and I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. This looks delicious and something I would totally prepare in my kitchen! Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. You're welcome- let me know if you try it! :)

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  6. I'm definitely going to have to try this soon-it looks incredibly delicious!

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    1. Yay! Let me know how it turns out. xoxo

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  7. Family recipes like this are the greatest! Reminds me of the "breakfast casserole" my fam makes. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're so welcome Carly! Do you have a recipe posted for the casserole?

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  8. This looks diviiiiine!
    Thanks for sharing this! I've been searching for a great veggie pasta recipe; and this one seems pretty easy to make vegan, too!

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    1. It's so easy! And yes, veganizing it is simple too. You can use Daiya shredded for a similar texture for the shredded cheese, and soft tofu for the ricotta! :)

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  9. This looks fantastic and I think I might be able to get Rowan to even eat the veggies in there too. Thanks Danielle!

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    1. Yay! Let me know if you end up trying it. Wish I could have you guys over for dinner and R. and H. could eat their veggies together! ;)

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  10. this looks absolutely delicious. so trying this recipe soon! thanks!

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  11. This looks so good Danielle! I'm a recent vegetarian and have been hunting for recipes. I am also always looking for dishes with leftovers for work lunches. ;-) This is perfect. Thanks!

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  12. Omg I was literally just looking up recipes for this when all I had to do was go on twitter and see your tweet about this! Perfect - will be making this tomorrow :)

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  13. Oh yum! I'm a huge fan of baked pasta dishes. I'll be giving this one a try! Thanks for sharing! <3

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  14. I am so making this, this friday! I think even my carnivore man will LOVE it. And baby will for sure! Thanks, Danielle. :)) xo

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  15. YUM! i am definitly making this next week!

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  16. Totally making this tonight for dinner. I've been looking for new recipes that have lots of veggies in them.

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  17. This looks great! My husband is a vegetarian, so this will work out great for us both. Thanks for sharing!

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  18. Looks so good! Always looking for ways to add extra veggies to a meal.

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  19. Done and done, making it! Looks tasty tasty, thanks for the recipe.

    -hannah

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  20. This looks seriously delicious, might have to give a dairy-free version a go over the weekend :) As a semi-vegan vegetarian, I'd be really interested to read about your reasons for being vegan in the first place, and then moving away from it? Just more about your eating habits really - How much of what you eat is organic and why etc. xx

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  21. I love ziti, but never thought about adding veggies in it! Yum, this is going on next week's meal plan!

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  22. Danielle, do you think this could be frozen? xo

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  23. Looks gorgeous. All I have to do is substitute the cheese for vegan cheese and I'm definitely making this!

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  24. Cool! Can't wait to try it!

    xo
    cortnie

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  25. Just tried this recipe and I have to thank you because it's so easy to make and so good.

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  26. So yummy! Thanks for sharing! I am not known for my cooking...you will find me under the hood of my hot rod instead of in the kitchen any day. So, my family was impressed and surprised when I made this. Yay, success!

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  27. Thanks for the great pictures too! If I make it the night before a party, do I cook it that night or wait to cook it the next day? If I cook it the night before, how long should I warm it up?

    Thanks so much
    Lori

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