Hello dear readers! I spent the past few days shivering as Los Angeles had a bit of a cold streak. (Let’s all please remember temperature is relative.) To combat the cold, I made this plant based baked ziti, and I have been enjoying the leftovers all week.
My memories of baked ziti come from my parent’s family-style Italian restaurant. Picture this: a pound of pasta, about four different kinds of cheese, house-made marinara, then more cheese to top it off before the whole thing is baked to perfection. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. This recipe for plant based baked ziti is a healthier version of their classic, but no less tasty, and it leaves me feeling satisfied without any of the guilt.
I’m a big fan of lentil and chickpea pasta, which to be fair, don’t taste as great as regular noodles, but pack in the protein. And as a life-long vegetarian, protein is always on my mind. I also used cottage cheese in this plant based baked ziti, another great source of protein, which gives this casserole a nice cheesy flavor. Broccoli, carrots, and green peas are staples in my fridge, all of which made their way into this dish, but feel free to substitute your favorite veggies. Toss in the veggies to cook along with the pasta, one pot means less to clean later!
Plant Based Baked Ziti
Yields about 8 servings
8 oz. uncooked pasta (my favorite plant based brand is www.eatbanza.com )
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup green peas
1 cup cottage cheese
2 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used a basic marinara from Trader Joes)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 t. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While the water is heating, wash and chop your veggies.
2. Once the water boils, toss in the veggies and pasta for 4 minutes, or until very al dente, they will continue to cook in the oven.
3. Rinse and drain the pasta and veggies under cold water then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cottage cheese, tomato sauce, oregano and a dash of salt and pepper. Keep in mind cottage cheese and parmesan are both pretty salty so you may not even need any extra salt.
4. Rub a large Pyrex baking dish with a little olive oil (my dish was about 9×13), then pour in the pasta and top with parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melty.
This dish makes amazing leftovers, just re-cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until ready to eat. Buon appetito!