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Vegetarian Baked Ziti

This vegetarian baked ziti recipe is the ultimate hearty meatless comfort food dinner. Made with layers of perfectly cooked pasta, veggies, and three kinds of cheese. This is the best baked ziti!

baked vegetarian ziti

This meatless baked ziti is one of our favorite dinners lately!

What I love about baked ziti is all of the layers of goodness that a lasagna would have, but less work.

This homemade vegetarian baked ziti is packed full of rich cheesy flavor and baked to bubbly perfection.

I love to vegetarianize classic favorites like this and vegetarian meatloaf.

I’m a big fan of pasta recipes like creamy mushroom pasta, crock pot baked ziti and veggie lover’s pasta.

Pasta is a fantastic dish to make vegetarian and you won’t even miss the meat!

ingredients needed to make vegetarian baked ziti

Ingredients to make baked ziti

  • uncooked ziti pasta noodles
  • yellow onion
  • fresh garlic cloves
  • zucchini
  • red bell pepper
  • fresh basil
  • ricotta cheese
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • high quality pasta sauce
  • salt
oil in a skillet surrounded with the chopped up vegetables

How to make vegetarian baked ziti

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Chop up the onion, zucchini, and red bell pepper. Dice or mince the fresh garlic.

Step 1: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, red bell pepper to the skillet. Cook the vegetables for around 10 minutes, until softened.

adding the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and squash to the skillet

Step 2: Start boiling the water for the ziti in another pan, or do this first and set the cooked pasta aside while you prepare the vegetables.

cooked vegetables in the skillet

Step 3: Add the pasta sauce and salt and let it simmer for 5 more minutes while the ziti finishes cooking.

adding the pasta sauce to the cooked vegetables

Note about pasta sauce: you can use any flavor of sauce, but I strongly suggest splurging for the good stuff. High quality pasta sauce makes a big difference in the taste of the dish. It’s really worth spending the few extra dollars.

sauce mixed together with the vegetables

Step 4: In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of ricotta cheese with the ½ cup of fresh chopped basil and one cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese

ricotta, parmesan, and fresh basil in separate bowls

Can I use dried basil?

I do not recommend using any substitution for fresh basil in this baked ziti. Fresh basil adds incredible flavor to this vegetarian baked ziti and it would not taste the same with dried herbs.

adding the fresh basil and parmesan to the ricotta

Once you have mixed together the parmesan, ricotta, and basil, set it aside.

ricotta mixture mixed together

Step 5: Once the ziti has finished cooking to al dente, drain it and place it back in the pot.

cooked ziti in a sauce pan

Stir the ziti noodles together with the sauce and veggies until combined.

ziti mixed together with the sauce and vegetables

Step 6: Spray a 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Add half of the noodles/sauce to the bottom of the baking dish and spread it out.

ziti noodles in a white casserole dish

Step 7: Spread the entire ricotta/mozzarella/basil mixture over the top of the ziti noodles.

adding the ricotta mixture over the ziti

Step 8: Cover the ricotta mixture with the remaining 1 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

adding the fresh parmesan cheese over the ricotta

Step 9: layer on the remaining half of the ziti and sauce.

adding the remaining pasta layer

Step 10: Finish the vegetarian baked ziti off with the shredded mozzarella on top.

topping the baked ziti with shredded mozzarella

Step 11: Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove the foil after 10 minutes and bake for another 20 minutes, until bubbly.

Optional: I like to broil mine for 1-2 minutes at the end to get those lovely bits of browned cheese on top.

baked vegetarian ziti

This vegetarian baked ziti will make your kitchen smell incredible!

There is simply nothing like fresh basil and cheese and pasta sauce blending together to make your house smell like an Italian restaurant.

vegetarian baked ziti on a plate

How to store

Baked ziti will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. To reheat, I suggest microwaving it.

We love eating leftovers of this dish!

This is sure to be a family favorite recipe.

taking a scoop of vegetarian baked ziti from the casserole dish

More pasta recipes

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taking a scoop of vegetarian baked ziti from the casserole dish

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vegetarian baked ziti in a casserole dish

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Yield: 8 servings

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

vegetarian baked ziti in a casserole dish

This is the best vegetarian baked ziti recipe made with layers of 3 different cheeses, fresh vegetables, and baked to golden brown cheesy perfection!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic (10-15 cloves), finely diced or minced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup fresh chopped basil (around 1 oz worth when packaged)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups fresh grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 32 oz high quality pasta sauce (I used Rao’s tomato basil)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat
  3. Start boiling the water for the ziti in another pan, or do this first and set the cooked pasta aside while you work on the vegetables
  4. Add the onion, garlic, zucchini, red bell pepper to the skillet with the oil. Cook for around 10 minutes, until softened. Add the pasta sauce and salt and let it simmer for 5 more minutes while the ziti finishes cooking
  5. In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup of ricotta cheese with the ½ cup of fresh chopped basil and one cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
  6. Once the ziti is cooked, drain and mix it together with the sauce and vegetables. Remove from the heat.
  7. Spray a 9 by 13 baking casserole dish with olive oil spray
  8. Add half of the sauce/noodles to the casserole dish and spread it out
  9. Spread out all of the ricotta/parmesan/basil mixture over the top of the ziti
  10. Top with the remaining 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
  11. Add the remaining half of the pasta/sauce
  12. Top with 8 oz of shredded mozzarella
  13. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350
  14. Remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until bubbly
  15. For a little browned cheese on top, broil for 1-2 minutes at the end

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 1477mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g

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