Vegetarian Baked Ziti

4.50 from 14 votes

This is the best Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe without meat! Made with layers of perfectly cooked ziti, fresh sautéed veggies, and three kinds of cheese.

baked vegetarian ziti
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You’ll love this baked ziti!

This homemade vegetarian baked ziti is packed full of rich cheesy flavor and baked to bubbly perfection with three kinds of cheeses. It’s made with fresh bell pepper, onion, and zucchini and fresh basil for loads of fresh flavor!

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. It’s a classic family favorite and everyone aways enjoys it.

I love to vegetarianize classic dinnertime favorites like this and vegetarian meatloaf. Pasta is a fantastic dish to make vegetarian and you won’t even miss the meat!

ingredients needed to make vegetarian baked ziti

You can find the full recipe and instructions at the bottom of this post, but here is what you’ll need to make this 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: we like Raos brand
  • 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.

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. We are a big fan of Raos pasta sauces.

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. Set it aside.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Step 11: Cover the baking 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.

taking a scoop of vegetarian baked ziti from the casserole dish

How to store baked ziti

Leftover baked ziti can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reheat any leftovers in a casserole dish in the oven at 350 degrees until heated through. You can also microwave individual portions.

We love eating leftovers of this dish!

taking a scoop of vegetarian baked ziti from the casserole dish

Vegetarian Ziti FAQs

Can I use penne pasta instead?

Yes, you can make this baked ziti using penne pasta, which is a similar shape. I often do this when I cannot find ziti pasta at my grocery store.

Can I use cottage cheese in baked ziti?

Yes, you can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta cheese in this recipe.

What do you serve with vegetarian baked ziti?

This pasta would pair perfectly with a Caesar side salad and garlic bread!

vegetarian baked ziti in a casserole dish

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.

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vegetarian baked ziti in a casserole dish
4.50 from 14 votes

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

By: Joy Shull
This vegetarian baked ziti recipe is made with layers of perfectly cooked ziti, fresh sautéed veggies, and three kinds of cheese. A family favorite dinner!
Servings: 8

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 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Once the ziti is cooked, drain and mix it together with the sauce and vegetables. Remove from the heat.
  • Spray a 9 by 13 baking casserole dish with olive oil or other cooking spray
  • Add half of the sauce/noodles to the casserole dish and spread it out
  • Spread out all of the ricotta/parmesan/basil mixture over the top of the ziti
  • Top with the remaining 1 cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Add the remaining half of the pasta/sauce
  • Top with 8 oz of shredded mozzarella
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350
  • Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until bubbly
  • For a little browned cheese on top, broil for 1-2 minutes at the end. Watch closely to avoid burning

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 1221mg, Potassium: 661mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1767IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 547mg, Iron: 3mg
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4.50 from 14 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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