Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables

She is the baked ziti of my dreams—lightened up. The appeal of lasagna’s saucy, mozzarella-topped appeal is present in this baked ziti, but it is simpler to prepare during a typical evening. Amen.

When I came up with this dish, I wanted to use roasted vegetables in place of some of the spaghetti. In the end, I was able to replace two pounds (32 ounces!) of vegetables with eight ounces (8 ounces) of the ziti.

I decided on roasted cauliflower, red bell pepper, and yellow onion since they all roast to the most delicious golden edges. Although I adore this combo, you could easily substitute your preferred vegetables.

Finding the ideal proportion of mozzarella, marinara, and ricotta took some time (I actually used cottage cheese, more on that in a bit). With the final recipe, I think I’ve struck the mark, and I can’t wait to hear how it works out for you.

The Finest Ziti Bake

This recipe for baked ziti is quite adaptable. Several more reasons to adore it are as follows:

  • Everyone will enjoy this baked ziti that is vegetarian. Although dish is meatless, when ziti tastes this amazing, even carnivores will eat it.
  • This baked ziti would be a wonderful choice for a casual get-together or dating night. There will be plenty of time between steps for conversation and wine consumption.
  • Making it is a quiet recipe as well. Nothing needs to be sautéed! This is a recipe quality that I believe is underappreciated.
  • This ziti can be prepared up to three days in advance, making it the ideal dish to prepare ahead of time or to take to a friend who needs a hearty dinner.
  • This classic Italian meal that has been lightened up is surprisingly strong in protein. Each serving contains 20 grams!
  • With my shredded Italian salad, this ziti would be fantastic. You’re welcome to create a more condensed version of it.

Ziti Baked Ingredient Notes

There isn’t a big list of ingredients needed for this dish. What you’ll need is as follows:

Pasta Rigatoni or penne will do, but ziti is preferred. Since whole wheat noodles have been getting difficult to get recently (I prefer DeLallo and Bionaturae), I used the organic ziti from Whole Foods instead. You’ll need half of a box of pasta, which is typically sold in one-pound packs.

To make this dish gluten-free, I think you could use a hardy corn and quinoa pasta blend.


Although I love my homemade marinara recipe, I chose to use a canned one from the store as this recipe is meant to be straightforward. Rao’s is my preferred brand since it tastes the closest to the sauce I make at home. To prepare the four cups of homemade marinara that you’ll need for this ziti, you’ll need to double my recipe.


I used onion, bell pepper, and cauliflower. If you have an onion sensitivity, you might want to substitute something else (perhaps a sweet potato?).

In this dish for ziti, you may use up any leftover vegetables. To make it work, you’ll need around two pounds of prepped vegetables. Remember that the weight of heads of broccoli or cauliflower is twice as much as the number of florets they produce (so a two-pound bunch of broccoli will yield about one pound of florets).

new basil

Although you may omit the basil from the recipe, it gives the completed cheesy meal canned marinara a ton of tempting fresh flavor. I believe it is worthwhile to purchase!

Part-skim mozzarella works best in this recipe since it turns a lovely golden color in the oven. Additionally, it reduces the amount of grease in your meal compared to using full-fat mozzarella.

It is preferable to grate your own cheese rather than purchase it already shredded (you’ll also save money this way). Pre-grated cheese is frequently covered in powder or starch, which might reduce how melty it is.

Ricotta or cottage cheese Scandalous, I know! Even though I can’t like cottage cheese on its own, I actually prefer it to ricotta in this dish. I dislike how warm ricotta may get gummy, while cottage cheese magically becomes creamier and more delectable. For lasagna recipes, use whatever one you prefer.

A Few Pointers Before You Start

Employ half-sheet pans. If only everyone had access to these inexpensive half-sheet pans (affiliate link). They feature a large surface area, giving your vegetables room to expand as they roast.

Utilize a large baker, please. For this recipe, you’ll need a three quart baker (think 9 x 13 with deep sides). This is mine. I’ve told you to put the baker on a clean, rimmed baking sheet when it’s in the oven so that you can err on the side of caution and prevent overflow.

Never overcook spaghetti. In fact, cook it for the least time recommended on the package since you want it slightly underdone. Since it will continue to cook in the oven after you drain it, it should still be little crunchy.