Meatless Baked Ziti with Ricotta + Mozzarella
This Meatless Baked Ziti with Ricotta + Mozzarella is a classic recipe for the entire family! Packed with bold, savory flavors, this recipe is the perfect vegetarian option that is made with creamy ricotta, roasted herb tomatoes, chunks of kales, and topped with well-seasoned tomato sauce, and generous amounts of Mozzarella cheese. Make ahead + Gluten-Free options available.
Servings 6 servings
- 1 (16 oz.) box Ziti or Rigatoni pasta, organic
- 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1 Tbsp for cooking
- 4 cups shredded organic mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups organic ricotta cheese
- 2 cups Roasted herb tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped kale, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups organic tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup organic vegetable stock
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt + black pepper
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- pinch of red papper flakes
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
BOIL THE PASTA:
Cook pasta according to packaging. NOTE: ziti or rigatoni pasta doesn’t take a long time to cook, usually 10-13 minutes. NOTE: I always add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the boiling water to prevent pasta from sticking together.
Meanwhile, in a bowl add ricotta cheese and a few Tbsps (2-3 at most) of pasta water and stir using a spatula until smooth. Fold in the kale.
COOK THE TOMATO SAUCE:
In a large 12-inch skillet, add the olive oil and add minced garlic sauté frequently about 1-2 minutes until translucent and fragrant.
Add the tomato sauce, veggie stock, salt, black pepper, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, parsley, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper, stirring everything together until combined. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat to low, allowing it to simmer in the sauce for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add drained cooked pasta and gently stir until everything is combined and pasta is covered with sauce.
In the baking dish, add in the pasta (covered in tomato sauce), spreading it evenly. Spoon on the ricotta cheese mixture and stir until combined. Sprinkle a nice layer of mozzarella cheese atop pasta followed by roasted tomatoes. Then a final layer of mozzarella cheese until the entire pasta is covered.
Loosely cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil paper and bake for another 10-15 minutes or so, until cheese has fully melted and the top is browned slightly.
Remove from oven and serve with your favorite salad or bread.
- STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To re-heat, simply heat in the oven for the best results or microwave for a minute or two until heated through.
- GLUTEN-FREE: To make this dish GF, simply use Gluten-Free pasta and ensure that other ingredients are GF-friendly.
- MAKE AHEAD: Cook your pasta and let it cool completely before storing in an air-tight refrigerator for 3-5 days. In a bowl, combine your ricotta, parmesan, and kale and place in an air tight container to refrigerate overnight as well. Follow steps to cook tomato sauce and after STEP 4, remove sauce from heat, let cool and store in the fridge the day before. On the day of, remove everything to room temp., about 15-20 minutes and continue assembly STEPS.