Vegetable Baked Ziti

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-4
Need to use up veggies in your crisper drawer but tired of vegetable soup? Give this recipe for Vegetable Baked Ziti a try! The ingredients are easily customizable for any taste and the casserole can even be assembled a day in advance if you know you’ll be crunched for time. The recipe is written to use up what I had on hand but feel free to swap out vegetables as you’d like!

Ingredients

    Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-1

  • 12 oz. uncooked tube-shaped pasta, such as ziti or penne
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, shredded
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese as I had it on hand but use less salt as the sodium count in cottage cheese is a bit higher than ricotta!)
  • 1/4 c. fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella

Directions

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-2Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 13×9 inch casserole dish.

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain.

Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, onion and bell peppers to pan, cook for 3-5 minutes until just tender. Add zucchini and swiss chard, cook just until chard is wilted. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.

Vegetable-Baked-Ziti-3In a large bowl combine the pasta, the vegetable mixture, the ricotta cheese and half of the mozzarella. Transfer pasta/vegetable mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses evenly over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheeses are bubbly.

Serves 8

Herbal Fun Facts

herbsAn old English tradition is to plant large patches of thyme as playgrounds for faeries.

Basil oil is a traditional treatment for insect bites and bee stings.

Cilantro was one of the plants growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon more than 2,500 years ago!

Fun Facts

Tomatoes are the world’s most popular fruit! More than 60 million tons are produced every year. That’s 16 million tons more than No.2 — the banana.

Watermelons are actually vegetables, related to pumpkins, cucumbers and squash.

Ancient Greeks and Romans thought basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted while sowing the seeds.

Cilantro is a member of the carrot family.