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Baked Ziti Bolognese

To be completely honest, I am not the biggest pasta eater. Generally if it isn’t fresh homemade pasta, it is not something that I would reach for. However, every once in awhile, especially on a cold night, I crave baked ziti full of oozey, gooey cheesy goodness. And surprisingly, with a few simple twists, you can make a delicious and completely diet friendly version of baked ziti bolognese. Serve with a green salad and it’s a perfect, quick, simple meal on a cold night.

Healthy Baked Ziti Bolognese
Servings: 10
Serving Size: about 1 and 1/4 cup
Nutritional Info: 256.8 calories, 4.8 g of fat, 39.8 g of carbohydrates, 7.5 g of fiber 17.2 of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 7 *

1 lb of high fiber pasta (I like Ronzoni Smart Taste)
3/4 lb of ground beef, 95% lean
3 garlic cloves
1/2 diced onion
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 large diced zucchini
36 oz can of Italian crushed tomatoes (you could get away with just 28 oz but I like mine moist)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz container of fresh mozzerella pearls packed in water
1/2 cup parmesan
salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of freshly ground pepper)

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and begin boiling the water for your pasta.

2. First, you need to make your bolognese sauce. Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and brown the ground beef for about 5 minutes. Then add in the onion and garlic and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, zucchini, basil, fresh thyme sprig, salt, and pepper. Let simmer for ten minutes.

3. As the bolognese simmers, cook your pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente (about 7-8 minutes for most pasta). Drain pasta and set aside. Run cool water over it if the bolognese still needs to simmer to stop the pasta from cooking further.

4. Return the pasta to the pot and mix together with the bolognese sauce. Add in 1/2 of the mozzarella pearls, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, red pepper, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

5. Pour into a large baking dish and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top. Cook for 30 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. Serve immediately.

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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I’m Kristen and I couldn’t be happier you are here. You will find a variety of healthy and delicious recipes that will not only taste great, but help you fit in your favorite jeans.

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15 Response to Baked Ziti Bolognese

  1. Debra on January 12, 2011

    What do you do with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese?

    • admin on January 12, 2011

      Thanks so much for pointing this out. I wrote this late last night and must have forgot to include that step. You sprinkle the remaining parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top before baking. Thanks again! Hope you enjoy it!

  2. Molly on March 29, 2011

    I am a HUGE fan of your website! I overheard a friend talking about it and thought I’d check it out.. Skeptical, this was the first recipe I tried and it was delicious- Even my picky eater fiance loved it! I check your website all the time, keep em comin! :)

    • admin on March 29, 2011

      I am so glad you (and your fiance) enjoyed it!

  3. Cristina on August 2, 2011

    Is this 1 lb of dry or cooked pasta?

    • admin on August 2, 2011

      it is dry pasta. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Lady on January 19, 2012

    I cannot find the mozzerella pearls; can shredded mozzerella be substituted?

    • Kristen on January 19, 2012

      Shredded mozzerella would definitely work as well, I just like the taste of fresh mozzerella. You could also buy a larger piece of fresh mozzerella and cut it into smaller pieces if that is available.

  5. Jaclyn on February 1, 2012

    Can I prepare this a day ahead. Is it ok to do this with fresh mozz.?

    • Kristen on February 1, 2012

      It works great with fresh mozzerella. I have never made it a day ahead, but I think it would work great.

  6. Julie Ryan on March 13, 2012

    Made this tonight for my parents and my dad (who doesn’t like anything low fat) went back for seconds. Perfect huge family feeding meal that we all can enjoy. Thank you so much!

  7. Sandy on October 5, 2012

    OMG!…..This was delicious! I used ground turkey breast instead of the ground beef (thought that would make it a little more low-fat), and an 8 ou. piece of fresh mozzarella, diced up. (Couldn’t find the pearls.) I assembled it several hours in advance and held in fridge until ready to bake. One of the best pasta recipes I’ve ever made!

  8. B. Kruljac on January 27, 2013

    If I wanted to do this without the meat, any suggestions on what I could substitute? (I’m afraid to ruin it)

    • Kristen on January 27, 2013

      How about some roasted veggies? You could roast eggplant or mushrooms and then chop them up and add them.

  9. Karri on September 9, 2013

    I’m planning to make this tonight. I know the recipe says ziti, but I just noticed the picture looks more like a spiral pasta like rotini. What kind of pasta did you use?


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