This nutrient packed Baked Ziti with Roasted Vegetables is a healthier version of the classic dish that will have everyone eating their veggies!
Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti packed with peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant all tossed with ziti and baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese is a hearty and healthy dish the whole family will love. It's one of the easy pasta dishes we love to make when the weather gets cold along with this Spinach and Artichoke Pasta and Chicken and Mushroom Pasta.
Vegetarian, omnivore, herbivore, meatavore, whatever you call yourself, there's a pasta dish for that. And most pasta dishes can be made to satisfy all of those (though not generally at the same time). Whether I'm feeding myself or a crowd, picky or plentiful eaters, meat or veggie lovers, I know I can always whip up a pasta dish and please just about anyone and everyone.
I know I'm all about healthy, but just because I'm cooking up pasta doesn't mean I've given up. There are many, many ways to make a pasta dish healthy. All you need to do is incorporate some easy changes and add of lots of delicious roasted vegetables. You can even add cheese! Pasta and cheese and you're still calling it healthy? I am!
The best part is, you can mix up the vegetables to include your favorites (or whoever you're serving's favorites). You can also add lean ground beef or sausage if you want more protein for the meat eaters.
Also, I need to mention that the photo for this recipe includes rotini instead of ziti. Originally I made it with ziti but when I took the new photos, I accidentally used rotini since it was what I had at home. I plan on updating the photos again but I didn't want to wait to share the recipe since it is perfect for the season. Any pasta will work.
Side Dishes to Serve with Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti
I know pasta dishes basically beg for sides of salads and garlic bread. I agree, those items really round out a pasta dish for sure. But, since you're already loading up your pasta with veggies, you don't also have to add a lettuce salad out of obligation. Or, how about trying another type of salad or vegetable, for instance:
- These Crunchy Brussels Sprout Salad, Simple Roasted Asparagus, or Roasted Garlic Broccoli dishes all make great sides that can help to incorporate veggies outside of the main dish that not everyone always loves.
- Roasted Cauliflower and Pomegranate Salad with Honey Sesame Dressing is a different kind of veggie salad that would complement any pasta dish nicely.
- Try making your own garlic bread with less butter and preservatives than the frozen stuff.
- Dinner rolls also make a nice addition to a pasta dish.
- Skip the extra veggies and bread and try a side dish of fruit! Slice grapefruit and oranges into wedges and serve together, or buy a pre-cut bowl of mixed berries at the grocery to serve alongside dinner (or save it for dessert!).
Ideas for Customizing Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti
As I said earlier, pasta is a really great dish to customize. I can think of an almost infinitesimal amount of ways to customize this dish. The easiest ways though would include the following, in no particular order:
- Switch up the veggies. Easy-peasy. What do you like? What do your guests or family members like? Use more of those vegetables. Roast them all together just like the recipe says.
- Swap some of the pasta out for zoodles or extra veggies.
- Use gluten-free, high-fiber, or veggie pasta if you have special dietary limitations.
- Use a white sauce if you don't like marinara sauce (just make sure it's a healthier variety or make your own).
- Try skipping sauces all together and roast the veggies with some minced garlic for a fresh-tasting pasta dish.
- Skip the mozzarella and just use parm (or vice-versa).
- Incorporate those little balls of Buffalo mozzarella in with the pasta and veggies right in the dish before putting in the oven. You'll have little cheesy pockets in each serving.
- Switch this dish up and make it like a lasagne, with pasta layers alternating with veggie layers, alternating with cheesy layers.
- Add in a protein — sausage, ground beef, or turkey, bacon, chicken — just about any cooked meat would blend nicely with this pasta dish.
Can Baked Ziti Be Made Ahead of Time?
Yes, it can! If you are predicting a time crunch for the night you want to serve the baked ziti or you just like making food ahead of time, this dish is perfect for that. What you'll want to do is roast the veggies first, and then mix it with your cooked pasta and let this mixture cool in the pan.
Once it's cooled, you can refrigerate, covered with aluminum foil, for a day or two. When you're ready to make the meal, add the cheese then go ahead and bake it for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. You'll need a little extra cooking time because you'll be starting to bake the dish while it's still cold.
Can this be made with any pasta?
This recipe will work with pretty much any kind of pasta. As you will notice in the photo, I actually used rotini the second time I cooked this since that is all I had in the house. Just make sure to only cook the pasta until it is al dente. This prevents the pasta from over-cooking in the oven.
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Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti
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- 2 U red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 U zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 2 U summer squash, cut into half moons
- 2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup onion, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 8 oz high fiber ziti
- 2 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Roast for 15 minutes or until tender. Set aside one serving for lunch later in the week.
- Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions but take out of the water after 8 minutes or when the pasta is very al dente. It will cook again in the oven so this will prevent it from over-cooking.
- Toss together the roasted vegetables, pasta, and marinara sauce. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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