Easy Baked Ziti

Perfectly baked noodles, hearty meaty tomato sauce, and three different types of cheese all baked up together to make this classic dish. But just because it taste like a million bucks, doesn’t mean it should be difficult to make! We’re breaking it down to make the best Easy Baked Ziti for a hearty dinner tonight and leftovers for days.

Easy Baked Ziti recipe hot from the oven.Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

There is nothing more comforting than digging it to a giant tray of baked ziti! It’s cheesy, saucy and such a classic comfort food. It’s like an easier version of lasagna and It’s also a great way to make a large portion of food to feed a crowd, or to have a make-ahead meal for your family. We’re sharing all the tips for making this easy baked ziti and for optionally freezing and reheating!

Preparing a baked ziti recipe.Ingredients Needed

How to Make It

There are a few steps for making baked ziti, but nothing very complicated! We also take advantage of using a st0re-bought marinara sauce to save the time needed to make a from-scratch marinara.

Start by cooking the pasta! You want to make sure it’s cooked about 1-2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain it and then toss it with a little olive oil so that it doesn’t stick together while you make the sauce.

Next make the meat sauce. Saute the onions and garlic first, and then cook the meat. Add in the marinara sauce and seasoning and let it simmer for  for 10 minutes. The longer you can let simmer, the better! Once the sauce is done combine it with the pasta.

Meanwhile mix together the ricotta mixture.

Then assemble the baked ziti and bake until bubbly!

Make Some Now and Some for Later

What I love about dishes like this is that they are easy meals to have some now and some later! This makes a huge portion of food. It’s perfect for parties but also perfect to prepare the baked ziti in two smaller containers (an 8×8 baking pan works well) and bake one for today and freeze the other for another day.

To reheat leftover baked ziti: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cover the baked ziti loosely with aluminum foil. Heat until warmed through, about 15-20 minutes.

To prepare this for the freezer: assemble this dish up until the point of baking. Then let the dish cool entered, wrap in two layers of plastic wrap and then freeze. When ready to bake, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the middle of the pasta is hot, about 30-40 minutes.

If you like this Italian classic, check out these others:

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Easy Baked Ziti

Perfectly baked noodles, hearty meaty tomato sauce, and three different types of cheese all baked up together to make this classic dish. But just because it taste like a million bucks, doesn't mean it should be difficult to make! We're breaking it down to make the best Easy Baked Ziti for a hearty dinner tonight and leftovers for days.


Yield 8-10
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes



Author: Lexi's Clean Kitchen
Scale This Recipe

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400ºF and set a 9 x 13” baking pan on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is al dente—about 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions state. Drain the pasta through a colander and return to the pot and mix together with a splash of olive oil.
  3. Make the meat sauce: Heat oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven. Once hot add onions and garlic cook for 3-4 minutes. Add meat and cook until no pink remains, about 7 minutes. Add marinara sauce, italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to the pan and combine. Bring sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. The longer you can let simmer, the better! Taste and adjust spices as desired then remove from heat.
  4. Prepare ricotta mixture: in a medium bowl by combining ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, garlic powder, eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  5. Combine the cooked pasta and the meat sauce.
  6. Transfer half of the ziti in the 9x13 pan. Then dollop in scoops of the ricotta mixture and sprinkle over 1 cup of the mozzarella. Repeat another layer with the pasta, followed by the ricotta and then the reamaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. 
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbling and golden in spots.
  8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition

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Easy Baked Ziti

Need a quick dinner idea? This Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Roasted Red Peppers is it! This delicious dinner uses only ingredients that are likely to be in your pantry and it’s made all in one pot! It’s also dairy-free and vegan and sure to a be a hit with the whole family.

Easy one pot pasta with chickpeas in a bowlQuick Pantry Pasta

We are all about quick and easy dinners, especially during busy seasons of our lives. This Quick Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Roasted Red Peppers is definitely a winner. It’s made all in one pot, with items you likely already have in your pantry and will surely be a hit with everyone. Did I mention it takes less than 20 minutes to cook? That means that if you are walking in the door with absolutely no idea what you are going to make for dinner, this will save you! It’s also easy to swap in other ingredients in case you don’t have the chickpeas or roasted red peppers so this one really is a life saver. Save this recipe and hang it on your fridge for the next time you need dinner fast.

Pantry Pasta Ingredients

Pasta with roasted red peppers in a pot

How One Pot Pasta Works

If you are new to the concept of cooking pasta all in one pot, let me explain how it works! Typically pasta is cooked separately in lots of boiling water, then drained before being used in whatever dish you are making. But a one pot pasta instead boils the pasta directly in whatever “sauce” you are using. In this recipe, the pasta is boiled in a mixture of marinara sauce and water (or broth, if you have it in your pantry!). Instead of just filling the pot with water, a precise amount is added to ensure that when the pasta is finished cooking, there is just enough liquid leftover to make your sauce. The resulting sauce is “creamier” because any starch that is leftover in the cooking liquid is left in the pot, instead of being discarded when draining the pasta. Because it’s all cooked in one pot, follow the directions and ingredient amounts precisely to ensure the correct amount of sauce leftover at the end.

Also note that when the pasta is finished cooking, the sauce might look like it is too watery. It will thicken in about 5 minutes to be the perfect amount, so have patience.

What Type of Pasta to Use

We tested this one pot pantry pasta with a lot of different types of gluten-free pasta and with traditional wheat pasta as well. It all worked the same! However, you must use penne pasta for this, as the amount of water called for is based off of the type of pasta used.

When you are cooking this, the recipe calls for you to cook the pasta as long as the package directions call for, after it has come to a boil, so be sure to check for that information on the pasta package.

Pasta with chickpeas

Alternative Ingredients for Pantry Pasta

We based this recipe off of the idea that marinara, chickpeas and roasted red peppers are often what can be commonly found in the pantries of many families. However, you can make some swaps for what you have on hand, such as switching the beans (or omitting them) or even adding meat to this dish. However, you can not swap out the use of 25 ounces of marinara sauce or the amount of water/broth called for, because it will affect the final dish.

Some other ideas for swaps to make:

Adding Meat to this Dish

If you wanted to add ground meat, cook it first in the pot, then add the remaining ingredients.

If you like this pasta recipe, check out these others:

Watch the video:


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Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Peppers

This Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Roasted Red Peppers is the ultimate easy and quick dinner idea. This delicious dinner idea uses all ingredients that are likely to be in your pantry and it's made all in one pot! It's also dairy free and vegan and sure to a be a hit with the whole family.


Yield 4
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-free
Make Ahead: Easy
Author: Lexi's Clean Kitchen
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Ingredients

  • 1-25 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces penne pasta (we used gluten-free)
  • 4 cups water / broth 
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1-15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a large dutch oven and stir together to combine. Turn the heat on to medium high and let the mixture come up to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, cook the pasta for as long as the package instruction states (if package says to cook pasta for 10 minutes, cook for 10 minutes), stirring every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
  3. Once the pasta is cooked through, let it sit for 5 minutes while the sauce continues to thicken up.
  4. Serve as is, or with parmesan cheese and basil for garnish.

Recipe Notes

  1. The pasta can stick to the bottom of the pot after it has begun to boil. Make sure to stir the pot, scraping up any pasta off of the bottom very frequently. 
  2. We really recommend adding broth / bone broth if you have it in your pantry.

Nutrition

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One Pot Pantry Pasta with Chickpeas and Peppers

This might be a recipe for a Classic Macaroni Salad, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! This dish is a staple at picnics and potlucks and for good reason–it’s delicious! Serve it for a crowd, or pair it with protein for a cool, summer dinner.

Bowl of classic macaroni saladClassic Macaroni Salad Recipe

This site is no stranger to pasta salads, having previously made a BLT Pasta Salad, Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad, and Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad. But we realized as summer rolled on in that we were missing the beloved deli style pasta salad! This refreshing Classic Macaroni Salad may look simple, but it’s bright, with crunchy veggies and perfect for any summertime gathering. This creamy pasta salad looks like the same version you can buy in a deli, but obviously OH SO DELICIOUS because it’s homemade with fresh ingredients.

Want to know the best part about this pasta salad? It is a make-ahead dish! So make it a day before that party you’re bringing it to, or combine it with some protein like tuna, hard boiled eggs or shredded chicken and prep yourself lunch for a few days.

Ingredients for classic all American macaroni saladIngredients for our Classic Macaroni Salad

We admit, using the word classic can be touchy because everybody can have their own version of what makes something classic. But we decided on a version that’s creamy and bright (thanks to a hefty addition of apple cider vinegar), with lots of crunchy fresh vegetables and just the right amount of sweetness that brings the whole thing all together.

How to make macaroni salad

Here’s what’s in it:

Easy macaroni salad in a bowl

Proteins to Pair to Make it a Meal

This is the perfect side dish to pair with just about any grilled main dish, but it would also make a great summer dinner or lunch meal prep. Pair it with a protein to make it a but more substantial:

Best classic macaroni salad recipe

If you like this potluck favorite, check out these others:


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1 reviews

Classic Macaroni Salad

This might be a recipe for a Classic Macaroni Salad, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring! This dish is a staple at picnics and potlucks and for good reason--it's delicious! Serve it for a crowd, or pair it with protein for a cool, summer dinner.


Yield 6 as a side
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Recipe Type: Side dish
Cuisine: Gluten-free, Vegetarian
Make Ahead: Easy
Author: Lexi's Clean Kitchen
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Rinse well under cool water and drain.
  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk together mayo, apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard and salt and black pepper.
  3. To the bowl add the cooked pasta, celery, red pepper, carrots and red onion and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. Pasta salad will keep up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

  1. Don’t need to be gluten-free? Use whatever pasta you’d like!
  2. We tested this with a few different types of gluten-free pasta. Brown rice pasta is slightly hard when cold, while other brands that contained white rice flour, corn flour or soy flour stayed soft when cold. We’d recommend if you want to use brown rice pasta not making it ahead of time to keep it the correct consistency.

Nutrition

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Classic Macaroni Salad

When we were in Italy, Carbonara was a staple at almost every restaurant. What I love about this dish is that it uses pantry staples and it’s easy enough to make on a quick night, while having robust flavor. It uses minimal ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to find! I knew I wanted to give you a perfect Gluten-Free Spaghetti Carbonara that everybody will love! You’ll feel fancy and totally surprise your family and guests. Made in partnership with ALDI.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Gluten-Free Spaghetti Carbonara

I am so excited to partner with my friends at ALDI to bring you today’s easy spaghetti carbonara recipe! It’s a total staple that’s affordable and beyond delicious.

There’s more to love about the liveGfree line at ALDI! The gluten-free brand is now backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal! This means that each liveGfree product was evaluated and quality tested by the food and nutrition experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute, so you know it’s a product you can trust. They also guarantee quality on all of their private-label products. If a customer doesn’t like an ALDI-exclusive product, they can bring it back and they’ll return your money and/or replace the product!

Essential Carbonara Ingredients:

Gluten-Free Pasta Aldi

Because it’s only a few simple pantry ingredients, you want them to be high quality! Normally when making a cheesy type of pasta, you thicken with some sort of starch or flour, but this dish is thickened with egg yolks, making it naturally gluten-free (assuming you are using gluten-free pasta).

spaghetti alla carbonara

How do you make carbonara

spaghetti carbonara recipe

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1 reviews

Gluten-Free Spaghetti Carbonara


Yield 4
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes



Author: Lexi
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz. liveGfree Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cup pasta water
  • Stonemill Sea Salt Grinder for water
  • 6 pieces nitrate-free Appleton Farms Never Any! Bacon, sliced into 1/2" pieces (see note)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 6 SimplyNature Organic Cage Free Brown Egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Priano Shredded Parmesan Cheese , plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Stonemill Ground Pepper, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for spaghetti. Cook according to package instructions.
  2. While pasta is cooking, cook bacon until crispy. If there is an excessive amount of bacon grease, as in more than 2 tablespoons drain the excess. Add smashed garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute and then remove them. You want to cook it just long enough to release the garlic flavor into the bacon.
  3. In a small bowl mix together egg yolks, parmesan cheese and black pepper.
  4. Once pasta has finished cooking, reserve about 1 1/2 cups pasta water. Drain pasta and return it back to the pot.
  5. Working quickly add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water into the egg yolk mixture and whisk together. Add this mixture to the pasta. The residual heat from the pan and the hot pasta will cook the egg yolks gently without scrambling them. The sauce should be rich and creamy, but not overly thick. Add more of the reserved pasta water if needed to thin out the sauce (see note). Add salt to taste if needed, but the parmesan cheese and bacon should be enough to season it.
  6. Serve immediately with additional black pepper, parmesan cheese and garnish with red pepper flakes, if desired.

Recipe Notes

  1. Traditionally carbonara uses pancetta. We used bacon here because you are more likely to have this on hand than pancetta. If you'd like to stick to the authentic flavor than sub in about 4 oz. diced pancetta.
  2. Depending on the brand of pasta you use, you may need more water to thin out the sauce.

Nutrition

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Here’s the lovely GF Carbonara we enjoyed in Italy at Rome Cavalleri!

Carbonara in Italy

Want other gluten-free pasta dishes? Try these favorites:

This post is sponsored by ALDI. All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own! I love the integrity of their products and think you’ll love them too. Thank you for continuing to support LCK and the brands I work with!

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Spaghetti Carbonara (Gluten-Free)

Gluten-free Sausage and Veggie Pasta | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

This Sausage and Vegetable Pasta is my go-to gluten-free dish for a quick weeknight meal or for entertaining. It’s delicious, serves a crowd, is easy to prepare, and is made using only ONE POT!

Sausage and Spring Vegetable Pasta

Sausage and Spring Vegetable Pasta

My blogging girlies and I are excited for SPRING, so we’ve teamed up to bring you five recipes packed with our favorite Spring produce. You have carrots, potatoes, leeks, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, strawberries, peas, and radishes!

5 Healthy Spring Recipes

Now, this pasta! 

Sausage and Spring Vegetable Pasta

I always make this dish when entertaining. Super Bowl, a dinner party, or just having friends or family over. It’s always a hit, and super easy to prepare!

Sausage and Spring Vegetable Pasta

Watch the video:

Want more gluten-free pasta recipes? Try these favorites:

5.0 rating
2 reviews

Sausage and Spring Vegetable Pasta


Yields 6
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes



Author: Lexi
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Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large pot, make pasta as directed on the box/bag of pasta you are using.
  2. Drain pasta and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté garlic for 30 seconds. Add in broccoli and asparagus and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes until fork tender. To speed up the time, add 2 teaspoons of water and cover the pot.
  4. Remove the casing from the sausage and add to the pot. Cook until no pink remains.
  5. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.
  6. Add the pasta into the pot, add remaining olive oil, and salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and parmesan if adding. Taste and adjust spices as desired.
  7. Serve hot!

Nutrition

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Sausage and Vegetable Pasta

This Zucchini Noodles with Scallops is a super delicious lightened version of scallop pasta using zoodles. This quick weeknight dinner is perfect for summer time. It’s gluten-free, Paleo, and Whole30 friendly.

Zucchini and scallopZucchini Noodles with Scallops

This year I joined a local CSA and cannot believe it has taken me this long to get involved in one. So many of you ask how to shop and eat clean on a budget, and I highly recommend joining a local CSA to help with your shopping. For the money we spent for the 20 weeks, the amount of produce we get weekly is AMAZING. I am making all the fresh veggies with dinner. And lunch. And breakfast!

Like this delicious Zucchini Noodles with Scallops!

Probably one of the easiest, most delicious, light dinners around.

Perfect for SUMMER!

Scallop Pasta with noodlesIngredients Needed for Scallop Pasta recipe:

Zucchini noodles with scallops being twisted with a fork

If you like this seafood recipe, check out these others:

If you like this zoodle recipe, check out these others:

[yumprint-recipe id=’298′]
 

What is your favorite Summer dinner?

Easy Scallop Pasta

If you have been here a while, you know I’m all about the spiralizer these days! I love pasta, so it really is the perfect way to satisfy that pasta craving- BUT WITH VEGGIES. So much yes!

This Creamy Pesto Chicken “Pasta” is flavorful, delicious, full of good-for-you ingredients, and makes the perfect nutritious dinner for your family.

Creamy Pesto Chicken "Pasta"

This weekend was kind of relaxed. We laid low and managed to have a fun-filled day of registering *gasps* for our wedding!  We binge-watched The Jinx (a new HBO Documentary short series), and I met my girlfriends for brunch yesterday.  A nice relaxing weekend for busy week ahead! Cooking for Passover, heading to NY, taking care of wedding stuff, blog work, gym time, and so much more. Busy busy busy. That’s why I need to fuel up with dinners like this.

Protein, good-for-you fats… the works!

Creamy Pesto Pasta | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Creamy Pesto Pasta | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’268′]

Creamy Pesto Chicken "Pasta"

Creamy Pesto Pasta | Lexi's Clean Kitchen

What is your favorite type of pasta dish? How do you fuel your mind & body for busy weeks?

Creamy Pesto Chicken “Pasta”

This Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Two Ways takes some time to make, but it isn’t complicated once you get the hang of it and makes for such a fun hands-on task! Simply delicious, and guilt-free! I served it two ways, with my favorite easy tomato sauce and then with a spinach and butter sauce. So so good.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Two Ways

 

For a while now I’ve wanted to make a gnocchi recipe. I knew with the right combination of gluten-free flours I could achieve that dough-like pasta that is loved by many. I also knew it could be customizable based on your desired taste.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Two Ways

This dish was a huge hit. All of my trusty taste-testers requested seconds! I plan on making a spinach version, pumpkin, pesto, and so on one day!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Two Ways

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Without Ricotta

Sweet Potato gnocchi without ricotta

Easy Sweet Potato Gnocchi

5.0 rating
1 reviews

Sweet Potato Gnocchi



Prep Time 30 min
Cook Time 15 min
Total Time 45 minutes



Author: Lexi
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Ingredients

  • 3 cup sweet potato, peeled, boiled, and mashed
  • 2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/3 cup tapioca starch, more for dusting
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • Dash sea salt

Easy Tomato Sauce

Spinach and Butter Sauce

Directions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the mashed sweet potato, egg, sea salt, almond flour, tapioca flour, and coconut flour*
  2. The dough should be slightly sticky but not so sticky that you can't roll it into balls in your hand
  3. Lay a sheet of parchment paper down to work on and sprinkle it with tapioca or arrowroot starch, put some on your hand as well
  4. Roll the dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inches or so), and feel free to sprinkle with more tapioca flour as needed
  5. Roll it out into long logs and cut into desired gnocchi sizes
  6. Place your fork lightly into each piece to get an indent*
  7. Cover a medium pot with water and bring to a boil.
  8. Work in batches to drop pasta into the boiling water
  9. Your gnocchi is done cooking when they float to the top and stay there for 20 seconds or more
  10. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a dish
  11. For tomato sauce: In a skillet combine all ingredients- bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 7-10 minutes, pour over pasta and serve
  12. For spinach and butter sauce: In a skillet heat butter until it browns slightly- add in spinach, sea salt, and pepper and cook until spinach wilts, pour over pasta and serve

Recipe Notes

  • *Indents work better when the pasta is coated lightly with flour
  • *This recipe was updated as of 9/26/2017. We removed the coconut flour and added 1/4 cup of almond flour in the gnocchi and found it to be fluffier! Since so many of you love this recipe, we are putting these changes in the notes! Keep in mind that when removing the coconut flour, the dough will be a little harder to work with and you might need to use more tapioca starch when rolling the dough out!

Nutrition

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes. I was compensated  for the time spent developing this recipe. All opinions expressed on Lexi’s Clean Kitchen are always my own. My sponsors help make this blog possible!

What is your all-time favorite pasta dish?

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