Try this delicious Vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe

Greetings everyone! Allow me to introduce you to my latest creation in the kitchen – the Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe. This dish is not only easy to make, but it is also delicious and hearty, perfect for a family-style dinner or for meal prep throughout the week.

As a vegan chef, I am always exploring new ways to showcase the versatility of plant-based ingredients, and this meatless baked ziti recipe is no exception. It’s comforting, satisfying and has all the flavors you would expect from a classic Italian baked ziti recipe.

One great thing about this recipe is that you can easily make it vegan by swapping out the cheese ingredients. Instead of using ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, you can substitute them with cashew cheese or make vegan versions of these cheeses. That means anyone can enjoy this dish without compromising their dietary restrictions.

In this article, I will guide you through every step of the recipe, including all the key ingredients, variations and substitutions you can make, and how to serve and store your delicious vegetarian baked ziti so that it comes out perfectly every time. So let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vegetarian Baked Ziti
Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Dear food lovers,

Are you searching for the ultimate comfort dish that is not only meatless but also completely irresistible? Then look no further because I have got a mouth-watering recipe that will satisfy all your cravings – Vegetarian Baked Ziti!

This baked ziti recipe is an absolute crowd-pleaser. The combination of perfectly cooked ziti pasta and rich, gooey cheese layered with tangy tomato sauce and fragrant herbs creates a symphony of flavors that is hard to resist.

But why should you choose this vegetarian baked ziti recipe over others? Well, let me tell you why!

Firstly, it boasts a perfect ratio of sauce to pasta to cheese. I know many baked ziti recipes end up being either overly saucy or cheesy, but not this one. You will get just the right amount of creamy homemade ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese melted over the al dente pasta coated with a rich marinara sauce. Trust me, every bite will be heavenly!

Secondly, it’s versatile and easy to make substitutions so you can make it just as you like it. Whether you want to make it vegan by swapping out the cheese or add-in some roasted vegetables or bell peppers for added flavor and nutrition, this recipe can be easily adapted according to your preference.

Lastly (but certainly not least), this baked ziti is so easy to make! It doesn’t require any fancy steps or complicated techniques. So even if you’re pressed for time or not a professional cook, this meatless baked ziti will still turn out deliciously!

In conclusion, whether you are a meat lover or not, trust me when I say that this vegetarian baked ziti recipe is worth TRYING! So what are you waiting for? Give it a try today and enjoy the ooey-gooey goodness in every forkful!

Ingredient List

 Melting cheese on top of baked ziti is truly a delight for the senses.
Melting cheese on top of baked ziti is truly a delight for the senses.

Let’s Check Our Pantry!

Before we start, let’s make sure we have all the ingredients to make this Vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe. Don’t worry if you’re missing some items as substitutions are always available!

Here’s what we need:

  • 1 lb (454 g) ziti pasta
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups (300 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (80 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Parsley
  • Red pepper flakes

The sauce is composed of:

  • Marinara sauce or tomato sauce with a can of whole tomatoes
  • Ricotta cheese or substituting it entirely with mozzarella cheese to make it vegan

The Recipe How-To

 You can use any kind of pasta that strikes your fancy for this vegetarian baked ziti recipe.
You can use any kind of pasta that strikes your fancy for this vegetarian baked ziti recipe.

Now that you have all your ingredients, it’s time to cook! Follow these simple steps to make the perfect vegetarian baked ziti.

Step 1: Boil the Ziti Pasta

To start, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add 1 lb of ziti pasta and cook for about 8-10 minutes until al dente (cooked but still firm). Drain the pasta in a colander and set it aside.

Step 2: Make the Tomato Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, you can start preparing the tomato sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped, 1 diced onion, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Next, add 1 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce into the saucepan and stir until the mixture is heated through. Add 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Prepare the Cheese Mixture

In a bowl, combine 3 cups of ricotta cheese, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese with a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Step 4: Assemble the Baked Ziti

In a large baking dish (approximately 9×13 inches) spread some tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add half of your cooked pasta followed by half of your cheese mixture on top. Spread another layer of tomato sauce over the cheese mixture. Add remaining pasta, another layer of tomato sauce, and finish off with your remaining cheese mixture.

Step 5: Bake!

Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly in the center. If desired, sprinkle some extra shredded mozzarella on top during the last few minutes for ultimate gooeyness.

Congratulations! Your delicious vegetarian baked ziti is ready to serve!

Substitutions and Variations

 The aroma of fresh herbs, vegetables, and marinara sauce wafting through the kitchen will make your mouth water.
The aroma of fresh herbs, vegetables, and marinara sauce wafting through the kitchen will make your mouth water.

If you’re looking for ways to switch up the recipe, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try. Here are some ideas:

– Instead of using ziti pasta, you can use penne or rigatoni pasta. These types of pasta are similar in shape and size, so they’ll work well in the dish.

– If you want to make a vegan version of this dish, you can easily replace the cheese with a plant-based alternative. For example, you can make cashew cheese by blending soaked cashews with water and nutritional yeast until it’s smooth and creamy. Alternatively, you can use a vegan mozzarella cheese substitute.

– If you don’t have ricotta cheese on hand, you can use cottage cheese or mascarpone cheese as a substitute.

– You can add some roasted vegetables to the mix to give the dish more texture and flavor. Some examples include diced bell pepper, chopped small broccoli florets or bits of eggplant.

– If you want to make the recipe more spicy, add more red pepper flakes, black pepper, or fresh diced chilies.

– For those who enjoy creamier tomato sauce, create sauce with the addition of heavy cream or use Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce.

Whatever substitution or variation you choose, remember that baked ziti is an easy dish to make your own. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and combinations that appeal best to your palate!

Serving and Pairing

 The wonderfully gooey texture of mozzarella cheese is the perfect complement to the hearty pasta and vegetable filling.
The wonderfully gooey texture of mozzarella cheese is the perfect complement to the hearty pasta and vegetable filling.

Now that you’ve prepared your delicious vegetarian baked ziti, let’s talk about how to serve and pair it for maximum enjoyment.

First of all, this baked ziti is a meal in itself, so it doesn’t necessarily need any fancy sides or accompaniments. However, a simple green salad with a vinaigrette dressing can add a refreshing counterpoint to the warm and hearty dish.

When serving, I suggest scooping generous portions of the baked ziti into individual bowls or plates, making sure to get plenty of the sauce and melted cheese on each serving. Sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley on top for color and flavor enhancement.

This dish pairs beautifully with a chilled glass of red wine, such as Chianti or Barbera, that can complement the acidity and richness of the tomato-based sauce. If you prefer non-alcoholic beverages, consider sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime to cleanse the palate between bites.

For those who want to take indulgence up a notch, you could add some garlic bread or toasted baguette slices on the side to help scoop up the remaining sauce. Alternatively, roasted vegetables like bell pepper strips or zucchini rounds can add extra vitamins and fiber while still keeping the Italian-inspired theme.

Overall, serving and pairing vegetarian baked ziti is easy and flexible. Experiment with different options until you find your perfect combination. The goal is to make sure every bite satisfies your taste buds and leaves you feeling content and happy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 There's something magical about a dish that combines the flavors of tomato sauce, basil, and garlic into a savory sauce.
There’s something magical about a dish that combines the flavors of tomato sauce, basil, and garlic into a savory sauce.

The beauty of this vegetarian baked ziti recipe is its versatility when it comes to meal prep. You can make the dish ahead of time, and store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to heat it up and serve.

To make the dish ahead of time, follow the recipe instructions until you reach the baking step. Instead of baking, let the assembled dish cool and cover it with foil or plastic wrap. Then, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re ready to serve, remove from the fridge or freezer and preheat your oven to 375°F. If the dish is frozen, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Remove any plastic wrap or foil from the dish and cover it with a new layer of foil before placing it in the oven.

Bake covered for about 35-40 minutes if refrigerated or about 50-60 minutes if frozen. Remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown on top and heated throughout.

As with most pasta dishes, leftover vegetarian baked ziti also reheats nicely in the microwave. Simply place a portion of your leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water to prevent drying out while reheating, cover loosely with microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat for 1-2 minutes.

This recipe is perfect for meal prep as well as potluck dinners or large family gatherings where you need to prepare ahead of time. Plus, making this dish ahead can allow all those delicious flavors to meld together even more, leading to an even tastier meal!

Tips for Perfect Results

 This vegetarian version of baked ziti is just as satisfying
This vegetarian version of baked ziti is just as satisfying

When it comes to making a dish that you’re proud of, the little things can make a big difference. That’s why I want to share with you some tips and tricks for achieving the perfect vegetarian baked ziti.

Firstly, always make sure to cook your pasta to al dente, or slightly firm to the bite. This will prevent your pasta from becoming too mushy when baked in the oven with the sauce and cheese. Once the pasta is boiled, give it a quick rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking.

Another tip is to add roasted vegetables to your baked ziti. This not only adds extra flavor and nutrients, but also adds texture and visual appeal. You can roast vegetables such as bell pepper, onion, and garlic in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil until they’re tender and caramelized.

If you’re looking to make this dish vegan, instead of using ricotta cheese, a great substitute is cashew cheese. Simply blend cashews with water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth – you’ll get a creamy and cheesy sauce that’s perfect for layering in your baked ziti.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to experiment with variations and substitutions that suit your taste preferences. Whether it’s swapping ziti pasta for penne or rigatoni, trying a different type of cheese like parmesan or adding additional herbs like rosemary, the possibilities are endless.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to whip up an easy, meatlessbaked ziti that’s delicious every time.


As we approach the last section of this recipe article, it’s natural for some questions to arise. Below is a list of some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that may help you as you prepare to make this delicious vegetarian baked ziti. I’m here to provide you with all the information and support you need to ensure that your baked ziti turns out perfectly, so if you have any other questions that are not answered below, feel free to reach out and ask!

What is the best vegetable to serve with baked ziti?

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to complement your baked ziti, try making some roasted peppers and zucchini. Not only are these veggies readily available in most supermarkets, but they also bring different flavors and textures to the table that cannot be replaced by other ingredients. Zucchini adds a refreshing touch while roasted peppers create a unique flavor profile that enhances the overall taste of your dish.

What can I use instead of ricotta cheese in baked ziti?

When making baked ziti, there are a few options to consider when substituting ricotta cheese. Instead of using ricotta cheese, you may choose to use soft mozzarella, cottage cheese, cream cheese, or mascarpone cheese as an alternative ingredient.

Does baked ziti contain ricotta cheese?

Two popular Italian pasta dishes are baked ziti and lasagna, often featuring meat such as ground beef or sausage. Baked ziti is typically prepared with extruder-style pasta that is mixed with marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella before baking. On the other hand, lasagna is made by layering pasta sheets with sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella before being baked.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe is the perfect dish for those who want to indulge in comfort food while still maintaining a healthy, meatless diet. Its simple ingredients make it easy to prepare, and the versatility in substitutions and variations allows for customization to suit any taste or dietary restriction.

By using olive oil instead of butter and vegetable-based cheeses instead of dairy, you can easily make this dish vegan-friendly. And for those who prefer roasted vegetables over pasta, you can easily substitute zucchini or eggplant in place of the ziti.

But beyond its delicious taste and adaptability, this recipe offers more than just a satisfying meal. It provides an opportunity to embrace conscious eating habits that align with our values and beliefs. By choosing plant-based options like this Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe, we play an active role in making a positive impact on the environment and our own personal health.

So whether you’re a long-time vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more meatless options into your diet, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. The mouth-watering aroma and cheesy goodness of the baked ziti will leave you feeling satiated, while the overall experience will leave you feeling empowered and inspired to make conscious choices in both your cooking and consumption.

Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe

The sauteed onions and garlic are the key to making this dish so delicious. Feel free to add mushrooms or zucchini to the saute pan- just don't add any veggies directly to the baking pan without sauteeing them first or the flavor and texture will suffer.
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Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 large portions
Calories 936.8 kcal


  • 1 1 lb rigatoni pasta or 1 lb penne
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can whole tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh, shredded)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs


  • Cook the ziti to just before al dente.
  • Coat a 9'x12" baking dish with olive oil. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion until translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Don't let the garlic brown.
  • Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add to the skillet. Add in the juice from the can.
  • Cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl mix the ricotta and mozarella cheeses.
  • Add the parsley, basil, oregano, salt, red pepper, a few grinds of pepper, and mix.
  • Add the tomato-onion mixture and mix well.
  • When the ziti is drained add to the cheese mixture and toss well to coat the pasta.
  • Spoon the mixture into the baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese on top of the pasta.
  • Bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 417gCalories: 936.8kcalCarbohydrates: 102.1gProtein: 40.9gFat: 40.4gSaturated Fat: 17.2gCholesterol: 89.5mgSodium: 725.8mgFiber: 6.1gSugar: 7.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Cheese, Kosher, One-Dish Meal
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