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Baked Ziti Vegetariana

This recipe for cheese ziti is the best Italian baked ziti recipe. It's a real crowd-pleaser. Get rid of the meat without sacrificing flavor.

Ingredients
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 14 1/2 ounces can whole tomatoes, crushed, undrained
  • 8 ounces can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 10 ounces package chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 8 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs (or substitute), lightly beaten
  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti pasta
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Instructions

1. Cook pasta per package directions.

2. In a medium saucepan, saute peppers, mushrooms, onion, and garlic in hot oil until tender.

3. Add the next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, spray a 11x9x2-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

5. Combine spinach, ricotta, and egg, and set aside.

6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

7. After ziti is cooked and drained, combine ziti with sauce. Fold in ricotta mixture.

8. Spoon half of mixture into baking dish, top with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese, spoon remaining half of ziti into baking dish, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

9. Bake for 30 minutes.

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I do like baked ziti, but I have never eaten a version that was vegetarian. Since I like vegetables, I would be interested in trying this. Eating less meat is always a healthier option, along with eating more vegetables. I love to eat pasta so this would probably make a really nice dinner.

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