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Baked Ziti With Spinach

  • 4 oz dry whole wheat ziti (or penne) pasta

  • 2 tsp. olive oil

  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped

  • 1 (10-oz.) bag raw spinach

  • 1½ cups whole peeled tomatoes (like San Marzano or Cento) crushed or pureed in blender or food processor.

  • ¼ cup finely chopped basil leaves

  • ½ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)

  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper

  • 1 dash crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • ¾ cup part-skim Mozzarella cheese divided use

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 375º F.

  3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  4. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.

  5. Add spinach, tomatoes, and basil. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes.

  6. Combine spinach mixture, pasta, red pepper flakes (if desired), ½ cup mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and ricotta cheese in a large bowl; mix well.

  7. Place in a 2½ to 3-quart casserole that is lightly coated with spray. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 35 minutes. Remove foil.

  8. Top evenly with remaining ¼ cup mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

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