Meatless Baked Ziti

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Meatless Baked Ziti is an easy comfort food the whole family will love. It's a vegetarian version of the classic Italian dish that's filled with lots of cheese and ziti noodles!

vegetarian baked ziti after being baked in the oven.
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Why You'll Love It

  • Meatless Baked Ziti is a great recipe that's perfect for your next family gathering or pot luck supper. It's the best baked ziti to feed a large crowd!
  • If you need a baked pasta dish to take to a new mom or a friend in need, this is it!
  • This easy baked ziti recipe is one of those make ahead meals that makes your life easier. It freezes well too!
  • You can use your favorite marinara sauce or make your own. It's cheesy comfort food at its best.
  • Enjoy this meatless ziti, but you can certainly add ground beef or sliced pepperoni if desired.
  • It's a hearty dish that makes a complete meal. Ziti also tastes great with side dishes like Strawberry Pecan Salad and Heirloom Tomato Salad.
meatless baked ziti in an aluminum pan.

Ingredient Notes

Vegetarian Baked Ziti is an easy layered pasta dish using ingredients that are simple to find at your local grocery store. See recipe card for quantities.

  • ziti pasta - use your favorite brand, or substitute penne or another type of noodle
  • creamy ricotta cheese - whole milk ricotta is the best choice
  • parmesan cheese - shredded parmesan works great in this recipe
  • dried oregano or Italian seasoning - use the herb of your choice!
  • fresh basil - you can't go wrong with fresh basil
  • minced garlic - mince it or buy it already cut for you
  • large eggs - be sure to beat them before adding to cheese
  • spaghetti sauce - jarred sauce will do, or try canning your own tomato sauce
  • shredded mozzarella cheese - shred it by hand or use pre-shredded to save time

How to Make Meatless Baked Ziti

This meatless baked ziti recipe is a family favorite that's super easy to make! For best results, follow the directions below...

  • Boil ziti noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain pasta and cover until ready to assemble ziti.
  • Mix ricotta, parmesan, oregano, basil and garlic in a large bowl with 2 beaten eggs to create ricotta mixture.
  • In a large baking dish or aluminum pan, spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom to avoid sticking.
  • Begin layering noodles, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella and ricotta mixture. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan. Sprinkle with extra oregano.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cheese melts and forms a golden crust.
meatless baked ziti before going in the oven.

Serving and Freezing

Serve baked ziti with no meat alongside crusty bread and a beautiful rainbow salad.

It's also easy to prepare this dish and freeze for a later time. You can freeze each slice individually, or freeze it in an airtight container. When ready to serve, let thaw for 30 minutes out of the freezer, then bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

If making ahead, cover tightly with aluminum foil and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days before baking. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

aluminum pan filled with baked ziti.

Recipe FAQS

Can you use another type of pasta in this recipe?

Yes! If you like experimenting with different types of pasta, try unusual shapes like cavatappi, farfalle, fusilli, or penne.

Can ziti be made without eggs?

Absolutely! You can leave out the eggs altogether if you wish. Just mix the cheeses with the herbs and leave out the eggs.

What size pan do I need for this dish?

You need at least a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish, or a larger pan if you have it. I like to make this pasta dish in a large aluminum pan when I'm sharing it with friends.

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Sure! Some folks like to add Italian sausage, pepperoni, meat sauce or ground chicken to this dish. If you're looking for a fantastic pasta bake, try my recipe for Baked Ziti with Meatballs.

Expert Tips

  • Make sure you don't boil the pasta beyond the al dente stage since it cooks for additional time in the oven.
  • Keep the pasta warm until ready to assemble, but don't leave it sitting in hot water or it will get soggy.
  • Before you start layering items, organize your area. Line up everything in order so it will be faster to put together.
  • Cover all of the noodles with sauce before baking or they will turn out hard and crispy. To prevent this, wrap pan or baking dish with aluminum foil before putting in the oven. Uncover towards the end of cooking time to brown the top of cheese.
  • Even though the process is similar to making lasagna, the noodles absorb more sauce (especially if they have ridges).

Recipe Card

baked ziti on a colorful floral napkin

Meatless Baked Ziti

Meatless Baked Ziti is an easy comfort food the whole family will love. It's a vegetarian version of the classic Italian dish that's filled with lots of cheese and ziti noodles!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 572kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ziti pasta boiled and drained
  • 32 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic minced
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 45 oz. jar of pasta sauce
  • 16 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, boil ziti pasta until al dente. Drain and keep warm until ready to assemble.
  • Mix ricotta, parmesan, oregano, basil and garlic in a large bowl with 2 beaten eggs to create cheese mixture.
  • In a casserole dish (13 x 9 inch) or large aluminum pan, spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom to avoid sticking.
  • Alternate layers of noodles, sauce, shredded mozzarella, then cheese mixture. Repeat until you reach the top of the pan. Sprinkle top with extra oregano.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cheese melts and forms a golden crust.

Notes

  • Serve with a loaf of crusty garlic bread and a mixed green salad
  • Baked Ziti freezes well if it needs to be served at a later date. Freeze before baking.  When ready to serve, let thaw in refrigerator overnight.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 

Nutrition

Calories: 572kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Sodium: 1476mg | Potassium: 603mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 836mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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12 Comments

  1. Hey Debi I remember you making this recipe years ago. Might have been when we worked in kindergarten together! It was delicious then, can't imagine it any better but going to try it soon!!!

    1. Hi Pam! I have done it both ways. Freezing first, then baking afterwards works best. 350 degrees for 1 hour. Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. This looks so delish! Thanks for sharing the recipes. Going to make this soon.

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious! Prepared for Christmas dinner ahead of time and placed in the freezer. Baking time was longer than expected because I didn't remove the cover (plastics wrap and foil) from the dish while thawing. The dish was very moist and full of flavor. I used the Bertolli Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce as my sauce - great choice. Thanks Debi - we’re a few pounds heavier following this scrumptious dish but it was well worth it!

    1. Thanks Debbie! I appreciate the info on the cooking time after freezing. So glad you loved the ziti!

  4. 5 stars
    Debi's baked ziti is fabulous. It has just the right amount of yummy, cheesy, gooeyness. It is definitely enough for a large group so pull out the big pot for preparation. It's easily adapted for a family dinner as well.

    1. Thank you Pam! I loved that you mentioned how this Ziti is great for a large crowd. It's perfect for taking to a friend in need! 🙂

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