Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe

This Vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe, made with mushrooms, onions, and three cheeses, is a delicious dish that’s easy to make ahead.

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe with mushrooms and onions from shewearsmanyhats.com

Have you ever stopped to think about how many pasta shapes there are? Have you? Seriously. It’s kind of amazing. I did a quick google search and found that there are approximately 350 different type of pasta in the world. Surprising, isn’t it? Where are these 350 different types of pasta, anyway?

I didn’t consider all of the many pasta shapes until I needed a specific type. Recently I was running errands and only need a couple of ingredients so I popped into a small specialty grocer nearby to grab a bag of ziti pasta. Our daughter was having friends for the weekend and baked ziti was on the menu. It’s an easy dish to make ahead and it rewarms nicely. Plus one of her sweet friends is a vegetarian so I decided on a meatless version with sautéed mushroom and onions and three cheeses. Delicioso!

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe with mushrooms and onions from shewearsmanyhats.com

Okay, so back to the ziti pasta hunt. The specialty grocery store didn’t have any. It’s ziti, people? A basic pasta in what I would consider the world of pastas. They had all kinds of other pastas: the linguine, angel hair, fettuccine, and spaghetti, the farfalle and the farfalline, fusilli, orecchiette, pappardelle, manicotti, penne and penne rigate, rigatoni, rotini, even bucatini and cavatappi. And there were more. But no ziti. No ziti.

I could have used penne or penne rigate, but in that moment I became determined to find the ziti. So I left that specialty grocery store, which wasn’t so special any more, and headed to my regular grocery store, grabbed a bag and got to cooking.

Baked Ziti is easy to prepare and it’s perfect for serving a crowd or to freeze for later. Baked ziti is a fabulous dish to pack along for a potluck or to take to new parents in need of some extra meals. This vegetarian version has layers of marinara sauce, three cheeses, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and of course, ziti. A melange of cheesy goodness is what it is!

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe with mushrooms and onions from shewearsmanyhats.com

Vegetarian Baked Ziti Recipe

Layers of marinara sauce, three cheeses, sautéed mushrooms and onions, and ziti pasta come together to create a hearty side or main dish.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon butter, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced/chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces (weight) sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated/minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 pound uncooked ziti pasta
  • 32 ounces marinara sauce, warmed (homemade or store-bought works fine)
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan

Directions:

  1. Heat large skillet over medium, add butter and olive oil and heat to a shimmer. Add sliced onions , salt and pepper; saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms, continue to saute for another 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add a bit more butter if pan is dry. Add grated garlic, oregano and basil, stir for 1-2 minutes. Stir in red wine and let cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  3. Cook ziti according to package instructions. Drain.
  4. In a 9×13-inch 2-inch deep casserole/baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara in bottom, then layer* half of the ziti, onions and mushrooms, mozzarella, parmesan, all of the ricotta, sauce, repeat (except ricotta), ending with a generous layer of mozzarella and a sprinkling of parmesan.
  5. Bake in 350-degree F oven until cheese has melted, for about 20-30 minutes.

*The order of layering of it all doesn’t really matter. So don’t get hung up on it. Layer it how you prefer. I do like one single layer of ricotta in the middle.

Originally published October 18, 2015.