I posted this macro friendly baked ziti on my Instagram page a couple of times and I got a lot of requests for the recipe. Baked ziti can be full of fat and empty carbs so I wanted to find a way to lighten it up a bit. This recipe for baked ziti is a healthier version of the usual favorite filled with tons of protein and made with chickpea pasta.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it makes 6 servings so it’s a great dish to use for meal prep or for a big family dinner. My husband loved it and if you have little ones, I’m sure it would please their pasta loving palates as well. Who doesn’t love a delicious bowl full of pasta?……I’ll wait here while you try to find someone…….Exactly.
Healthy Baked Ziti Ingredients
You don’t need too many things to make this recipe and some things are easily substituted making this even easier. Here’s what you will need:
- Ziti noodles – I use chickpea pasta from Banza Pasta. It’s my favorite way to increase the protein in my pasta dishes and keep them gluten-free. I buy my chickpea pasta at Sprouts or Target. I’ve even recently found it at my local Costco. Feel free to use your favorite noodles.
- Ground turkey or ground beef – For beef, I like to use 96/4 or 90/10 but you can play around with the type you prefer.
- Cottage cheese – Ok hear me out, I know you typically don’t see cottage cheese in baked ziti but it provides a good lean source of creaminess and protein to the meal. If you prefer ricotta you absolutely can and it tastes just as good!
- Shredded mozarella
- Your favorite marinara – I love the roasted garlic marinara from Primal Kitchen Foods !
- Some basic seasonings and spices
How To Prepare Baked Ziti
To make this recipe you’ll start by cooking the pasta according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking you can get started on the ground beef. Once your hot ingredients are prepared it’s just a matter of mixing everything else together. Add the noodles, ground beef, mozzarella, cottage cheese, marinara and egg in a large mixing bowl and set aside. From there, you’ll want to add some marinara to the bottom of a 9×11 casserole dish then layer with the ziti mixture.
I like to top the ziti with a little more mozzarella before popping it in the oven. In about 25 minutes you will have a nice cheesy bubbly delicious meal. I also like to broil the casserole for a couple minutes to get the cheese on top nice and crispy.
You can serve this all on it’s own or with a side salad to add in some veggies. I have also thrown in some chopped spinach or zucchini to this baked ziti and it works perfectly!
Other pasta dishes you’ll love:Print
This recipe for a healthy baked ziti is the perfect comforting weeknight meal and also works great for meal prep. It’s macro friendly, gluten free and so delicious!
- 1 box ziti pasta noodles (8 oz total)
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beed (96/4)
- 3 cups marinara sauce, divided (I love the Roasted Garlic from Primal Kitchen Foods )
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 4 oz park-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add garlic and saute for about 1 minute
- Add ground beef and seasonings to skillet and cook until done, breaking into crumbles
- Pre-heat oven to 375 and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray
- In a large mixing bowl add ground beef, pasta, 2 cups marinara, half of the mozzarella, cottage cheese and egg.
- Add 1/2 cup of marinara to the bottom of the casserole dish and spread with a spoon. Then top with contents of the mixing bowl
- Top with another 1/2 cup of marinara and remaining cheese
- Bake for 25 minutes (I placed in the broiler for about 1-2 minutes after baking as well)
- Divide into 6 servings and top with fresh basil
Nutrition facts are for ingredients and amounts as listed in recipe
- Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
- Calories: 422
- Fat: 17
- Carbohydrates: 30
- Fiber: 4.3
- Protein: 40.2