Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

How do you make a classic Italian dish healthier?  Take out half the cheese and add a ton of veggies!

I love this dish and it’s most affordable in the summer time when the produce is plentiful.  It makes me feel accomplished when I make a dish that is full of nutrition that people enjoy too.  I feel like it’s a nice slap in the face to pizza or cheeseburgers and it does a lot more good for the bodies of the people you love!

 

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies– slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Serves: 4-5

6 oz. uncooked whole wheat ziti noodles

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium sized eggplant, chopped

1 medium sized zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup chopped white onion

2 cups chopped tomato

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil

2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

3/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

3-4 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Cooking spray

 

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to the pan.  Add squash, zucchini and onion, saute 5 minutes.  Add tomato and garlic, saute 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.
  4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg.  Stir into pasta mixture.  Spoon into a 13×9 baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned.
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