A New Baked Ziti

After a great “relocation” (aka vacation with kids), I am happily home and able to cook in my own kitchen again. Ahhh. Home. Don’t get me wrong. Dining in restaurants and frequent take out is fun from time to time. And also can be challenging to keep meals balanced and healthy.

Upon return I have decided to truly up the veggies in whole grains in my home. Let’s just say that yesterday was a fun cooking day for me. Vegan chill, homemade granola, and baked ziti.

Let me tell you something. This baked ziti rocked. Instead of sharing how my boys AND their friends ate every bite, I will just tell you what I made.

Baked Ziti
1 package of whole wheat elbows pasta
1 zucchini
1 head of broccoli
1-2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 a 15 oz container of part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tub of soft tofu
2 eggs
1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese (~ 2 cups)
1/2 jar of tomato sauce (Rao’s Marinara)
1 cup fresh baby spinach (optional)

Directions
Prepare pasta according to directions, minus 1-2 minutes for to pasta to be al dente. Wash and slice zucchini and broccoli and then place in a food processor to be shredded. Steam veggies for a few minutes until soft.

In a bowl scramble eggs, 1-2 tsp of minced garlic, and 1/2 container of ricotta cheese. Add in soft tofu. (I ended up eventually putting all into a food processor to make smooth.). Mix in almost the whole package of cheese.

Place pasta, cheese/tofu mixture, and steamed veggies into a baking dish. Mix together and stir in Mariana sauce evenly. Stir in fresh spinach (optional- and I did this on only 1/2 of the dish). Sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 50 mins at 350 degrees covered. Uncover and bake at 400 for 10 mins or until top is brown.

The whole family loved this dish. My husband and I had with a side of fresh spinach salad. My kids preferred the spinach-free version and I prepared steam broccoli and fresh cut avocados. As for the flavor of this dish? Flawless. You couldn’t taste the tofu. And since it bakes with red sauce, you cannot even tell or taste that whole wheat pasta was used.

This was a win. Oh vegetables we have missed you!

May you have enjoyed your vacation, relocation or winter break. And may this help inspire you to enhance some easy classics.

Peace and cheers,
Emma

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