I make it lighter and gluten free for my clients and my family. I bump up the vegetables (adding in a few they won’t even notice like finely chopped mushrooms and spinach), cut back on the meat to only 1/2 lb for the entire recipe (which serves 4-8), switched to lean chicken sausage, cut back on the cheese and substitute whole grain quinoa pasta for additional fiber, protein and to keep it filling, satisfying and delicious!
Watch the video here.
Healthified Baked Ziti
Serves 4-8 (my family gets 8 servings out of this)
2 tsp healthy oil/fat of your choice
8 oz chicken sausage (organic and no sugar or chemical ingredients – just meat and seasonings) removed from casings if necessary
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1-2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 pinches Kosher/sea salt
1/4 cup red wine
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
8 oz quinoa or gluten free pasta
1/2 cup low fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh basil, optional
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Get a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While the pasta cooks (cook according to package directions and drain) make the sauce. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, when hot add oil, swirl to coat. Add the meat, vegetables and seasonings, stir to break up the meat. Cook until nice and browned, about 8-10 minutes. When the vegetables and meat are brown stir in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, cook about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and stir in the tomatoes. Simmer while your pasta finishes cooking. Combine the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses in a bowl. Combine the cooked and drained pasta with the sauce, pour into a baking dish. Top with little dollops, spread evenly around the dish, of the ricotta/mozzarella combination. Using a spoon swirl each dollop down into the pasta dish. Don’t mix entirely in (when cooked this gives little “rivers” of bubbly warm cheese in every bite!) Top with the Parmesan and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Top with basil before serving if you wish. Enjoy!
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