Meatless Monday Recipe: Three Cheese Baked Ziti

Even though I was having a group of close friends over for a casual holiday dinner, the proper hostess in me never wishes to disappoint.

Being vegetarian, I sometimes struggle with what I can cook for guests that won’t leave feeling disappointed. I was looking for something warm and comforting to serve on a rainy December evening and immediately I thought about my grandmother’s baked ziti.

Not having the recipe, I began my Google search to find one that measured up. This led me to Three Cheese Baked Ziti featured on Can You Stay For Dinner?

Can You Stay For Dinner? is a site run by Andie Mitchell. As soon as I read Andie’s bio which details how she is a now-healthy 27-year-old woman who lost 135 pounds! Andie embodies all that Wellness Science stands for …. and my mission to help every woman look great, feel great, and live a happy life! Thanks for the delicious recipe, Andie.

This did NOT disappoint! It tasted EXACTLY like the one I remember my Italian grandmother making — and it was a healthy version at only 431 calories per serving.

Here is Andie’s recipe coming to you for Meatless Monday!

[gmc_recipe 2065]

For the homemade marinara:

Marinara Sauce

(makes about 4 cups)  Note: you will only use half of this amount to prepare the baked ziti recipe above!

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 28oz can crushed or ground, peeled tomatoes

1 5-6 oz can tomato paste

1 tablespoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan completely. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until browned. Lower the heat if they begin to burn. The more color that develops on the onion and garlic, the more flavor they’ll add to the finished sauce.

Once the onions and garlic are tender and caramel in color, add the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Add the remaining ingredients (oregano through pepper), stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the bottom does not burn.

Nutrition information for 1 serving of baked ziti:

Calories: 431, Fat: 12.9g, Cholesterol: 51.9mg, Sodium: 858.3mg, Carb: 56.1g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 0.2g, Protein: 22.7g