Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reason #36: Vegetable Ziti Recipe & Boy Band

Last night I did not have much of a chance to post as I was swinging my hips and flailing my arms to the live music of my favorite Boy Band (aka my Boyfriend and Deeg) at a local bar last night. They are really good and would put the Jonas Brothers to shame. They have played in New York City and Hoboken, but we are all hoping they try out for American Idol play down the Jersey Shore this summer in Manasquan!

Anyway, I have been meaning to post a "Vegetable Ziti" recipe that I created a few weeks ago. Growing up I always craved my mother's ziti which was delicious and healthy (made with cottage cheese instead of ricotta). With a few vegetables in the fridgeto use up, I decided to recreate my own ziti, and it turned out to be a success......check out the recipe below!


8 oz. 100% Whole Wheat ziti
1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Canned or fresh mushrooms
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
16 oz container of low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley OR 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups tomato sauce* (or more)
Low-fat mozzerella
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the ziti al dente according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta, and set it aside.

Cut eggplant and zucchini into 1/2-inch slices and halve slices. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan bring 1/2 inch of water to boiling. Add eggplant and zucchini slices; simmer, covered, for 4 minutes. Remove vegetable slices from Dutch oven; drain and pat dry. In a bowl combine eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes.

In a large seperate bowl, combine the cottage cheese, the parsley, basil, oregano, and pepper flakes. Toss the cheese mixture with the ziti.

On the bottom of a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, add half the ziti mixture, then half the vegetable mix, then half the remaining tomato sauce. Repeat the ziti, vegetable, and sauce layers. Sprinkle parmesan and mozzerella if desired. Bake, uncovered, in 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

*If you do not have homemade tomato sauce handy, consider using a jarred tomato sauce no salt added. You can prepare this dish in advance until it is ready to bake.

The dish came out delicious but other add-in options could be:
2 green peppers, sliced
2-3 onions, sliced
3-5 diced carrots
Clove of garlic



  1. That is a recipe after my own heart!

  2. May I suggest that you post pictures of your delicious recipes?!

  3. Few Things ChiRed:
    1. First, while I do have the right camera, I cant find the cord to download my pics and apparently no stores carry it anymore!
    2. The vegetable ziti was ten times better than it looked.
    3. I get so hungry, I just dig in.
    4. Thanks for the suggestion - this will be a work in progress!