Easy Baked Ziti

True story: we made all of the food for the 150 guests at our DIY wedding!

The day before it was all hands on deck preparing 36 pounds of hummus, trays of pita chips, a bunch of mini quiches, and 12 hotel pans of baked ziti from 36 pounds of pasta! As well as a cheesecake bar!

For the day of, I hired a couple of students from my college’s foodservice program to man the kitchen and handed the ziti off to them halfway through my hair and make-up. It was a day to remember!

Baked ziti is a super easy meal to prepare, is great made ahead, and both reheats and freezes well. We ended up having lots of wedding leftovers which kept beautifully in the freezer!

This recipe is vegetarian but you could add a pound of cooked ground meat or sausage to the sauce. I also used 1 lb of mozzarella with about a cup of ricotta for this recipe but if you don’t have ricotta and have enough mozzarella, I’d bump it up to 1.5 lbs for max cheesiness!

Fueling notes:

  • This recipe makes about 8 servings
  • Per serving, this recipe packs 40 g of carbs, 10 g of protein, and 2 g of fat, and 3 g of fiber
  • Pre-workout: have at least 2 hours before your session to give you enough time to digest.
  • Post-workout: this recipe has the ideal 3-4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Have post-workout meal within 1-2 hours of your session.

The Stuff

  • 1 lb of ziti or penne
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2, 24-oz jars of tomato sauce (or you can make your own)
  • 1-1.5 lb of shredded mozzarella
  • Optional: small container of ricotta cheese

The Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Boil a pot of water with 1 teaspoon of salt
  3. If you’re making a homemade sauce, do this now
  4. If you’re going to include sausage or ground meat, brown it in a skillet and add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes
  5. Cook pasta until just before it is al dente (it will finish cooking in the oven)
  6. Take a 13×9 Pyrex and spoon enough sauce into it to lightly cover the bottom
  7. Add half of the pasta and cover with half of the sauce. Stir it slightly to make sure all the pasta is sauced up. If you’re using ricotta, add half of it to this layer in twelve to fifteen tablespoon size dollops. Then add half of the mozzarella
  8. Do the same for the top layer with the rest of the pasta, sauce, ricotta, and cheese
  9. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly

Did you make it? I’d love to see how it turned out! Tag @climbingdietitian on instagram.

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Published by Chiara

I’m a rock climber and registered dietitian teaching fellow climbers to become the strongest and happiest versions of themselves with evidence-based fueling strategies and by making peace with food.

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