Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.~ John Muir~
Here’s a simple, no-boil, Mushroom Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Spinach that can be made in one pan and is vegan adaptable! It’s perfect for weeknights when time is short but you still want a hearty wholesome homemade meal. Tucked inside are heaping handfuls of spinach for added nutrients -of course feel free to substitute chard or kale.
What I love about this recipe is how adaptable it is! Keep it vegan, by using vegan herbed tofu ricotta, or “beef” it up by adding flavorful Italian sausage. Once you have the basic idea, the recipe can be adapted to your specific preferences. And let me tell you, the leftovers are amazing, so do yourself a favor and pack them up for midweek lunches.
Summer is officially over. I have to tell you…it’s been a very long time since I’ve had a summer with so much time to enjoy the outdoors. Since we decided to cut back with catering, we’ve had a luxurious amount of time to just be outside and bask in the sunshine. It’s good for the soul. We’ve done a lot of hiking and exploring in our area and it never ceases to amaze me, how one can discover something new, on the same path taken a hundred times before. You just have to have new eyes. It’s the same with people, and really now, I’m talking about spouses. We are so dynamic. Change occurs in us everyday. We don’t always notice this on the surface, but pay attention, and you’ll see. Or perhaps we rather not see. There is safety and comfort in the one we depend on, staying the same. I get it.
But how fun is that? Life becomes more of an adventure when let go and trust its whims.
And trust path of the people we are connected with. Lately I’ve been feeling very grateful for Brian, for being so incredibly different than me. I used to resist it. To fight against his timing, growth and perspective, and of course, I’m sure I will again. But today I see how he has helped me in a way, that nothing or no-one else could, in his own way, without him even being remotely conscious of it. A gift from the universe.
Back to the recipe. It’s a little hard to tell from the photo above but the left half of the pan is actually vegan – using vegan tofu ricotta, and the other half is loaded up with more cheese for my husband. He needs the calories, and I do not.
It starts with sautéing shallots, garlic and mushrooms in olive oil.
Add a couple heaping handfuls of greens. Here I’ve used spinach, but keep in mind, kale and chard work well too. Wilt.
Add the dry pasta.
Add 2 cups chicken or veggie stock.
Add one 24-25 ounce jar of your favorite marinara sauce. Of course you can use homemade if so inclined. I’ve discovered my own personal favorite store-bought marinara sauce, not the one pictured here, but actually Trader Joes Organic Marinara – it is surprisingly really flavorful! I keep a couple of jars on hand for emergencies.
So basically it will look like this. Top with dollops of ricotta.
On the left is the herbed tofu ricotta I keep telling you about which is so easy to make, it literally takes 5 minutes. I use it in vegan lasagna and cannelloni as well.
It really has a similar texture as you can see below on the left. Because its made with tofu instead of cashews, it’s a much lower calorie option.
Now at this point, I’ll add grated pecorino and mozzarella cheese mostly to Brian’s side.
The mozzarella gives it the melty stringy yumminess he loves.
Then into the oven it goes to bake. So simple and easy!
Mushroom Baked Ziti with Spinach and Ricotta ( or herbed tofu “ricotta”) – a hearty wholesome fall dish easily adaptable for vegans and meat-eaters alike!
No Boil Mushroom Baked Ziti
Mushroom Baked Ziti with Ricotta and Spinach – a one pot, no-boil recipe that is vegan adaptable! Perfect for weeknight dinners. | www.feastingathome.com
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: main
- Method: Vegan Adaptable
- Cuisine: Italian
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced ( see notes)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper
- 3 ounces baby spinach ( about 2 big handfuls) or chopped kale or chard
- 2 cups chicken stock or veggie broth
- 1 x 24-25 ounce jar marinara sauce- Trader joe’s organic brand is really tasty
- 8 ounces dry penne, or similar
- 8-10 tablespoons ricotta, or herbed tofu ricotta
- ¼ cup finely grated pecorino or parmesan ( optional)
- ¼-½ cup mozzarella ( optional)
- garnish with fresh basil or Italian parsley and optional chili flakes.
Preheat oven to 400 F
Heat oil over medium heat, add shallot, garlic and mushrooms and season generously with salt and pepper, cooking and stirring until mushrooms get golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add spinach and wilt, then add 2 cups stock, a jar of marinara sauce and the dry pasta ( about 2 ¾-3 cups dry). Stir, and bring to a simmer. Dot with dollops of ricotta. Sprinkle with optional mozzarella and pecorino. Cover well and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and let the cheese get a little golden for a couple minutes. If there seems to be too much liquid left in the pan, simply simmer uncovered on the stove top for 1-2 minutes until it evaporates.
Garnish with fresh herbs and chili flakes if you like.
Feel free to add or substitute the mushrooms with browned Italian sausage or turkey sausage.
You could also try adding soy sausage.