Baked Ziti With Ground Beef , Zucchini and Fire Roasted Tomatoes is the ultimate no-fuss comfort food. This easy cheesy baked pasta casserole is simple for an easy weeknight dinner. Great for make ahead and freezes well.
I mean who doesn’t love a baked cheesy one pot pasta dish??? And a pasta casserole that that’s make-ahead and freezes well?
If you’re looking for baked ziti for a crowd, this is perfect for a pot luck, or to take to neighbor in need.
And if you’re looking for a baked ziti to freeze, this recipe works very well for a make-ahead freezer meal option.
This and my potato casserole recipe are my go-to recipes when the neighborhood comes together and creates a meal train to help someone who has had surgery or has had a death in the family.
Inspiration for Ground Beef Baked Ziti
This recipe is compliments of Muir Glen Tomato products. It’s an easy, no fuss version of baked ziti. The fire roasted tomatoes add a depth of flavor not available with regular tomatoes.
And adding zucchini gives it an extra kick of creaminess.
Since making this ground beef baked ziti, I’ve tried more complicated, fussy lasagna type versions of baked ziti with ricotta, and I must say, this simpler version is just as tasty.
And when I took it to a pot luck party at the office, one of my co-workers who doesn’t like ricotta, thanked me for making a baked ziti without ricotta. I guess some simply don’t like the texture of ricotta cheese.
Simply said, I like this baked ziti using mozzarella cheese. It makes this a sturdier and more flavorful end result.
Before Christmas I received an offer from Muir Glen to purchase a pack of their special reserve harvest tomatoes. It was only 7 bucks so I said “what the heck”. Plus, the shipment included a nice little cookbook.
Wanting to try the Fire Roasted Tomatoes first, I saw this easy baked ziti recipe, it sounded delicious. And it was.
I even made a special trip to Whole Foods for some good quality ziti. I have a pantry full of whole grain pastas just to stay on the healthier side, but for the first try of this recipe wanted the whole devilishly sinful effect.
Disclaimer: Muir Glen Tomatoes doesn’t even know I’m alive. I’ve not been compensated or provided product from the company. I just happen to love their fire roasted tomatoes and this recipe.
Baked Ziti Ingredients
- Baked Ziti Cheese: The only cheese you’ll find in this recipe is mozzarella cheese. Creamy, salty, traditional, wonderful mozzarella.
- Baked Ziti Meat sauce:
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes, The Muir Glen Tomatoes are fire roasted over an open flame to accentuate their sweet flavor. They add a depth of flavor that makes this recipe even more special.
- Extra Lean Ground Beef, using ground beef rather than a stronger flavored Italian Sausage, lets the other ingredients shine.
- Zucchini, brings a creamy texture to the sauce. It’s a must, so don’t omit.
- Onion, Use sweet onion for this baked ziti recipe. It will compliment the mild flavors in this recipe. A yellow onion would be your 2nd choice.
- Tomato Sauce: Adds another layer of beautiful tomato flavor to the sauce.
- Oregano and Garlic: You simply can’t make baked ziti with ground beef without oregano and garlic.
Baked Ziti with Zucchini
Aren’t we all looking for ways to use zucchini once those crops come in each Summer? This baked ziti with zucchini will most certainly help that cause. The zucchini adds a creamy texture to the end result.
I was a little leery that this might taste too tomatoey because it had one can of tomatoes plus one full can of tomato sauce. I was wrong.
This recipe is delicious and the mild. The sweet flavor of those fire roasted tomatoes mixed in with all that mozzarella cheese, ground beef and zucchini makes this a scrumptious pasta dish.
Just serve with your favorite green salad and you’ve got a wonderful meal that you could even serve to guests at a dinner party.
I made absolutely no changes to this recipe from Muir Glen, except for using my Dutch oven on the stove top, so I could easily transfer the meal to the oven. So, without any further ado:
Recipe for Baked Ziti with Ground Beef, Zucchini and Fire Roasted Tomatoes
I hope you give this easy baked pasta casserole a try and if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating. Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes.
And if you have a favorite baked ziti casserole recipe, let me know, I’d love to give it a try.
More Italian Pasta Recipes
- Italian Sausage Ricotta Pasta Sauce, This is a recipe for ricotta pasta sauce made with nothing more than ricotta cheese, Italian Sausage and tomatoes. Served over Pappardelle pasta.
- Pasta with Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Slow roasting cherry tomatoes bring a unique caramelized flavor to this pasta recipe. Creamy, sweet and savory, this easy pasta dinner is addicting in flavor.
- Chicken Spinach Lasagna Rolls, These Chicken Spinach Lasagna Rolls offer a lighter version of this Italian classic and a unique way to serve lasagna for entertaining.
- Cheesy Pork Stuffed Jumbo Shells, A wonderful Italian comfort food casserole. Feeds a crowd, can be prepared in advance, great for the next time you’re having guests for dinner.
And if you’re looking for more pasta recipes, don’t miss my pasta recipes category. You’ll find lots of great pasta ideas including the most popular pasta recipe on my site for Spicy Creamy Shrimp Pasta.
Baked Ziti with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 1/2 cups ziti pasta 8 oz, uncooked
- 1/2 pound extra-lean ground beef at least 90%
- 1 cup sweet onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini cut in half lengthwise, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 15 ounce tomato sauce canned
- 14.5 ounce Fire roasted tomatoes diced and drained
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt kosher or sea
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 3 oz
- Heat oven to 375°F. Cook and drain pasta as directed on box.
- Meanwhile, spray 12×8-inch (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat, stirring frequently, until beef is thoroughly cooked.
- Stir zucchini into beef mixture; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling. Add drained pasta; toss to coat. Spread in baking dish.
- Cover dish tightly with foil; bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
- High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Increase covered bake time to 30 minutes.
- Substitution: If you like, use ground turkey or chicken in place of the ground beef. Substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano for fresh.
Baked Ziti Recipe With Ground Beef …It’s What’s For Dinner.