Ziti is a common meal in our house. I’ve thrown it together many different ways but one of the ways we like best is with extra vegetables and using cottage cheese in place of the usual ricotta. Cottage cheese, though high in sodium, is lower in calories and fat than ricotta but can be used interchangeably in many recipes.
In this recipe, I added the cottage cheese in straight from the container, but if you prefer more of a ricotta texture you can put the cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and blend it until smooth. Another option for changing up this recipe if you so desire, you can oven roast the vegetables instead of sauteing them, which adds additional flavor. If you are in a hurry on a weeknight, just follow the steps below.
In a medium pot, boil water and add 1/2 a box (about 1/2 a lb of ziti). Cook for 12 minutes and drain out the water. Once this is done, if you are still waiting on the vegetables, add the pasta back into the pot with a little bit of oil to prevent the pasta from sticking as it cools.
While the pasta is cooking, dice 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, and 1/2 an onion. Add these to a large pot with a bit of oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the squash has softened. Once the pasta and veggies are done, combine everything in the large pot used for cooking the veggies. Add 16 oz of cottage cheese, 28 oz of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 a cup of mozzarella, 1/2 a cup of frozen chopped spinach, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast. Allow this to simmer for about 10 minutes in order for the spinach to defrost and combine.
Pour the ziti into a prepared 9×13 and sprinkle the top with about 1/2 a cup of mozzarella. Place in the oven at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. One additional note: with many of my recipes, you may notice I don’t often add salt in the recipe. We don’t use much salt because we are sharing with a 3 year old and I find that many ingredients have enough sodium on their own. However, if you prefer your pasta with a bit more salt, go for it! I almost always add pepper, but I do it on my own plate since my son doesn’t like much.
- 1/2 lb ziti
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1/2 an onion
- 1 tsp garlic
- olive oil
- 16 oz cottage cheese
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup mozzarella (divided)
- 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp parmesan
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- In a medium pot, boil water then add ziti. Cook for about 12 minutes until ziti is tender.
- Meanwhile, dice zucchini, yellow squash and 1/2 an onion. Place these in a large pot with a bit of olive oil and 1 tsp of garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes, until the squash has softened.
- Once the pasta and veggies are done combine everything in the large pot. Add 16 oz cottage cheese, 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp parmesan, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, until the spinach has defrosted.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of mozzarella on top. Place in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes.