Baked ziti is one of my kids’ all-time favorite meals. There’s something about the combination of pasta, beef, and melty cheese that he just loves. Chances are good that when your family tastes this meal, they’ll love it too. It has all the features that make it the perfect comfort food dish.
Something that’s even better about baked ziti is that it’s big on taste but short on prep time. You won’t spend hours in the kitchen making this meal. You’ll not only love the taste, but you’ll love that you don’t have to spend a long time cooking.
Baked Ziti with Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a natural choice for Italian-style meals like this mushroom beef baked ziti. If you want to and you think your family would like it, you could add a can of sliced mushrooms or some fresh mushrooms. But if you follow the recipe to the letter, you get the slight taste of the mushrooms from the pasta sauce.
The recipe also calls for ground beef, which makes this dish even more hearty and delicious. When you sauté the beef with onions and garlic, it makes the meat flavorful and fragrant. Add it to the pasta and the jarred sauce, then top it with cheese before throwing it into the oven to cook.
This meal comes out of the oven ready to eat. Your family will be smelling the garlic and the cheese melting and they’ll be looking forward to digging into the food. You’ll be the hero that serves up a tasty meal and only you have to know how easy it was!
Easy Baked Ziti
While this meal is super yummy just as it is, it’s also easily changed to accommodate several different dietary needs. You can make it vegetarian if you use meatless crumbles, like Morningstar Farms or Boca. Perfect for “meatless Mondays” if you try to eat fewer meals with meat.
You can also make this gluten-free pretty easily. Use gluten-free noodles instead of regular wheat noodles. It still turns out equally well with gluten-free noodles, but be aware that sometimes the leftovers don’t reheat as well as with regular noodles.
Who doesn’t like more cheese? You can add even more cheese to make this recipe even better. Stir in some ricotta or add some asiago for a more Italian flavor.
Don’t have any ziti noodles on hand? This recipe works with any other shape of noodles as well. Penne, rigatoni, or even rotini also holds up well with the meat and cheese.
If you want your kids to eat more vegetables but they aren’t big fans, this recipe allows you to sneak in some veggies without them being noticed. A small package of chopped spinach or some shredded zucchini ups the vegetable content without substantially changing the flavor.
You can even make this recipe in an Instant Pot, too. Who isn’t looking for more Instant Pot recipes? It makes the recipe come together even more quickly, which means less time in the kitchen for you. It’s a win-win!
If you want to make it in your Instant Pot, sauté the meat with the onions and garlic. Add the sauce and pasta and bring it to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes, then top with the cheeses.
Of course, even though you can make it in the Instant Pot, this recipe still really turns out better when you bake it in the oven. Baking it allows the cheeses to brown up and creates a deliciously crunchy layer of cheese on top.Print
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 24 ounces (1 jar) Italian-style pasta sauce with mushrooms
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 5 cups ziti pasta, Cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook the beef, onion, garlic and salt in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until the beef is well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Drain any fat.
3. Stir the sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and pasta in the saucepan.
4. Spoon the mixture into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 30 Minutes
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: baked ziti with mushrooms, easy baked ziti
The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/nanjan.