Easy Baked Ziti Recipe

This easy meatless Ziti recipe is sure to knock your socks off! Or, you could always use a meat sauce with it, too. My mom and I adapted this recipe so that it’s easy to follow.

Preparation: 20-25 min

Cooking time: 35-45 minutes

Serves: 4 (main dish) or 8 (side dish)


Dishes and utensils needed:

  • Large pot (with lid) to cook pasta
  • Large non-stick frying pan (with lid) to cook onions, garlic, spices and sauce
  • 9 x 13 inch oven-safe casserole dish
  • Sharp knife or grater for cheese
  • Slotted spoon to keep pasta from sticking in pot and then to safely remove pasta from pot
  • Wooden spoon to stir frying pan ingredients
  • Colander for draining pasta
  • Timer
  • Pot holders or oven mitts



  • 1 pound penne or ziti pasta
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Dried rosemary, basil, and oregano to taste
  • Large jar pasta sauce (24 – 32 oz.)
  • 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated or sliced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Pinch of salt (for pasta)



  1. Prepare or chop all ingredients first (store on paper towels or small plates until needed):
    1. Chop 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
    2. Peel and chop 4 cloves of garlic
    3. Thinly slice or grate 1 lb. mozzarella cheese
    4. Grate 1 cup parmesan cheese
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil, with a little salt added for flavor
  4. Add the pasta and cook, uncovered. Set timer for cooking pasta to number of minutes for “al dente” doneness
  5. While the pasta cooks, get out a large frying pan
  6. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil into pan and turn stove on to medium-high heat
  7. When oil is hot, add your chopped onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent
  8. Add the chopped garlic and sprinkle in dried spices, stirring to combine
  9. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly
  10. Add the jar of pasta sauce to the frying pan, stir and cover
  11. Lower the heat and simmer while the pasta cooks, stirring occasionally
  12. If sauce thickens too much, add a little of the pasta water so it doesn’t stick to the frying pan
  13. When pasta is done, drain pasta in a colander, using the slotted spoon to lift pasta from pot to colander
  14. Empty the water from the pasta pot
  15. Return pasta to the pot, and toss with a little olive oil (this helps the sauce stick)
  16. Cover the pasta until you’re ready to add the sauce.
  17. When sauce and pasta are done, spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish
  18. Dot the sauce with half the mozzarella cheese
  19. Spoon most of the sauce into the pasta pot and stir to combine
  20. Add the pasta to the casserole dish (on top of the mozzarella cheese you just added)
  21. Spread the remaining sauce over the pasta in the casserole dish
  22. Add the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top
  23. Sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the mozzarella
  24. Bake in the oven 25-35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned
  25. Carefully remove from the oven and place on a cutting board or the stove-top
  26. Serve and enjoy

Ziti before going in the oven:


Ziti after coming out of the oven!

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I'm the co-founder of brainredemption.com. I live in Florida, and I sustained a brain injury in 2009.