Meat Free Monday

For an alternative to spaghetti with meat sauce, try this baked ziti dish loaded with fresh vegetables. The recipe comes from the Mayo Clinic.

Ingredients 

  • 2/3 cup uncooked ziti (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) low-sodium tomatoes, drained (reserve 1/2 cup of the juice)
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Method

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray.

Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly.

In a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the reserved juice from the canned tomatoes. Stir in the carrots, broccoli and green pepper. Saute the vegetables until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and black pepper to the vegetable mixture. Cook over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the cooked vegetables to a large bowl. Add the cooked pasta and mozzarella cheese. Toss gently to mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil after 15 minutes.