dinner · entree · pasta

Healthy Baked Ziti

I was greeted by an empty pasta aisle at the grocery store the other day.

Macaroni, spaghetti, egg noodles, you name it…they were all gone. Not a pasta box or bag in sight.

A few steps to the right and I found the cast-offs no one wanted: spinach pasta, whole wheat penne, and lentil pasta.

I grabbed the whole wheat penne and went about my day. But the question remains: where has all the pasta gone?

I get supply shortages and all that jazz, but PASTA?! I’m living smack dab in the middle of wheat country, how could that possibly be in short supply??

I can work with whole wheat pasta. It’s got a grassy taste, but if you doctor it up enough, it tastes as good as normal pasta.

I made my husband a healthified version of baked ziti (and with penne, since ziti was nowhere to be found) for his lunches this week and it turned out pretty good. I used frozen chopped kale in the sauce to get some veggies in there. The frozen kale is perfect because it’s chopped so fine. You do need to watch out for big stem pieces, though, and pick those out if you don’t like them.

This turned into a delicious mistake, no ziti needed.


Healthy Baked Ziti

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Baked ziti made healthier with whole wheat pasta, ground turkey, and chopped kale.


  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 package frozen chopped kale
  • 1 (16 oz) jar marinara pasta sauce
  • 1 lb. whole wheat ziti or penne
  • 1 cup Italian-style cheese (blend of Romano, parmesan, asiago), shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Directions

    1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add turkey, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and onion powder. Cook until browned, about 5-6 minutes.
    2. Stir in frozen chopped kale, marinara, and remaining teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
    3. Cook pasta according to package instructions and drain.
    4. In a greased, large 13×9″ baking dish, add a spoonful of the sauce to the bottom. Add half of the pasta on top of that, then half of the sauce, then half of the Italian cheese. Repeat for one more layer, topping with mozzarella cheese.
    5. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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