Three cheese pasta and vegetable casserole


This twist on baked ziti captures the calming appeal of the classic in a better way. It’s made of whole wheat pasta (though regular pasta would be fine if you prefer), wrapped with vegetables – sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, and sundried tomatoes – and cheesy and creamy with a healthier than typical balance of partial skim ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan .

Active time: 35 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Storage information: Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.



Tested size: 8-10 servings

  • 1 pound of whole grain or regular penne pasta or other tubular pasta

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for brushing the pan

  • 1 pound Baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced

  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 (16-ounce) bag of frozen broccoli, thawed (can be replaced with 5 cups of blanched freshly chopped broccoli)

  • 7 sun-dried tomatoes soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained and thinly sliced ​​(about 1/3 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (16-ounce) container of partially-skimmed ricotta cheese

  • 4 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated, partially-skimmed mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 ounce) grated parmesan cheese

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving (optional)


Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the instructions on the package say. Drain the pasta and put it back in the saucepan.

Meanwhile, place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 375 degrees. Brush a 9 by 13 inch ovenproof dish with oil.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and they start to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until flavorful, another 2 minutes. Add broccoli, sundried tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper and stir.

Add the cooked vegetables, ricotta and marinara to the drained pasta in the saucepan and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared form and distribute it evenly. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and parmesan and cover the pan loosely with foil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe source

By cookbook author and registered nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

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