So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
There is more to this pasta dish than meets the eye. This zucchini ziti is not meatless. You can choose ground beef or turkey – or even ground deer. The American diet is overloaded with sugars and simple carbs and, worst of all, it’s lacking in ample quantities of veggies. We are the most healthy when we eat foods close to the way God created them, adding in more vegetables to our meals whenever possible. Zucchini is the health star of this dish!
Why Zucchini is a Health Star
Zucchini is high in fiber and water, has zero harmful fats, and is loaded with essential nutrients: vitamin B6, C, K, riboflavin, folate, and minerals (like manganese and potassium). Nutrient-dense zucchini contains antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. It really should be a regular part of our meals – to as much of a degree as possible. Read nine reasons to eat more zucchini here.
If you are familiar with auto-immunity, you may know of the need to stick with grass-fed beef sources. I won’t go into all the gory details of my early stages of a healthful journey, but last February, I wanted a bowl of chili so badly! Can you imagine no chili during our coldest months since Christmas? My diet consisted of mostly raw foods. And definitely no dried beans yet. Hence the no chili (sigh).
At some point last spring, my cousin shared this new recipe she found on-line that she thought I could adapt easily. She had made the recipe and liked it very much! Somehow, this baked ziti was a nice substitution for the chili I was craving. Seems strange, I know.
It was so satisfying to eat cooked food again. And, the process of cooking something my husband and I both could eat was therapeutic and celebratory. Woo-hoo!
For the original recipe, visit Betty Crocker here.
My substitutions were the type of meat (grass-fed beef or ground turkey or ground deer), noodles (to gluten-free), and cheese (to goat). Also, I use any brand of organic canned tomatoes.
Here’s the printable recipe with my changes. 🙂
Baked Zucchini Ziti
A healthful, gluten-free pasta dish that your family will love! (Can also be made with no dairy.)
- 8 oz rice pasta (can use any other gluten free)
- 1/2 lb very lean ground grass-fed beef (can also use ground turkey or deer meat)
- 1 lg sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 med zucchini
- 1 14.5-oz can organic tomato sauce
- 1 14.5-oz can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes (I find it's best to not drain tomatoes. The extra liquid is nice while baking.)
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 oz soft goat cheese can use crumbled goat feta
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 12 x 8 baking dish with coconut oil
Cook and drain pasta per package directions. For rice pasta, I've found it holds the texture better if you slightly under-cook it rather than over-cooking it.
In a large sauce pan, saute onions 2-3 minutes, adding garlic for final minute. Add meat, break into smaller pieces, and cook until no longer pink. Drain grease from meat mixture.
Slice zucchini down the middle and then slice across halves with 1/2-inch cuts. Add to meat mixture. Cook 2 minutes.
Stir in tomato sauce and fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Add drained pasta and heat all together and return to a simmer - but not for long. Immediately move ingredients to the baking dish, spreading everything out evenly.
If using goat feta, sprinkle over top of ziti. If using solid-pack soft goat cheese, heat in small sauce pan over low heat and stir continually until runny enough to pour (only takes a couple minutes). Pour evenly over ziti.
Cover dish and bake in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. After removing from oven, top with more cheese if desired.
Garnish with extra salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh or dried parsley to taste for a kick of extra goodness (nutritionally and visually). Serve and enjoy!
I recommend serving this pasta with a side salad. We need all the healthy veggies we can get! 🙂So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) Restore your temple for the glory of God in every season! Click To Tweet
Will you add this healthy main dish to your list of recipes to try? Happy weekend!
Because He lives~