5-Ingredient Baked Ziti

This simple Italian comfort casserole really is the perfect meal when you need something easy, healthy, and homemade that everyone will love. Easily customize it by using gluten-free pasta and adding some chopped veggies to the Baked Ziti with meat. 

Prep: 20 minsCook: 25 minsTotal: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings 1x


  • 12 ounces pasta of choice (use gluten-free, if needed)
  • ½ lb. bulk mild Italian sausage + ½ lb. lean ground beef (or, may use 1 lb. ground meat of choice)
  • 1 24-ounce jar Primal Kitchen marinara sauce 
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Optional for serving: Fresh basil and Parmesan cheese

Want more veggies? Add 3-4 cups of diced zucchini, diced onion, roughly chopped spinach, and/or chopped broccoli in Step 2 below. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mist a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray (or use two 9×9 baking dishes, if freezing one for later) and set aside. 
  2. To a skillet or saute pan over medium high heat, add ground beef and sausage. Cook until browned, using a spatula to break up the meat. If adding chopped vegetables, add them to the pan now with the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and the vegetables are tender. If needed, drain excess fat from the pan. 
  3. While the meat is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente (pasta should still be slightly firm or it will get too soft when baked – and cook it a little more al dente / more firm if you plan to freeze it). Drain the pasta and pour into the prepared 9×13 pan (or divide it among the two pans).
  4. Add the cooked meat, marinara sauce, 1 cup of the cheese, and the Italian seasoning to the pan (or pans) with the pasta. Stir gently until well incorporated. Sprinkle with remaining the remaining 1/2 cup cheese (or add more to your liking). If freezing one pan, see the freezing instructions below.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until hot and bubbly, and until the cheese on top is melted. 
  6. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: ⅛ recipe
  • Calories: 352
  • Fat: 12 g
  • (Sat Fat: 4 g)
  • Sodium: 485 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 38 g
  • (Fiber: 3 g
  • Sugar: 5 g)
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Cholesterol: 49 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

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