This healthy baked ziti is made with whole wheat pasta, plenty of vegetables, and a homemade protein-packed pasta sauce! Give this one a try when you’re looking for lightened-up comfort food.

healthy baked ziti
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I love baked ziti, and I make this 5 ingredient baked ziti quite often. But I started thinking about how to make a version that is a little bit healthier, has a little extra protein, and sneaks in additional vegetables. I used my tofu pasta sauce as the inspiration since that’s an easy way to add in some plant-based protein. It also helped replace the creaminess of ricotta, without needing to add additional cheese. By using whole wheat pasta or chickpea noodles, we can add additional protein and fiber. Then I tossed in spinach and grated zucchini to add veggies to this dish without much extra work!

Alex and I loved this one, and it will definitely be in our regular dinner rotation! This easy baked ziti recipe a great easy weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy. Who doesn’t love cheesy pasta? If you’re looking for other tasty baked pasta recipes, try my Greek pasta bake, this no-boil baked ziti, and this vegetarian pasta bake.

ziti ingredients

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Pasta– I recommend using whole wheat pasta or chickpea pasta to add extra fiber and protein to this dish, but you can use any kind you like. The pasta shape doesn’t have to be ziti. Penne or rigatoni can be used instead.
  • Tofu– Silken tofu helps create a rich and creamy texture, replacing ricotta cheese. It adds a rich thickness to the sauce without the need for dairy. Be sure to use silken tofu, not firm tofu. If you don’t like tofu, try my cottage cheese pasta sauce instead! It’s rich and creamy and high in protein.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes– Sun-dried tomatoes contribute a deep and intense flavor to the sauce. They are dried tomatoes that have a concentrated, sweet, and slightly tangy taste, which enhances the overall richness of the dish. Be sure to use the kind that are packed in oil for the best flavor.
  • Italian Seasoning– This is a blend of herbs that typically includes basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can use a combination of the individual herbs mentioned.
  • Pasta Sauce- Adding your favorite pasta sauce adds a little extra flavor. You can use any kind of marinara sauce or canned tomatoes. Just keep in mind that canned tomatoes won’t have quite as much flavor. I love Rao’s tomato basil sauce.
  • Spinach– Adding fresh spinach is an easy way to sneak in greens. If you want to hide the spinach for picky eaters, you can chop it up finely before mixing it in. If you don’t have any spinach on hand, you can leave it out.
  • Zucchini– Grated zucchini adds extra veggies and a little moisture to the dish. You can swap it for grated yellow squash, if you prefer.
  • Cheese- I used part-skim mozzarella cheese on top, but you can substitute for vegan cheese if you prefer. I also like to add a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top, but it’s optional.

How to Make Healthy Baked Ziti