Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti

I have a big tray of delicious noodles coming atcha’ bright and early this monday morning!

Because can you think of a better way to start the week than with this balsamic roasted vegetable baked ziti?!

This balsamic roasted vegetable baked ziti is a lighter spin on classic comfort food! Packed with plenty of honey balsamic roasted veggies & whole wheat pasta!

I think not friends, I think not.

So. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (because I like to repeat myself & tell stories over and over!), but I absolutely consider Italian food celebration food. Which is probably due to that whole big Italian family thing.

{Have I told you about how at thanksgiving growing up we never even bothered to make turkey? Just various traditional thanksgiving side dishes and then my grandma’s awesome Italian food. The first time I had thanksgiving with my husband’s family I thought it was strange – where’s the chicken cacciatore???}

ANYWAY. I’m getting off topic. I created today’s recipe with valentine’s day in mind – because, you know, celebration food! Especially for those of you who are like me and would much rather stay at home than eat out with some meh prix fixe menu. Nooo, thank you.

So, we have some whole wheat pasta. We have a ton of veggies roasted with honey and balsamic vinegar. It all gets mixed together with a super simple homemade “sauce,” and is then baked off to cheesy perfection. ♡

This balsamic roasted vegetable baked ziti is a lighter spin on classic comfort food! Packed with plenty of honey balsamic roasted veggies & whole wheat pasta!

Now, let’s get to a few tips & tricks for the recipe.

  1. After the pasta is baked off, it gets drizzled with some balsamic glaze just before serving. Now, you don’t HAVE to do this, but I think it really reinforces that awesome balsamic flavor. Otherwise I’d say it’s just lightly there.
  2. The walnuts! I know it may seem a little strange, but oh do they add the perfect bit of crunch to the dish. {Yes, I am obsessed with texture.}
  3. I’d encourage you to shred the cheese yourself – it just melts so much better than the pre-shredded stuff.
  4. Baked pastas like this tend to freeze well, although I haven’t tried it specifically with this dish. Please share if you do give this a try!

This pasta with a fantastic salad and a glass of wine? It’s a happy valentine’s day indeed.

This balsamic roasted vegetable baked ziti is a lighter spin on classic comfort food! Packed with plenty of honey balsamic roasted veggies & whole wheat pasta!

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti

Prep Time:20 minutes

Cook Time:40 minutes

Total Time:1 hour

This balsamic roasted vegetable baked ziti is a lighter spin on classic comfort food! Packed with plenty of honey balsamic roasted veggies & whole wheat pasta!

Ingredients:

For the veggies:

  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise then sliced
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the pasta:

  • 12 ounces uncooked whole wheat penne
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes with basil (or regular)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish
  • balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

For the veggies:

  1. To a large rimmed baking sheet, add the onion, garlic, pepper, zucchini and broccoli. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, vinegar and salt. Drizzle the mixture over the veggies and toss to combine. Spread in an even layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender and starting to brown.
  2. Remove from the oven and add to a large bowl. Maintain the oven temperature.

For the pasta:

  1. While the veggies are roasting, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and add to the large bowl, along with the crushed tomatoes, the salt, red pepper flakes and ½ cup of the mozzarella. Mix to combine. Season with additional salt / red pepper flakes to taste.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish, then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and the chopped walnuts. Bake uncovered for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Garnish with the fresh basil or parsley, then drizzle lightly with some balsamic glaze.

Cook Nourish Bliss