Not-Even-Close-To-Paleo-Friendly Meals: Baked Ziti

As you can tell by the title, this is the least Paleo-friendly dish EVER – but it’s a fantastic dish to whip up for a group of people. And who doesn’t love cheese? 🙂 
DSCF1267Every time my mom has a potluck at work or we need to prepare for an impromptu family gathering, this recipe is my go to because it is quick and easy. Let’s get to it:DSCF1214Gather your ingredients: ziti noodles, pasta sauce, olive oil, whole milk ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and cheesy garlic bread – because what’s a nice plate of pasta without more carby deliciousness? 🙂 If you feel like getting really fancy, add some asiago cheese to the mix. It adds a nice bite because of it’s sharpness.
DSCF1225Add water, olive oil, and salt to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cook your pasta, stirring occasionally, according to the box directions.DSCF1228Drain pasta, and reserve one cup of the pasta water.
DSCF1232 Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and add the reserved pasta water. Toss. This will keep the pasta from sticking together. DSCF1236In a large baking dish, pour in some sauce. (If you’d like to make your own sauce, try this one. It’s delicious!)
DSCF1237Spoon in some ricotta cheese and combine with the sauce. Yes, that is a rice scoop. It works incredibly well as a ricotta-spreader. 🙂
DSCF1241Combine the sauce and ricotta. Spread the mixture to coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle on the parmesan and/or asiago cheese. 
DSCF1244Add in half of your pasta.
DSCF1245Cover liberally with the mozzarella cheese.DSCF1246I think you see where this is going! Making the ziti like a lasagna makes it flavorful and cheesy throughout! Add another layer of sauce.
DSCF1247 Combine with ricotta and spread over pasta evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan and/or asiago cheese. DSCF1249Add the remainder of your pasta.DSCF1251Cover the top with as much mozzarella cheese as you can fit. Sprinkle more parmesan and/or asiago if you’re feeling dangerous. DSCF1252Since you’ve shoveled an ungodly amount of cheese on top of your pasta, place the baking dish on a large baking sheet. This will ensure you’re house doesn’t fill with smoke because the cheese bubbled over onto the bottom of the oven. Trust me, I speak from experience. Let the pasta bake at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes. 
DSCF1267Here is the beautifully browned final product. I like my cheese to have a little crisp and crunch on top, so I leave it in for closer to an hour. Be sure to serve with cheesy garlic bread for proper sauce dunking. Enjoy! 

Not-Even-Close-To-Paleo-Friendly Meals: Baked Ziti

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Per Serving 594 calories

Fat 14 g

Carbs 93 g

Protein 24 g



  • 1 box of ziti noodles
  • 32-48 ounces of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 24-32 ounces of whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large bag of mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Asiago cheese (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • S&P


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pot, add water, olive oil, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to box instructions.
  3. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large bowl and combine with reserved water. Toss to coat.
  4. In a large baking dish, pour in some pasta sauce and spoon in some ricotta cheese. Stir to combine and coat the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle on parmesan and/or asiago cheese.
  5. Add half of the pasta and cover with mozzarella cheese.
  6. Repeat last two steps, layering sauce, ricotta, parmesan and/or asiago, and pasta.
  7. Top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan and/or asiago.
  8. Place baking dish on a large baking sheet to catch any overflow and bake for 40-60 minutes or to your liking. For a crispier top, bake closer to 60 minutes.
  9. Serve hot with garlic bread with cheese. Enjoy!


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