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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baked Ziti and I didn't miss the cheese AT ALL

Occassionally, Matt likes to usurp my cooking attempts. I know this is nice, but after I spent seriously like...30 minutes looking for Italian Bread Crumbs at Whole Foods to no avail on a Saturday morning (I LOATHE weekend grocery shoppers), I sort of wanted to finish the whole thing. BUT, it was sweet nonetheless. I came back from yoga only to find him deep into the recipe. As I showered, I yelled out to him "you have to tell me what you screw up." And apparently, I'm the only one that screws up recipes at all times. But thankfully, I already screwed up at the grocery store, so our bases are covered.

Here's what I screwed up:
-So, I think I may have an actual defect that doesn't allow me to guestimate height, weight, length, etc., so since I couldn't find a way to measure out 1/2 pound of zucchini at Whole Foods (I know it was there somewhere, I was just getting frazzled), I just bought 3 zucchinis. Is that too much? No idea. We used 2 and it seemed adequate and not overwhelmingly zucchini-y.
-Since I couldn't find those stupid bread crumbs, I grabbed the only thing that resembled bread crumbs at Whole Foods. I stumbled upon some Panko bread crumbs and decided they would have to do. Little did I know those delicious crumbles that cover fried shrimp at Chinese restaurants was noted as a good substitute, so we jazzed them up with some Italian seasoning.
-Matt and I love things to be spicy, so we added about 4 shakes of crushed red pepper, a little hot sauce, and some other stuff that I know Matt snuck in when I wasn't looking. He has an issue when it comes to seasoning...

Verdict: Really good! Simple. Lots of leftovers. Hearty. Didn't miss the cheese one bit!

I got this recipe from Donna Klein’s vegan cookbook "Supermarket Vegan: 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes for Real People in the Real World." If you are only considering going vegan or aren't committed to buying all sorts of weird oils, grains, substitutes, etc., this book is PERFECT. It has a ton of easy and quick recipes that don't involve crazy shopping lists - everything could be found in a normal grocery store. I love it.

Baked Ziti with Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Olives


•8oz. ziti, rigatoni, or penne pasta
•1/2 pound zucchini, coarsely chopped (2 cups)
•1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
•1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, with basil, garlic & oregano, juices included
•1 cup tomato puree
•1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives, divided
•1 tbsp. olive oil
•1 tbsp. tomato paste
•2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
•2 Tbsp. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

•Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 11×7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
•Cook ziti according to package directions for al dente in large pot of boiling salted water. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Return ziti to pot, and set aside.
•Meanwhile, combine zucchini, chickpeas, tomatoes and juices, tomato puree, 2 Tbsp. olives, tomato paste, and garlic in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir zucchini mixture into ziti, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
•Transfer ziti mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tbsp. olives. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until pasta is heated through and breadcrumbs are golden brown.


  1. Oh my goodness-looks yummy. Ziti is one of my faves.

  2. Ooh. I would love to go cheese-less for ziti but I don't think it's in my DNA.

  3. Can't believe my daughter is blogging about cooking!! If you would have asked me years ago if she ever would spend much time in the kitchen -- well, the answer would have been a chuckle! Now I'm quite impressed! Can't wait to have her cook for me for a change!

  4. I buy bread crumbs at the regular old grocery store. I think they're Progresso brand. Just check the ingredients because some brands sometimes sneak in random nonvegan things.


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