Panzanella

This panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

My friends, don’t sleep on this simple Panzanella salad! It’s a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time. What’s not to love?!?!

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

What Is Panzanella?

Panzanella is a hearty Tuscan salad and an OG food waste recipe. It was created by Italian peasants to keep stale bread out of the trash and to use up garden produce before it spoiled. It can be made with almost any combination of fruits and veggies, but traditionally, the stars of the show are juicy summer tomatoes and crusty bread that’s had time to absorb the salad’s tangy dressing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

You’ll need some day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, some fresh greens, and any other summer fruit and veg you want to take advantage of. You can dress it with your favorite bottled dressing, or you can use our easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Beth and I added mozzarella pearls because, YES. Then we just drizzled it with a little olive oil and vinegar that we emulsified in a mason jar. (That’s just chef-speak for shaking the ever-living life out of it until the oil and vinegar transform into a creamy dressing.)

How Long Does Panzanella Last?

While it lives forever in my dreams, in real life, Panzanella doesn’t last longer than a day. You’ll need to make it an hour or so before serving to give the bread time to soak up the dressing.

Can I Meal-Prep Panzanella?

I’ve had lots of success prepping Panzanella components ahead of time. Chop and toast the bread, cool it, then store it in an air-tight container with a folded paper towel in it to absorb humidity. Slice and salt the tomatoes and store them in an airtight container as well. The salt forces them to release their juices, which you can then incorporate into your dressing. Chop the rest of your ingredients and also store them in your fridge in an airtight container. Then it’s as easy as mixing everything together with greens and dressing. Toasted bread will stay fresh at room temperature for a few days. Chopped produce will also stay fresh for a few days in the fridge.

Side view of panzanella salad in a white bowl.
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Panzanella

This scrumptious Panzanella salad is a quick and delicious way to use up day-old bread, ripe tomatoes, and other summer produce. For the ultimate convenience, you can even prep the ingredients ahead of time.
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Total Cost $13.54 recipe / $2.26 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6 2 cups each
Calories 254kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups bread, cubed $2.00
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided $0.64
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes $3.49
  • 1 nectarine $0.90
  • 1 cucumber $0.69
  • 1/2 red onion $0.40
  • 10 oz. baby spring mix $3.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella pearls $1.75
  • 1 tsp salt $0.08
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.10

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.
  • While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine in 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice the red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.
  • Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.
  • Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, red onions, and mozzarella pearls.
  • Add remaining olive oil, vinegar, and salt to a small mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.
  • Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 2cups | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 664mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

How to Make Panzanella- Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cubed bread in a sheet pan being dressed with olive oil .

Slice three cups of day-old (or fresh) bread into 2 x 2-inch cubes and place in the sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss to combine. Bake until toasted, about 20 minutes.

Overhead shot of chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and nectarines on a wood cutting board.

While the bread toasts, wash all of the produce. Slice the pint of cherry tomatoes in half. Cut the cucumber in 1/2 inch thick quarter rounds. Slice the nectarine into 1/2 inch thick slices. Slice half of a red onion in 1/4 inch thick half moons.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad croutons in a sheet pan.

Once the bread has toasted, pull it from the oven, and allow it to cool.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad components.in a white bowl.

Add the toasted bread to a very large bowl and top with 10 oz. of salad greens. Top the greens with tomatoes, nectarines, cucumbers, and red onions. Finish with mozzarella pearls (not pictured here.)

Overhead shot of panzanella salad being dressed in a white bowl with wood serving spoons next to it.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the tablespoon of vinegar, and the teaspoon of salt to a small mason jar or another container with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid tightly and shake the oil and vinegar until combined. Dress the salad. Toss to coat.

Overhead shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Let the salad sit for at least an hour to allow the bread to soak up the dressing. Serve and enjoy!

Side shot of panzanella salad in a white bowl.

Check out these other great summer salads

The post Panzanella appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Caprese Sandwich

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor. What’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor.

Caprese Sandwich

What’s better than the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? Not much, in our opinion. So try this summery delight: the Caprese sandwich! This riff on the classic Italian salad from Capri layers the classic ingredients as a sandwich filling, with an irresistibly creamy, pesto aioli that adds a pop of savory brightness to each bite. It’s the perfect idea for an easy no-cook summer dinner, picnics, and more. When our son Larson tried a bite, he said, “Can we eat this every day?” We felt the same!

Ingredients in a Caprese sandwich

A Caprese sandwich is a sandwich that uses the ingredients in the classic Italian Caprese salad: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. There are many variations on this concept, sometimes using arugula, balsamic vinegar, or other spreads to embellish the sandwich. The traditional Italian version of Caprese salad doesn’t use balsamic vinegar or reduction and we don’t think the flavor pairs correctly, so you won’t need that here. For this recipe, we’ve used our fan-favorite pesto aioli as a creamy spread that adds a pop of savory flavor to each bite.

Here’s what you’ll need for this Caprese sandwich:

  • Ciabatta bread or other artisan bread: This Italian bread is soft and perfect for sandwiches! Steer clear of a French baguette, which can be tough to bite through. Any other type of artisan bread works!
  • Ripe tomatoes: This is a must! This sandwich only works with the ripest, juiciest tomatoes, much like a good BLT.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese: Purchase it in an 8 ounce ball and slice off slices for the sandwich.
  • Fresh basil: All you need is a handful of leaves per sandwich.
  • Baby arugula: Arugula adds a bit of texture and flavor variation. Make sure to buy baby arugula in a box or bag, which has a feathery texture and milder flavor. Avoid mature arugula that’s sold in bunches: the flavor is too strong.
  • Pesto aioli: This is the kicker! The pesto aioli blends basil, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and absolutely makes the sandwich. Do not leave it out!
Caprese Sandwich

Tips for making the pesto aioli

The key to any good sandwich? A great sandwich spread. You absolutely cannot have a dry sandwich with unseasoned bread. Here, the pesto aioli adds just the right creaminess and seasoning to the entire sandwich. Here’s what to know about the pesto aioli:

  • Use a large or small food processor. A small blender would also work.
  • It works for several sandwiches. The quantity you’ll end up with is 10 tablespoons, so depending on how much you use it should work for 3 to 4 sandwiches.
  • You can make it in advance and store refrigerated. Keep in mind, the color does fade slightly over time.
Caprese Sandwich

Make ahead for a Caprese sandwich

This Caprese sandwich is perfect for a picnic: but does it hold up over time? Yes! Some sandwiches get soggy over time, but this one holds up well. However, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • Spread each bread side with pesto aioli and have a layer of arugula and basil over each. This protects the bread from direct contact with the tomato or mozzarella, which can make it soggy.
  • If serving within 2 hours, refrigeration is not needed. The mayo in the sandwich spread should be refrigerated after 2 hours.
  • Otherwise, wrap and refrigerate or keep in a cooler until serving. The bread does become tougher when refrigerated, so allow the sandwich to come to room temperature before serving if possible.

Alternate method

You can also make a Caprese sandwich as a panini or hot sandwich, like the Panera Caprese sandwich. Simply use sliced sandwich bread to build the sandwich. Then toast it in a panini press for 3 to 4 minutes, or grill in a grill pan or skillet for 2 minutes per side.

Caprese Sandwich

More Caprese themed foods

Caprese has become a shorthand for anything that stars tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Of course, nothing beats the classic Caprese salad, made the Italian way with a drizzle of great olive oil and salt. Here are a few variations on the theme:

This Caprese sandwich recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, serve on gluten-free bread.

Print
Caprese Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich

Description

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor.


Ingredients

For the sandwich

  • 2 slices ciabatta bread
  • 2 slices ripe tomato
  • 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1 handful baby arugula
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto aioli (see below)

For the pesto aioli (makes 10 tablespoons)

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup high quality mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Make the pesto aioli: In a food processor, blend the garlic until roughly chopped. Add the basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and mayonnaise. Blend until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. (Store leftovers refrigerated for 2 weeks.)
  2. Season the tomato slices with a pinch of salt. On each slice of bread, slather the pesto aioli. Build the sandwich by layering half the arugula and basil, the tomato slices, mozzarella slices, more arugula and basil, and then the aioli-slathered bread. Enjoy immediately, or wrap and refrigerate until serving.
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Summer
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Caprese sandwich

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups

Pesto mozzarella roll ups combine melty mozzarella cheese and flavorful basil pesto rolled up in a flour tortilla then baked to perfection!

The post Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’ve wanted to make this fun snack for a couple of years now and I had a little leftover pesto the other day so I finally made it happen! These Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups are a riff off of my Pizza Roll Ups recipe. It’s a tasty combo of pesto and mozzarella rolled up in flour tortilla then baked until crispy on the outside and melty on the inside. So fun! I also paired these roll ups with a creamy and tangy dip that perfectly balances the basil pesto.

side view of a plate full of pesto mozzarella roll ups.

What Kind of Pesto to Use

Pesto is undoubtedly the most expensive ingredient in this dish, so you’ll want to choose wisely. Aldi has a pretty good basil pesto for a great price but if that one isn’t your favorite or you don’t have an Aldi near you, I also like Barilla, Classico, and Felippo Berio brands.

And don’t let the rest of the jar of pesto go to waste! Check out our pesto archives for other delicious ways to use up your pesto.

To Dip or Not to Dip

I paired these pesto mozzarella roll ups with a super simple creamy and tangy tomato flavored dip, but it’s completely optional. The roll ups are great on their own and it does get pretty rich with the dip, so it’s totally up to you! Or, if you already have a fridge full of half-used bottles of sauces and dressing, try experimenting with a different flavor dip. ;)

How Are the Leftovers?

Pesto mozzarella roll ups are definitely best right when they come out of the oven so the tortilla is crispy and the mozzarella is soft and melty, so I suggest scaling the recipe up or down as needed. Luckily, they’re just as easy to make whether you want to make two or twenty!

a pesto mozzarella roll up being torn in half, the cheese pulling between.
Side view of pesto mozzarella roll ups stacked on a plate.

Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups

Pesto mozzarella roll ups combine melty mozzarella cheese and flavorful basil pesto rolled up in a flour tortilla then baked to perfection!
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.71 recipe / $0.59 each
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 roll ups
Calories 226kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups

  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas $2.23
  • 4 Tbsp basil pesto $1.00
  • 4 pieces mozzarella string cheese $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04

Creamy Tomato Dip (optional)

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise $0.29
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.07
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds to soften the tortillas.
  • Slice the string cheese in half length-wise. Spread ½ Tbsp pesto over the lower half of each tortilla, staying away from the edges. Place one piece of mozzarella on top of each.
  • Fold the sides of the tortilla in on top of the cheese, then begin rolling up from the bottom until the cheese is completely rolled up in the tortilla.
  • Place the roll ups on a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down. Brush the roll ups with a light coating of cooking oil.
  • Bake the roll ups in the preheated oven for about 13 minutes, or until they're lightly golden brown on the edges and the cheese is melted.
  • While the roll ups are in the oven, prepare the creamy tomato dip. Stir together the mayonnaise, tomato paste, and minced garlic.
  • Let the roll ups cool just enough to handle, then serve with the creamy tomato dip.

Nutrition

Serving: 1roll up | Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 461mg | Fiber: 1g
pesto mozzarella roll ups stacked on a plate, one being dipped into the sauce on the side.

How to Make Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups – Step by Step Photos

Tortillas stacked on a plate with a damp paper towel covering.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Stack eight 8-inch flour tortillas on a plate and cover them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for about 30 seconds to steam the tortillas. This makes them soft and pliable so they won’t rip when you try to roll them.

Pesto mozzarella roll up being built.

Slice four pieces of mozzarella string cheese in half length-wise. You’ll use one half per roll up. Smear about ½ Tbsp basil pesto over the bottom half of a tortilla, staying away from the edges. Place one halved string cheese on the pesto.

A pesto mozzarella roll up half-way rolled.

Fold the sides of the tortilla in to close off the ends, then start rolling from the bottom up until the cheese is fully rolled up in the tortilla.

pesto mozzarella roll ups being brushed with oil.

Place the roll ups seam side down on a lined baking sheet. Brush them lightly with cooking oil. This helps the tortillas get extra crispy. You could also spritz them with cooking spray. Bake the roll ups for about 13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown on the edges.

creamy tomato sauce in a bowl with a spoon.

While the pesto mozzarella roll ups are baking, make the creamy tomato sauce. In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp tomato paste, and 1 clove of minced garlic.

baked pesto mozzarella roll ups.

Once the roll ups are lightly golden brown on the edges and you start to see a little cheese oozing, they’re ready! This should take about 13 minutes of baking, give or take a minute or two. Let them cool just enough to handle.

Side view of pesto mozzarella roll ups stacked on a plate.

The pesto kind of soaks into the tortillas making them soooooo good!

Pesto mozzarella roll up dipped into the bowl of creamy tomato sauce.

You don’t want to know how many of these I ate while taking the photographs!

The post Pesto Mozzarella Roll Ups appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas

These super easy Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas combine homemade garlic bread with a cheesy spinach mushroom topping.

The post Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

French bread pizzas are a total weeknight win. They’re fast and easy, you can top them with whatever you have in your fridge, and they’re always delicious. This week, I had some leftover frozen spinach that was begging to be used up, so I whipped up these quick Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas. They have a garlic bread base for extra flavor and then are topped with a simple mix of spinach, sautéed mushrooms, and cheese. Simple but perfect!

Originally posted 7-5-2015, updated 4-20-2022.

Close up overhead view of spinach mushroom french bread pizzas.

Cheese Options

I used a combination of mozzarella and Swiss cheese for my pizzas, but there is a lot of flexibility here. You could do any of the following cheeses, or any combination of two or more:

  • Mozzarella
  • Provolone
  • Swiss
  • Goat cheese
  • Feta
  • Monterey jack
  • Smoked gouda

And, admittedly, these pizzas are not very cheese heavy, so if you like lots of cheese you may want to double the amount listed in the recipe below!

What About Pizza Sauce?

I made my pizzas kind of like a white pizza or loaded garlic bread, sans red sauce. But if you happen to have leftover pizza sauce (because sometimes that happens) you can spread a layer onto the bread before the spinach and mushrooms, or use your sauce on the side for dunking!

What Else Can I Add?

Diced-up cooked chicken would go really nicely with these pizzas, as would some artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes (fresh or sun-dried), or Parmesan. That’s what’s great about pizza, you can put just about anything on there and it will be great!

Close up of a piece of a spinach mushroom french bread pizza held in a hand.

Close up of a piece of a spinach mushroom french bread pizza held in a hand.

Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas

These super easy Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas combine homemade garlic bread with a cheesy spinach mushroom topping.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.62 recipe / $1.91 serving
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 533kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Spinach and Mushrooms

  • 8 oz. mushrooms $2.79
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.16
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 8 oz. frozen spinach $1.00

Garlic Butter

  • 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature $0.20
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01

Pizzas

  • 1 loaf French bread $1.50
  • 1 cup shredded cheese* $1.25
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Slice the mushrooms, then add them to a skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, tsp salt, and tsp pepper. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have softened and all of the water has evaporated out of the skillet.
  • Add the frozen spinach to the skillet with the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the spinach is heated through and most of the moisture has evaporated (there should be no water pooling in the skillet). Transfer the mushrooms and spinach to a bowl to cool.
  • To make the garlic butter, combine the butter, olive oil, minced garlic, garlic powder, and salt in a small bowl. Stir well to create a soft garlic butter mixture.
  • Cut a loaf of French bread in half length-wise, then slice each half-open. Place the pieces of bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut sides up. Spread the garlic butter mixture over the surface of each piece of bread.
  • Add half of the shredded cheese, the remaining tsp cracked black pepper, and crushed red pepper to the bowl with the slightly cooled spinach and mushrooms. Stir to combine.
  • Divide the spinach mushroom mixture between the four pieces of bread and spread it over the surface of the bread. Top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake the pizzas in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned on top. Enjoy hot.

Notes

* You can use any combination of cheeses for this recipe. I suggest mozzarella, provolone, swiss, feta, goat cheese, or a combination of any of those cheeses.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pizza | Calories: 533kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 1015mg | Fiber: 5g

Love French Bread Pizza? Check out my classic French Bread Pizza recipe for more topping ideas!

a spinach mushroom french bread pizza broken in half on a plate.

How to Make Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizza – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Slice 8oz. mushrooms. I used baby bella mushrooms, but white button mushrooms work fine as well.

Sautéed mushrooms in the skillet.

Add the sliced mushrooms to a skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, ⅛ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the mushrooms have softened and all of the water in the skillet has evaporated.

sautéed spinach in the skillet with the mushrooms

Add ½ lb. frozen spinach to the skillet and continue to stir and cook until the spinach is heated through and most of the moisture has evaporated from the skillet. There should be no water pooling in the skillet. Transfer the spinach and mushrooms to a bowl to cool slightly.

Garlic butter ingredients in a bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp butter (room temperature), 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), ½ tsp garlic powder, and ⅛ tsp salt to a bowl and stir until it is all well combined.

Garlic butter bread on a baking sheet.

Line a baking sheet with parchment for easy cleanup. Cut a loaf of French bread in half length-wise then cut each half-open. Place the pieces of bread on the baking sheet, cut sides up. Spread the garlic butter mixture over the surface of the bread. (I accidentally melted my garlic butter, so I brushed it over the surface.)

Cheese mixed into spinach and mushrooms.

Add ½ cup shredded cheese, ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper into the partially-cooled spinach and mushroom mixture.

Topped french bread pizzas.

Divide the cheesy spinach mushroom mixture between the four pieces of bread, then top with the remaining cheese.

baked spinach mushroom french bread pizzas.

Bake the spinach mushroom French bread pizzas in the preheated 350ºF oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and slightly browned on top.

Side view of baked spinach mushroom French bread pizzas on the baking sheet.

Easy and delish!

The post Spinach Mushroom French Bread Pizzas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Baked Ziti

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and feeds a crowd.

Baked Ziti

Here’s a dish that will be a winner any day of the week: Baked Ziti! This Italian American casserole is packed with savory flavor and cozy nostalgia. Its surface is filled with pockets of seasoned ricotta, lakes of garlicky tomato sauce, and punctuated by strands of gooey mozzarella. Side benefit: the wafting aroma makes your kitchen smell like a dream! This baked pasta is ideal for feeding a crowd, or a half recipe works for a cozy romantic dinner. What are you waiting for?

Ingredients in baked ziti

Baked ziti appears to be an Italian American invention, though the tradition of baked pasta dates back to the late Middle Ages in Italy. As with any classic recipe, there are many ways to make baked ziti. Most recipes include pasta, tomato sauce and a filling of ricotta cheese and Parmesan, topped with mozzarella and baked until bubbly. Many include sausage, but ours is a vegetarian spin that’s one step easier but still full of flavor. Here’s what you’ll need for this baked ziti recipe:

  • Ziti pasta (or penne or rigatoni)
  • Garlic
  • Fennel seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Marinara sauce and fire roasted tomatoes
  • Ricotta, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese
  • Lemon zest
Baked Ziti

Keys to the flavor

This baked ziti recipe is easy, with a few simple tricks for big flavor. Here’s what to note about this recipe:

  • It uses both marinara sauce and canned fire roasted tomatoes. This way, you can round out the flavor of the purchased marinara with some homemade flavor of your own. See below for some notes on fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Fennel evokes the flavor of sausage. You can skip the sausage here: using fennel seed adds a meaty, hearty flavor to the interior (fennel seed is also used in Italian sausage!).
  • Lemon zest adds brightness. The lemon adds a nice lift to the flavors!
Baked Ziti

Find fire roasted tomatoes for best flavor

This baked ziti uses a combination of purchased marinara sauce and homemade flavors to make a quick homemade sauce. The key? Canned fire roasted tomatoes. Here’s what to know about this variety:

  • Fire roasted tomatoes are a type of canned tomato that’s roasted over a flame before canning. They’re sold by several different brands; look for them in the canned tomato section in your local grocery. We like Muir Glen.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes taste sweet right out of the can. This means you can cook them for less time than standard tomatoes.
  • What’s a substitute for fire roasted tomatoes? Use the highest quality canned tomatoes you can find. Consider adding 1 teaspoon sugar and a hint of smoked paprika (½ teaspoon) if you have it to round out the flavors.
Baked Ziti

Cook the ziti to just before al dente

The key to a baked pasta? Cook the pasta to just before al dente. Baked pasta cooks while it’s in the oven, so you’ll want to pull it out of the boiling water just before you normally would. Try about 1 to 2 minutes before it’s al dente: so it should still have some crunch.

As a note: typically the pasta package instructions indicate to cook a little too long! So cook it about 3 minutes before the package instructions indicate.

Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9

This baked ziti recipe makes a big 9 x 13″ pan that feeds at least 8 servings. Not in the mood for such a huge portion? Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9! It works just as well, especially since this pasta is tastiest the day of making. But it works as leftovers too!

Leftover storage

Leftover baked ziti lasts for up to 3 days refrigerated. This baked pasta does taste best the days it’s made, as the noodles can become a bit soggy over time. (That’s another reason to make sure not to overcook the pasta!) When you’re eating the leftovers, add a few pinches of salt and reheat it in a skillet to revive the flavors.

Baked Ziti

What to serve with baked ziti

This baked ziti works as a meal for a crowd, or an intimate romantic dinner (as a half recipe). Here are a few side dishes that pair well:

This baked ziti recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

Print
Baked Ziti

Easy Baked Ziti


Description

Baked ziti with ricotta is Italian comfort food at its finest! This easy recipe is simple to bake up and feeds a crowd. Make a half recipe in a 9 x 9 baking dish if you prefer!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound ziti pasta (or penne or rigatoni)*
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than al dente (about 3 minutes before the package instructions indicate). Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. If it’s cooked before the sauce is done, stir in a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and fennel seeds, crushing the fennel with your fingers as you add it, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the marinara sauce and fire roasted tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes, then taste and add a pinch of salt if the flavor doesn’t pop (this will depend on the marinara brand). Then pour the tomato sauce into the drained pasta and stir to combine.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, ½ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese, ¾ cup of the mozzarella cheese, the lemon zest, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  5. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish*. Pour in the pasta mixed with the tomato sauce. Add large dollops of the ricotta mixture to the top of the pasta, then use the side of a large spoon to swirl it into the top of the pasta, leaving some larger pockets of ricotta. Top with the remaining ¾ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until the cheese on the top is melted and browned. Allow to stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. If desired, top with basil leaves and serve. Leftovers last for up to 3 days refrigerated, though they taste best the day of (add a few pinches of salt and reheat in a skillet to revive the flavors). 

Notes

*Want to make a half recipe? Use half the ingredients and make it in a 9 x 9″ baking dish.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: Baked ziti, baked ziti with ricotta

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

These Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas are filled with melty, creamy cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and a healthy dose of spinach.

The post Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m of the opinion that pretty much everything tastes better in a toasted tortilla. I often take leftover ingredients from my fridge and turn them into a tasty quesadilla. So that’s exactly what I made with the leftover frozen spinach in my freezer. Easy, cheesy, creamy Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas!

A stack of spinach and mushroom quesadillas on a wooden cutting board

To craft these Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas, I used my Creamy Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas as a template. The filling is a combination of your main ingredient (in this case mushrooms and spinach), cheese, and a little bit of sour cream to make everything extra creamy and delicious. That little bit of sour cream really takes the quesadillas to the next level!

Can I Use Fresh Spinach?

I also tested this recipe using fresh spinach, just to see which would be better. I added the fresh, roughly chopped spinach to the quesadilla filling without sautéing. The quesadillas were good, but they did get a bit watery if they sat in the hot skillet too long or sat on the plate too long before eating.

Another option for fresh spinach would be to sauté the fresh spinach down until almost all of the water is cooked out, but you’d likely need a very large quantity of spinach yield enough to fill the quesadillas once sautéed.

Cheese Options

I kept my spinach and mushroom quesadillas very simple with classic mozzarella cheese, but you could have fun here and add more flavor by swapping out the cheese or adding a second type of cheese. Adding a few crumbles of feta or a couple of tablespoons of grated Parmesan to the mozzarella would add an extra punch of flavor. Mixing in some smoked gouda would also be amazing! If you want things a little more spicy, you could use pepper jack in place of the mozzarella.

A cheesy spinach quesadilla being torn in half, cheese stretching between pieces
A stack of spinach and mushroom quesadillas on a wooden cutting board

Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas

These Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas are filled with melty, creamy cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and a healthy dose of spinach.
Course Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $5.73 recipe / $1.15 each
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5 quesadillas
Calories 297kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.69
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt, divided $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper, divided $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.84
  • 8 oz. mozzarella*, shredded $1.85
  • 1/4 cup sour cream $0.29
  • 5 7-inch flour tortillas $0.94

Instructions

  • Slice the mushrooms and add them to a skillet with the cooking oil, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, and half of the salt and pepper. Sauté over medium until the mushrooms have release all of their water and it has evaporated out of the skillet. Set the mushrooms aside.
  • While the mushrooms are cooking, thaw the frozen spinach then squeeze out as much of the water as possible. You should have about one cup of spinach (loosely packed) once squeezed.
  • Add the mushrooms, spinach, shredded mozzarella, sour cream, and another tsp each of salt and pepper to a bowl, then stir to combine.
  • Add about ½ cup of the cheesy spinach mushroom mixture to each tortilla, spread it out to cover one side of the tortilla, then fold to close.
  • Cook the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy on the outside and melty on the inside (I do not use butter or oil in the skillet, but can if you want a more fried texture).
  • Slice the quesadillas and serve!

Notes

*You can swap out or mix in your favorite type of cheese.

Nutrition

Serving: 1quesadilla | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Sodium: 652mg | Fiber: 3g
Two hands holding a stack of quesadillas

How to Make Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas – Step by Step Photos

Sliced mushrooms on a cutting board

Slice 8oz. mushrooms. I used baby bella, but you can use whatever type you like.

Sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

Add the mushrooms to a skillet along with 1 Tbsp cooking oil, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ⅛ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper, and ⅛ tsp crushed red pepper. Sauté over medium until the mushrooms have released all of their moisture and it has evaporated out of the skillet. Set the mushrooms aside.

Thawed and squeezed mushrooms

Thaw ½ lb. of frozen chopped spinach. Squeeze as much water out of the spinach as possible. You should have about one loosely packed cup of dried spinach.

quesadilla filling ingredients in a bowl

Add the spinach, mushrooms, 8 oz. shredded mozzarella, ¼ cup sour cream, and an additional ⅛ tsp salt and pepper to a bowl.

Mixed quesadilla filling in the bowl

Stir the ingredients together until well combined.

filling added to a tortilla

Add about ½ cup of the spinach mushroom mixture to each tortilla, spreading it out over one side, then folding it closed.

Toasted quesadillas in a skillet

Toast the quesadillas in a skillet over medium heat until they are golden brown and crispy on the outsides and melty on the insides. I don’t use any butter or oil in the skillet, but you can if you prefer a more fried texture to the tortilla.

spinach and mushroom quesadillas cut in half

Slice the quesadillas in half and serve!

A stack of spinach and mushroom quesadillas on a wooden cutting board

Try These Other Quesadilla Flavors

The post Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

Take your grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with this gourmet Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese! An easy and flavorful lunch idea.

The post Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Because I add spinach to everything. I keep frozen spinach on hand so I can toss a handful into whatever I’m cooking and spinach felt like such a natural addition to my usual grilled cheese. I also added a little feta cheese for a tangy punch, a few spicy flakes of red pepper, and toasted it up on some good bread. The result was something truly spectacular. This Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese only takes a few minutes more than regular grilled cheese, and it’s SO worth the extra effort. No joke, you’ll pay about $8 for something like this at your local cafe, but not at home!

Originally posted 8/31/13, updated 1/19/2022.

A stack of spinach and feta grilled cheese sandwich halves

Is This a Melt or a Grilled Cheese?

Okay, so technically this type of sandwich is called a “melt.” A melt is a grilled cheese that has other ingredients added, like vegetables or meat, whereas a grilled cheese is a cheese-only grilled sandwich. While the difference between a melt and a grilled cheese often sparks heated debates, I want people to be able to find this recipe on the internet and the data shows that people are searching for “spinach and feta grilled cheese,” not “spinach and feta melt”. The English language is fluid, and the use of the term “melt” is declining. So here we are! 

What Kind of Bread is Best for Grilled Cheese

I originally used ciabatta bread for this recipe, but it wasn’t available this time around so I chose a nice sourdough bread instead. Homemade focaccia would also be nice. Because the ingredients in this recipe are a little more hearty than your everyday grilled cheese sandwich, I would suggest using any sturdy bread that can hold up to the filling ingredients. Skip the soft white bread for this one. ;)

What Kind of Spinach to Use

I used frozen spinach for this recipe because it’s easy to keep on hand without worrying about it spoiling, but you could absolutely use fresh spinach if you have it. Just sauté it down until most of the moisture is gone, just as I did below with the frozen spinach.

As far as frozen spinach goes, you’ll want to buy the kind that comes loose in a bag rather than the type that is frozen into a block. That will allow you to thaw just enough for this recipe while leaving the rest in the freezer for your next cooking adventure.

What to Serve with Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

As with any grilled cheese sandwich, this spinach and feta version goes great with a cup of tomato soup. But you could also serve it with a little dish of pasta sauce or pizza sauce for dipping!

What Else Can I Add?

Oh, there are so many delicious possibilities for add-ins here: olives, artichokes, red onion, parmesan cheese… I’d not be against putting an egg on there, too. ;)

Overhead view of spinach and feta grilled cheese on a cutting board with a bowl of sauce


A stack of spinach and feta grilled cheese sandwiches

Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese

Take your grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with this gourmet Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese! An easy and flavorful lunch idea.
Course Lunch, Sandwich
Cuisine American
Total Cost $3.62 recipe / $1.81 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 1 sandwich each
Calories 507kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil $0.08
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/4 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.42
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper $0.05
  • 4 slices bread $1.00
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.20
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella $1.15
  • 1 oz. feta $0.62
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the olive oil and minced garlic to a skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about one minute, then add the frozen spinach (no need to thaw), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue to sauté over medium until most of the moisture has evaporated from the skillet.
  • Spread butter over one side of each of the slices of bread. Flip the bread over so the buttered side is facing down as you build the sandwiches.
  • Divide half of the shredded mozzarella between two slices of bread. Top the mozzarella with the crumbled feta.
  • Divide the cooked spinach between the two sandwiches, then top with the remaining shredded mozzarella and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Top each sandwich with the second slice of bread, buttered side facing out.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-low. Once hot, add the sandwiches and cook on each side until golden brown and crispy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside.
  • Cut the sandwiches in half and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 33g | Sodium: 962mg | Fiber: 4g
Half of a spinach and feta grilled cheese dipping into pizza sauce

How to Make Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese – Step by Step Photos

cooked spinach in a skillet

Add a 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and one minced clove of garlic to a small skillet. Cook the garlic for about a minute, then add ¼ lb. froen spinach (you can just estimate ¼ of a one pound bag, or ⅓ of a 12oz. bag). Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and continue to sauté over medium until most of the moisture has evaporated.

four slices of buttered bread

Spread about ½ Tbsp butter over one side of each slice of bread (four slices).

shredded mozzarella added to the bread

Flip the bread over so the unbuttered sides are facing up. Add about ¼ cup shredded mozzarella to two of the slices. Top each with a little crumbled feta.

cooked spinach added to the sandwiches

Add the cooked spinach on top of the mozzarella and feta.

more mozzarella added to the sandwiches

Add another ¼ cup shredded mozzarella to each along with a pinch of crushedred pepper. Top with the second piece of bread, butter side facing out.

Cooked sandwiches in the skillet

Heat a large skillet over medium-low. Once hot, add the sandwiches. Cook for about five minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside and melty and hot on the inside.

sliced sandwiches on a cutting board

Slice the sandwiches in half and serve!

A stack of spinach and feta grilled cheese sandwiches

Ooohhhh yesssssss.

Love Cheesy Melts? Try These Other Recipes:

The post Spinach and Feta Grilled Cheese appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche

I’m a big fan of savory breakfast dishes and this Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche might be my new favorite! It’s very filling, full of vegetables, and doesn’t leave me with a carb hangover (I’m looking at you, pancakes). You can serve it up at brunch or eat it for lunch or dinner, so give […]

The post Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m a big fan of savory breakfast dishes and this Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche might be my new favorite! It’s very filling, full of vegetables, and doesn’t leave me with a carb hangover (I’m looking at you, pancakes). You can serve it up at brunch or eat it for lunch or dinner, so give this spinach and mushroom crustless quiche recipe a try the next time you want to prepare something special. I promise it’s worth the effort!

Originally posted 11/1/2011, updated 11/9/2021.

Close up overhead view of a spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in a pie dish

Isn’t a “crustless quiche” just a frittata?

While they are both baked egg dishes, there are distinct differences. The main difference is the texture. Quiches are a custard made with egg, cheese, and milk or cream. They have a soft, delicate texture. Frittatas, on the other hand, contain little to no milk or cream, so it is closer in texture to an omelet or baked egg. The other significant difference comes in the cooking process. Frittatas start on the stovetop and only finish only for the last few minutes in the oven. Quiches are baked in the oven only.

Can this crustless quiche be reheated?

Yes, this is one of my favorite make-ahead breakfast dishes! But you do need to be cautious while reheating because overheating can cause the egg proteins to seize up, expel water, and become rubbery. For that reason, I suggest reheating in the microwave only until the crustless quiche is warmed through, but not piping hot. This will store in the refrigerator for about 4 days.

Can You Freeze Quiche?

Egg dishes like crustless quiche freeze just so-so. This is one of those grey areas where it will depend a lot on how sensitive you are to texture changes. The egg will seep a little water upon freezing, thawing, and reheating, which may or may not bother you. I suggest testing this with one piece of the quiche first to see if the changes are acceptable to you. To freeze, cool the quiche in the refrigerator first, then wrap tightly in plastic and transfer to the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Love this Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche? Try my Bacon Broccoli Cheddar Crustless Quiche, too!

A slice of crustless quiche being held in front of the pie dish on a spatula

close up view of sliced spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in the pie dish

Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

This easy, tasty Spinach Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche is low on carbs and big on flavor. This veggie-filled breakfast will keep you full and happy.
Total Cost $5.89 recipe / $0.98 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 6 slices
Calories 187kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 10oz. box frozen chopped spinach $1.00
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp Salt $0.01
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil, divided $0.04
  • 2 oz. feta cheese $1.10
  • 4 large eggs $0.83
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan $0.44
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1 cup milk $0.42
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella $0.46

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw and squeeze as much moisture out the spinach as possible. Rinse any dirt or debris from the mushrooms, then slice thinly. Mince the garlic.
  • Slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and a ½ Tbsp cooking oil to a skillet. Sauté the mushrooms over medium heat until they have released all of their moisture and it has evaporated from the skillet. No water should remain in the skillet.
  • Brush the other ½ Tbsp cooking oil inside a 9-inch pie plate. Layer the mushrooms, spinach, and crumbled feta into the pie plate.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and milk.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the pie plate over the spinach, mushrooms, and feta. Top with the shredded mozzarella.
  • Bake the crustless quiche in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 50 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top and the internal temperature reaches 160ºF. Slice and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 378mg | Fiber: 2g

How to Make Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche – Step by Step Photos

thawed and squeezed spinach in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Thaw one 10oz. block of frozen chopped spinach (I use the microwave), then squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. The spinach should be fairly dry after squeezing, no water remaining in the bottom of the bowl.

sliced mushrooms on a cutting board

Slice 8oz. of mushrooms and mince one clove of garlic.

Sautéed mushrooms in a skillet

Add the mushrooms to a skillet with ½ Tbsp cooking oil, one clove of minced garlic, and ⅛ tsp salt. Sauté the mushrooms until they release all of their moisture and it has evaporated off the bottom of the skillet. 

Layered mushrooms, spinach, and feta in a pie dish

Brush another ½ Tbsp cooking oil over the inside surface of a 9″ pie dish. Layer in the sautéed mushrooms, squeeze-dried spinach, and 2oz. crumbled feta.

Milk being poured into a bowl with eggs, Parmesan, and pepper

Next, make the savory custard. Whisk together 4 large eggs, ¼ cup grated Parmesan, 1 cup milk, and ¼ tsp pepper.

custard mixture being poured into the pie dish

Pour the custard mixture into the pie dish over the spinach, mushrooms and feat. Sometimes I like to use a larger baking tray to transport my pie plate in and out of the oven. I feel like it makes it a little easier to do without spilling, but that’s up to you.

unbaked quiche topped with grated mozzarella

Top the unbaked quiche with a little shredded mozzarella. You don’t need much, I only used about ½ cup or ¼ off an 8oz. block.

baked spinach and mushroom quiche

Bake the quiche in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 50 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top or until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF.

close up view of sliced spinach and mushroom crustless quiche in the pie dish

Slice and serve warm! 

Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche is a great low carb breakfast or brunch tread packed with vegetables and protein. BudgetBytes.com

(old photo from 2011 😊)

The post Spinach and Mushroom Crustless Quiche appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sage

This butternut squash lasagna recipe is incredible! Ricotta, Pecorino, and sage make a stunning dinner that pleases everyone. Welcome to…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This butternut squash lasagna recipe is incredible! Ricotta, Pecorino, and sage make a stunning dinner that pleases everyone.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Welcome to your new favorite fall dinner: Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sage! The flavors are impeccable: creamy ricotta, punchy Pecorino, and fresh sage envelop the sweet squash in a cozy embrace. In fact, an embrace is just what it feels like when you take a bite! It’s a bit of prep work, but we’ve simplified a few steps so you don’t need a nap once you throw it in the oven. Every bite is a bit of sweet, savory, creamy, herby, and altogether irresistible.

Ingredients in butternut squash lasagna

Butternut squash lasagna can take ages to make, especially if you roast the squash and make a béchamel sauce. This recipe is simplified: you’ll boil the squash and make a quick sauce using ricotta cheese that doesn’t require any heating on the stovetop. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Butternut squash (medium)
  • Ricotta, Mozzarella and Pecorino cheese
  • Milk
  • Lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder, nutmeg salt and pepper
  • Fresh sage
  • Lemon

This recipe comes out stunning: it’s ideal for entertaining! It’s perfect for fall dinner parties, and would be a great Thanksgiving recipe or for Christmas dinner.

Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe

How to cut butternut squash: some tips!

The hardest part of making a butternut squash lasagna? Cutting the squash. Butternut squash is a notoriously difficult vegetable to tackle. We’ve got a few tips for cutting squash without breaking into a sweet:

  1. Watch the video! First, watch this quick video of How to Cut Butternut Squash. It’s helpful to watch the method.
  2. Use a serrated peeler. A serrated blade makes it easier to peel the tough skin than a normal vegetable peeler, which can easily slip. Don’t have one? Try this serrated vegetable peeler.
  3. Cut off the neck and chop it separately from the base. Don’t cut the entire squash together. Chop off the neck, then peel it and chop into squares! Do the same for the base. 
Butternut Squash Lasagna

A few time savers in this butternut squash lasagna

If you follow along with us, you might know we’re sticklers for simple recipes (we even wrote a cookbook about it). While lasagna is almost never easy, the concept is pretty simple. But a typical butternut squash lasagna requires quite a bit of prep work. Here’s how we simplified this recipe to save time:

  • Boil the butternut squash instead of roasting it. Roasting is our favorite technique for cooking vegetables, but it’s got a longer lead time. Roasted butternut squash takes about 45 minutes with preheat time, whereas you can whip up boiled squash in about 10 minutes with boiling time.
  • Make a quick ricotta sauce. A bechamel sauce is more traditional in a butternut squash lasagna, but that also takes time and dirties a pot. This recipe uses ricotta, milk and some seasonings to make a quick and dirty sauce.

The sauce is not a traditional cream sauce, so the lasagna has a firmer texture. It’s not as gooey as you might expect, but it’s 100% delicious.

Make ahead and storage info

Butternut squash lasagna is a bit of a project for a weeknight: it takes about 1 ½ hours start to finish. We love making this for guests: but you can also make it on a weeknight with some additional prep steps! Here are some ideas:

  • Make ahead ideas: Boil the butternut squash in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake (or use leftover roasted butternut squash). You can also boil the noodles in advance and refrigerate: just make sure they’re coated in a little olive oil before refrigerating.
  • Or make ahead the entire pan: Make the entire lasagna prior to baking, then refrigerate overnight. Increase the bake time as needed to cook until it’s warmed through and the cheese has browned.
  • Storage info: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Or freeze them: it’s easiest to cut it into single servings and freeze each in separate containers. To reheat, defrost the lasagna the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Butternut Squash Lasagna

More butternut squash recipes

When squash season is upon us, it’s easy to get squash obsessed! Here are a few of our top butternut squash recipes:

This butternut squash lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free noodles.

Print
Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Sage


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This butternut squash lasagna recipe is incredible! Ricotta, Pecorino, and sage make a stunning dinner that pleases everyone.


Ingredients

For the butternut squash

  • 2-pound butternut squash (medium)
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the lasagna

  • 9 to 12 lasagna noodles (6 to 8 ounces, gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided, plus additional leaves as desired
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Pecorino cheese, divided
  • 8 ounces (2 ½ cups) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Boil the squash: Peel and cut the butternut squash into small cubes about 1/2-inch thick. (Go to How to Cut Butternut Squash for a video! A serrated vegetable peeler works best.) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until fork tender (test a piece to see if it is done). Drain, then place in a medium bowl. Mix with the olive oil, kosher salt and garlic powder.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the noodles*: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the noodles until just before al dente, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Drain the noodles, then drizzle a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Lay the noodles flat onto the sheet, then turn them over so they become coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  4. Prepare the ricotta sauce: Add 1 tablespoon chopped sage to a medium bowl and reserve about ½ tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, nutmeg, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper and milk. Stir.
  5. Layer the lasagna: In a 9” x 13” baking dish, spread ½ cup ricotta sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles, ½ of the cooked squash, scant 2/3 cup cheese sauce, 1 cup mozzarella and ⅓ cup Pecorino cheese. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles (you may need to cut a noodle in half for the side, depending on your pan), the remaining squash, scant 2/3 cup cheese sauce, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and ⅓ cup Pecorino cheese. Finally, top with noodles (again, you may need to cut a noodle in half for the top layer), then the remaining ricotta sauce spread with a spatula. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ⅓ cup Pecorino cheese, and ½ tablespoon sage.
  6. Bake the lasagna: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes, until the top is browned. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 400°F oven. (See make ahead and storage notes below.)

Notes

*If you use fresh lasagna noodles, they don’t need to be boiled.

Make ahead ideas: Boil the butternut squash in advance and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Boil the noodles in advance and refrigerate, making sure they’re coated in a little olive oil.
Or make ahead the entire pan: Make the entire lasagna prior to baking, then refrigerate overnight. Increase the bake time as needed to cook until it’s warmed through and the cheese has browned.
Storage info: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Or freeze them: it’s easiest to cut it into single servings and freeze each in separate containers. To reheat, defrost the lasagna the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Pasta

Keywords: Butternut squash lasagna, butternut squash lasagna recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!

The post One Pot Veggie Pasta appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Here’s a quick little one pot pasta I’ve been making lately with my leftover veggies. You can literally add in whatever you have on hand and it creates a tasty one pot meal with tons of color, flavor, and texture. It may not be revolutionary, but I think sometimes it helps to see what quick meals other people are making and this One Pot Veggie Pasta is my latest go-to quick fix. :)

Overhead view of one pot veggie pasta in a bowl

Use Your Leftovers

As far as one pot pasta goes, this recipe isn’t that revolutionary, but I love it for one main reason—it’s perfect for using up leftovers. Got two carrots left? Or maybe a half of a bell pepper. A handful of mushrooms? How about that partial bag of broccoli florets hiding the back of your freezer? They can all go in this super quick one pot pasta! The more colors and textures the merrier.

Use Your Favorite Sauce

Convenience is the name of the game with this quick weeknight pasta dish, so I used a jar of pasta sauce instead of making my own this time around. You can literally use any red pasta sauce, as long as it’s one you know you like. …Actually, I bet you could also turn this into a really tasty alfredo! *jots down notes for testing next week*

How Are the Leftovers?

As with any leftover pasta dish, the rotini does get a little softer as it is stored in the refrigerator. Personally, that has never bothered me or stopped me from eating leftover pasta, but if you’re sensitive to textures, you might not enjoy the leftovers of this pasta.

Success with One Pot Pasta Recipes

Learning how to cook a one pot pasta can take a little practice. It’s all about observing and adjusting. The goal is to have the pasta simmer in a small amount of liquid so that by the time the pasta is tender, there is only a small amount of saucy liquid left in the bottom of the pot. You need to simmer with the lid on (to hold in the steam) and stir occasionally. Every time you stir, check the pasta texture and the amount of liquid left in the pot. If the pasta is almost tender and there is still a lot of liquid, let it simmer without a lid. If the liquid is almost gone but the pasta is not tender, add a splash more water. Here are some more tips for cooking one pot pastas:

  • Use a pot with a thick bottom. Thin-bottomed pots will create hot and cold spots that tend to cook the pasta unevenly.
  • Use a burner close in size to the bottom of the pot. If the burner is too small the outer edges will not simmer and the pasta will cook unevenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, the pasta will stop cooking and will become mushy.
One Pot Veggie Pasta in the pot half scooped
One pot veggie pasta in a bowl with a fork

One Pot Veggie Pasta

This one pot veggie pasta is an easy, satisfying, and quick dinner. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand and make it your own!
Total Cost $7.99 recipe / $2.00 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.28
  • 2 carrots $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 8 oz. mushrooms $1.49
  • 1 zucchini $0.90
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1/2 lb. rotini (not cooked) $0.50
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 24 oz. pasta sauce $1.49
  • 4 oz. mozzarella, shredded (optional) $0.83

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • While the vegetables are sautéing, slice the mushrooms. Once sliced, add them to the pot with the other vegetables and continue sautéing.
  • While the rest of the vegetables are sautéing, dice the zucchini and bell pepper.
  • Once the bell pepper and zucchini are diced, add them to the pot along with the rotini, basil, oregano, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. It's okay if the broth doesn't fully submerge the pasta.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil.
  • Once the broth reaches a full boil, give the pasta a quick stir, replace the lid, then turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta simmer over medium-low, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  • Once the pasta is tender, add the pasta sauce to the pot and stir to combine. Top with the shredded cheese then place the lid back on the pot. Let the pasta heat for a few minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 1573mg | Fiber: 8g
Close up of one pot veggie pasta being lifted on a spoon

How to Make One Pot Veggie Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Onion carrot and garlic in the pot

Mince two cloves of garlic, dice one yellow onion, and slice 2 carrots. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to a large pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft.

Sliced mushrooms added to the pot

While the garlic, onion, and carrots are sautéing, slice 8oz. mushrooms (or you can buy pre-sliced). Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and continue to sauté while you chop the rest of the vegetables. Chop one zucchini and one red bell pepper.

pasta, vegetables, and broth added to the pot

Add the chopped zucchini and bell pepper to the pot along with 8oz. rotini (not cooked), ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp oregano, and 2 cups vegetable broth.

Stirred but uncooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Stir everything together. Don’t worry about the pasta not being fully submerged in the broth. I promise it still works. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring the broth to a boil. When it reaches a full boil, give everything a quick stir, put the lid back on top, and turn the heat down to medium-low.

Cooked pasta and vegetables in the pot

Let the pasta and vegetables simmer, stirring occasionally and always replacing the lid, until the pasta is tender and there is very little liquid left on the bottom of the pot.

Pasta sauce being poured into the pot

Add a 24 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce and stir to combine.

Shredded cheese being added on top

Top the pasta with 4 oz. shredded mozzarella. Place the lid back on the pot and let the pasta sit for about 2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted.

Finished one pot veggie pasta garnished with parsley

And then it’s done! I garnished with a little chopped parsley to make it pretty, but it’s totally unnecessary for flavor.

Close up side view of a bowl of veggie pasta with cheese

Enjoy!

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