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Spinach Baked Ziti is an easy baked pasta recipe that is ready in about half the time of lasagna! It’s cheesy, comforting, and flavored with fresh garlic and Italian herbs.

Want more pasta recipes? Try my Pasta and Peas or Cajun Chicken Pasta next!

Baked ziti in a baking dish with a serving spoon.
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Why I Love This Recipe

  • Easier Than Lasagna – This baked ziti has all the flavors of lasagna, but is ready in half the time.
  • Three Kinds of Cheese – With ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, this recipe is super creamy and cheesy.
  • Make Ahead Recipe – Spinach Baked Ziti can easily be made ahead and it’s perfect for sharing with neighbors or friends in need.
  • Easily Feed A Crowd – Got a large group to feed? This recipe can easily serve 10 people with a couple of sides. It also makes delicious leftovers.

Visual Recipe walk-through

How To Make Spinach Baked Ziti

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the Ziti pasta according to the package instructions and set aside. You can also use penne, rotini, or any other smaller pasta shape.

Cook onions and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I prefer fresh garlic for flavor, but you can also use jarred garlic if that’s what you have.

Marinara sauce with spinach in a saute pan.

Stir in the marinara sauce and baby spinach. This will look like a lot of spinach, but trust me it will cook way down. I like to use jarred marinara sauce to keep things easy, but you can also use homemade like in this recipe.

Mix together the ricotta, egg, parsley, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. I highly recommend freshly shredded mozzarella because it melts more easily. Same with the Parmesan.

Marinara sauce with spinach in a baking dish.

Spread some of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Marinara, pasta and ricotta layered in a baking dish.
Layered pasta, marinara, ricotta and breadcrumbs in a baking dish.
Layered ziti pasta with shredded cheese.

Add layers of pasta, ricotta mixture, and marinara sauce, topping the final layer with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

Baked spinach ziti in a white baking dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Ricotta Cheese Substitute

Cottage cheese is a close substitute for ricotta cheese in baked pasta dishes like baked ziti or lasagna. It adds the cheesy flavor that we love and it’s easier to find at the grocery store.

Don’t like the texture? Blend it! It will become super creamy and spreadable.

Recipe Tips

  • Add Protein – You can easily add cooked Italian sausage or ground beef or ground turkey to the marinara sauce.
  • Ricotta Cheese Substitute – Use cottage cheese.
  • Spinach Substitute – Use sauteed kale. Kale can take a bit longer than spinach to cook down, so adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Servings – This Baked Ziti recipe can feed 6 people if you are not serving with sides. If you are serving with sides, like a steakhouse salad or another sauteed asparagus, this ziti can easily feed 10 people.

Serving Suggestions

I love to serve this family favorite with Olive Garden Copycat Salad and Garlic Breadsticks.

Baked Ziti works well with starters like Pesto Bruschetta, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Spinach Artichoke Dip. For more veggie sides, try Arugula Salad, Air Fryer Green Beans, or Roasted Broccolini.

Storage Tips

Storage and Make Ahead

Storage – Leftovers will be good for up to 3 days. Store, tightly covered, in the fridge and reheat portions in the microwave or the entire pan in the oven.

Make Ahead – You can prepare the baked ziti the evening before and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it. Take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter while the oven preheats.

Baked ziti on a plate and a cheesy pull with a fork.

More Baked Pasta Recipes

Recipe

Spinach Baked Ziti

4.75 from 4 votes
Spinach Baked Ziti has all the flavors of lasagna, but is ready in half the time. It's cheesy and comforting for a perfect baked pasta dinner!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Ziti pasta
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 16 ounces Fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Small onion chopped
  • 6 Garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
  • 48 ounces Jarred marinara sauce
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella cheese Fresh off the block
  • 15 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Grated parmesan divided
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh minced parsley
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Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook ziti noodles according to the package instructions, then drain and set aside. Drizzle with olive oil to keep noodles from sticking together (optional).
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional minute.
  • Stir in the marinara sauce and spinach. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, parsley, ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese.
  • Spread about a cup of sauce evenly over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer half of the noodles and top that with the ricotta mixture and half of the remaining sauce. (For the ricotta, you can just add dollops evenly over the noodles as it likely won't spread easily).
  • Continue layering: remaining noodles, remaining sauce, remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan.
  • Bake in the preheated 350℉ oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly brown on top. Rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

Make ahead: When you finish the layers, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 689kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 35gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 1594mgPotassium: 1452mgFiber: 8gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 8927IUVitamin C: 41mgCalcium: 561mgIron: 6mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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