Weight Watchers Recipe of the Day: Mom's Easy Baked Ziti Made Lighter
For some reason "easy baked ziti" popped into my head today as I was peering into the fridge this afternoon.
A favorite growing up, I haven't made it for years.
But as I was contemplating what to make for dinner, I saw staring back at me a everything I needed to put together a pan of easy baked ziti - cooked pasta, cottage cheese and a package of ground turkey.
Now there are dozens of ways to make an easy baked ziti from simple to complex.
You can use sausage or ground beef or turkey or make it vegetarian. And whatever variety and combination of cheese you prefer.
In some recipes everything is stirred together and in others the pasta and sauce are layered like in lasagna.
I'm sure everyone has their favorite, but this simple easy version is based on what was available today in my kitchen.
This is an easy versatile recipe. Feel free to substitute sausage for the ground beef or turkey (or leave it out for a vegetarian option.) You also can add extra vegetables, cooked chopped mushrooms, zucchini, peppers and spinach all would be good.
How Many Calories and WW Points in this Baked Pasta?
According to my calculations each serving has 364 calories and:
9 *SmartPoints (Green plan)
8 *SmartPoints (Blue plan)
7 *SmartPoints (Purple plan)
9 *PointsPlus (Old plan)
To see your WW PersonalPoints for this recipe and track it in the WW app or site, Click here!
Meat - Ground beef, ground turkey, or sausage would work, as would sliced meatballs
Cheese - Ricotta or cottage cheese for creaminess. A layer of fresh slice mozzarella or provolone would be nice
Veg it Up - Add chopped cooked mushrooms, zucchini, peppers or spinach
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If you like this Easy Baked Ziti Made Lighter, be sure to check out some of my other Weight Watchers friendly recipes including Healthy 4-Ingredient Pasta with Pesto & Tomatoes, Creamy Slow Cooker Bacon Ranch Chicken Pasta, Skinny Sausage Pasta with Vegetables, Light & Creamy Slow Cooker Pasta Primavera and Slow Cooker Chicken Pasta Fagioli
If you've made this Oven-Baked Pasta, please give the recipe a star rating below and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. And stay in touch on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates.
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe
- 8 ounces ziti or other short cut pasta, uncooked (about 2 cups)
- ½ pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups non-fat cottage cheese (pureed in a blender for a creamier result, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, crumble meat in a large skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Add onions. Saute, breaking up the meat into crumbles, until it is fully cooked, about 10 minutes.
- Stir the spaghetti sauce into the meat.
- In large bowl, combine cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, parsley, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly. Add cooked ziti and mix well.
- Spread about ⅓ of the meat, onion, and spaghetti sauce mixture in bottom of prepared pan.
- Spoon ziti and cheese mixture into pan.
- Pour the remaining sauce mixture over the top. Sprinkle with a little more grated Parmesan if desired.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
- Meat - Ground beef, ground turkey, or sausage would work, as would sliced meatballs
- Cheese - Ricotta or cottage cheese for creaminess. A layer of fresh slice mozzarella or provolone would be nice
- Veg it Up - Add chopped cooked mushrooms, zucchini, peppers or spinach
*Points® calculated by WW. *PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® calculated by Simple Nourished Living; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated WITHOUT each plan's ZeroPoint Foods (Green plan, Blue plan, Purple plan) using the WW Recipe Builder.
If you liked this lighter baked ziti, you might also like:
- Mom's Baked Gnocchi Bolognese Skillet
- Weight Watchers Tomato Chicken Feta Pasta
- Mediterranean Chicken and Pasta
- Baked Pasta with Zucchini and Cottage Cheese
- Skinny Artichoke Spinach Baked Pasta
Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.
This post contains affiliate links to products I like. When you buy something through one of my Amazon links or other (affiliate links), I receive a small commission that helps support this site. Thank you for your purchase!
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I will try cook with this recipe, thank you for sharing!
These look so delicious! I HAVE to try them.
What is the serving size for this recipe? I wish you would put the serving size on all of your recipes please.
I too am looking for the size of the serving
Often when I make casseroles, I just cut it into 6 equal size pieces and scoop it out without measuring. This is what I did here so I can't provide you with an ounce or cup amount. Sorry about that. 1/6th of the entire amount is one serving. Hope this helps. - Martha
Sounds great and easy, but wondering if pan size was mentioned. I'm thinking 9x13 dividing 6 ways would be a nice portion... I guess that's what I will try?
Hi Becky, I used a smaller pan - 9x9 so it was thicker but I think a 9 x 13 will work.
I made this last night. I sauteed spinach, mushrooms, squash and red bell pepper and added it to the sauce. It was delicious! My husband even asked for seconds not knowing he was getting vegetables which I have a hard time getting him to eat.
Today I am going to make your Southwest Breakfast casserole in the slow cooker. My husband likes having dishes like that for breakfast.
At a swim meet this weekend I bought a Yeti cup. I am good about drinking water but think this will make it easier. The shop selling them was from Arizona. They were talking about how cold the water stays in them even out there.
Your Black Bean Nachos, spinach and artichoke pasta and Mediterrean Chicken are on the upcoming menu. We are back in Baseball season and I need to stay away from the food at the stadium.
I really enjoy your recipes. They have helped me stay on track.
I'd love to make your recipes, but they do not have the smart points counted, so it is hard to make them.
Hi Andrea, many of my recipes do have SmartPoints. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to update some of my older recipes that were made back when WW was using PointsPlus.
I don't really know why, but i followed this recipe exactly and it looks nothing at all like the picture. WAY too much sauce for 1/2 pound of meat, and way too much sauce for the amount of required pasta. Not really sure how to fix this??
I am new to Weight Watchers and I made this recipe. I put it in the recipe builder and it came out to be 11 points. Do you know why this would be?
Hi Barbara, There can be variations with ingredients selected from the recipe builder. The only things I can think of that would increase the points is a different fat content of ground beef or ricotta cheese. Hope this helps.
Hey Martha! This looks delicious and I can't wait to try it. I was wondering what kind of spaghetti sauce you used (prego, ragu...)?
Hi Kip, I like Classico Tomato Basil sauce because it has less sugar than some of the others but I would say use whatever you like best. - Martha
I had a pound of thawed ground turkey, so I doubled the recipe. It filled both a 3 quart container and a 2 quart container. Makes lots! I used Kirkland Marinara sauce (which has no sugar), and 2 cups of lowfat cottage cheese mixed with 2 cups lowfat ricotta. I will freeze one of the containers to save for another day. After we've eaten this dish, I'll update this comment, but so far so good. I enjoy your healthy recipes.
Lighter version of a pasta and cheese meal.
Delicious!!! I am not a huge pasta eater but my husband likes it so I try to make something healthy with pasta occasionally. This dish was sooooo good! It will definitely be one a regular in my rotation! Thank you!!
I am not a huge pasta person but i try to make it occasionally for my hubby. I used ricotta cheese and added some mushrooms and bell peppers- this was amazing!! So delicious and a huge hit with hubby. This will become part of our regular rotation! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!!
(fellow Phoenician and WWer)
Michelle, Thanks for taking the time to let me know. So happy to hear you liked it 🙂