Tag Archives: healthy

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Baked Ziti and Eggplant Garlic “Bread”


And I’m back in the game for a BIG win!

The baby is 6 weeks old now and I’ve finally been making some appearances in the kitchen these past 2 weeks.  Mostly I’ve just been throwing simple things together for dinner in attempt to fill everyone’s bellies with something remotely healthy.  The other day I was walking through Costco, quickly checking items off my shopping list when inspiration stopped me in my tracks.  Ancient grain, gluten-free penne noodles.  Why, I cannot say.  I don’t even like noodles generally.  I did however used to LOVE my baked ziti recipe, which involved Italian sausage, ricotta, Parmesan and a WHOLE lot of mozzarella.  I haven’t eaten it in years.  I used to often make it with penne noodles because I could rarely find ziti.  So seeing the penne made me think of ziti, and that got me thinking about how I could come up with a yummy, healthier version.

That treasured flame I haven’t felt in almost a year was lit.  I spent the next few days mentally manifesting my creation… and it paid off, big time.  The whole family loved it, and that almost NEVER happens!  

Now, I made pasta to feed an army.  I used the entire Costco sized bag.  I regret that I didn’t even look to see how much that was.  I believe it was 6 cups, uncooked.  In the end it made 3 casseroles.  We ate 1 1/2 for dinner, my husband took the leftovers to work for lunch, and I put 1 in the freezer for a day in the future when we need a quick meal.  I love that kind of back up.  So, if you want to make less, reduce the recipe, but it does freeze well and is great to have on hand.


Gluten-Free Vegetarian Baked Ziti

1 Costco bag of Gluten-Free Ancient Grains Penne noodles

3 small or 2 large zucchini, sliced and quartered

About 2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced

A few tsp oil (olive or coconut)

2 jars marinara sauce (preferably organic)

4-6 oz soft goat cheese

1/2 (or more) tsp fennel seeds  (to give it that Italian sausage flavor)

About 7 oz goat mozzarella, grated


Preheat oven to 375.

Cook noodles according to package directions, rinse well, drain and set aside.  Place zucchini, mushrooms and garlic on a baking sheet and toss in oil.  Roast for about 20 minutes, until tender.  To the pot of noodles add roasted veggies, sauce, soft goat cheese and fennel seeds.  Mix well*.   Divide into 3 casserole dishes.  ~If you’re planning to freeze any, line the dish with plastic wrap, add the cooled pasta mixture, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.  When it is fully frozen you can remove it from the dish, wrap it in foil or wax freezer paper and store it in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat it remove the wrap, put it back in the same dish you froze it in, let it thaw for several hours, top with grated mozzarella, and cook.~  To the one(s) you’re planning to cook now, top with grated goat mozzarella and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 12 minutes.


*The soft goat cheese should melt if the noodles are still warm.  If you don’t want the cheese melted in you could also just crumble it on top once you get it into the casserole dishes.


I have to apologize for this terrible photo. My camera isn’t the greatest and apparently neither is the lighting in my dining room.

Eggplant Garlic “Bread”

1 Eggplant

garlic powder

sea salt

Olive or coconut oil


Peel eggplant and slice into 1/2″ rounds.  Sprinkle with salt and let sit about 30 minutes.  Rinse well and pat dry.  Brush lightly with oil on both sides, sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt, and place on baking try in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.  They are done when they are dry on the surface and beginning to turn golden brown.  


Pizza’s Many Forms


It seems I never run out of ways of making pizza.  All the recipes are essentially the same, Muir Glen pizza sauce, all our favorite veggies, and Mozarella and Jack Goat cheese, but the forms are different.  Tonight, at my son’s request, I made pizza yet again, but this time I put it on Ezekiel burger buns, which gave my daughter the idea to put the buns together and make a pizza burger : )  I needed to use up the Morning Star vegan breakfast sausage in my freezer that was left over from the “vegan week” my husband did a while ago, so I threw some of that on there.  Normally we don’t eat soy, so most of our pizzas are just veggie.  Anyway, here are some pizza ideas to inspire you…


Pizza on Ezekiel buns


Pizza on Ezekiel buns as a “pizza burger” 


Weekly movie night at our house, dinner and dessert and a movie followed by a camp out in the living room. Go-to meals: Pizza or sweet potato fries. Always begun with a big, raw, green salad, of course : )


Zucchini Pizza Boats (my favorite). Cut zucchini lengthwise, scoop out centers (I use a melon baller). Bake about 20 mins at 350, fill with toppings of choice and bake again until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Cauliflower crust pizza… okay, maybe this one is really my favorite, I just don’t like the effort it takes to make it! I have to make a quadruple recipe to make enough for myself and my children for dinner. You can find the recipe for the crust here: http://detoxinista.com/2012/01/the-secret-to-perfect-cauliflower-pizza-crust/


Pizza on Ezekiel bread, same as making it on buns (and you can also use sprouted grain bagels or English muffins). Just put the bread in the oven for 10 mins at 400 degrees, take it out and top it and put it back in until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Skillet pizza. Just the toppings, no crust, which means no grain! Sautee your veggies in a tiny bit of organic butter, extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil until tender. Toss in the pizza sauce, top with goat cheese or raw cow cheese, and cover with a lid until melted. This is SO VERY yummy!!!!!

Raw Pizza… for the adventurous! This one has Ani Phyo’s eggplant bacon, her vegan cheese, one of her crusts and sauces, and pineapple. Warning on raw pizzas: there are a LOT of nuts in here, which are very high fat and difficult to digest. Don’t go thinking just because its raw it will benefit your health! There is no healthy pizza, sorry to say, these are all occasional recipes!

I’ve got a few other recipes I’d like to try, like one with an almond flour crust and one with a spelt crust.  If I could find one that uses millet flour I would be most excited, but I do like to stick to the zucchini boats or  skillet pizza.  Of course, I should also add, I don’t eat this often as its not low fat, but its great to know I can indulge in ooey-gooey cheesy goodness when I want to!