Tag Archives: pasta

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.  


More on Veggies…


We don’t eat a 100% raw diet, and the kids eat more cooked food than I do.  It certainly is easier to get kids to eat cooked veggies than raw, but raw is totally possible (see the two posts below).   For dinner we either have a large salad or a plate of raw veggies (often sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper) followed by a cooked side, typically vegetable, but on occasion egg or grain (millet, buckwheat, quinoa, spelt, or sprouted grains).  The other night we had one of our favorite dishes and I wanted to share it here because it shows that you can get a variety of vegetables into your children in a way that they really enjoy.  Never underestimate the power of a good marinara sauce!  I will often just steam or roast veggies and warm up a high quality marinara or pizza sauce for dipping, we love this!  Also, anything you use marinara on becomes even more magical with raw cheddar style goat cheese, or mozzarella goat cheese melted over the top.   I’m careful about how much of this I eat, because I don’t handle fats well, but it really fancies things up for the kids.

Also, on a side note, notice all the pics are taken outside?  I do often take pics outside simply because our house has terrible lighting and everything comes out yellow and fuzzy, but for the most part the photos were taken outside because that’s where we were eating.  I see no reason for eating indoors in nice weather.  If you haven’t made a habit of outdoor dining on a regular basis, I highly recommend it!  A very important part of digestion is relaxation and oxygen, and being outside offers far more of both than inside does.



How I make it (feel free to use any veggies you personally like):


4 large or 6 small zucchinis, spiralized (you can also just slice them thin, but making them into noodles is so much more fun!)

1/2 can black olives, sliced

1 can artichoke hearts, sliced

1 head garlic, cloves sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 bell pepper or a large handful of multi-colored mini peppers, diced

2 portobello mushrooms, diced

large handful spinach, chopped (I usually add this but didn’t this time)

1 jar marinara sauce (I like to use Muir Glen or Kirkland Signiture)

a few tsp Italian seasoning

small pat of butter


First, I saute the garlic and onion in a wee bit of butter, until slightly tender, then I add the peppers and wait until those are tender.  Next, I toss in the mushrooms and wait until they just begin to darken,then add the olives and artichoke hearts.  Once everything is warmed up and tender I add the marinara and Italian seasoning.  I wait until that is warm and just starting to bubble, then put in the zucchini and spinach.  You could severe it just like this, if you happen to like raw zucchini.  It would be better health-wise, for sure… but for those of us who don’t care for raw zucchini (myself and my kids) keep it cooking until the zucchini is just tender and the spinach is wilted.  Serve.