Baked Ziti

Okay. Here’s a dilemma.  You are going to an outing, say a family or friend’s picnic.  What to bring?   Hmmm.  Now you can bring the old stand-by…a green salad, which is fine, but what if all the rest of the dishes are meat or otherwise non-vegan?  While you be satisfied with salad?  I like to bring a Baked Ziti dish which is not all that far from a regular Baked Ziti.  I was going to wait until I had a picture of this dish to put out my recipe, but I just made a big batch and thought you might need to make it with the holidays and all.  It’s not your standard picnic fare, but who doesn’t like pasta? 

Baked Ziti

2 boxes Whole Wheat Ziti or Penne                1 24 oz jar of Tomato Sauce, your choice

1 can diced tomatoes, 28 oz                           1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped                                  1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced                                    1 -2 10 oz pkg mushrooms, white, or baby bella

1 pkg fake sausage, or crumbles or both           1 pkg frozen veggies, optional

Olive oil                                                           1 teaspoon each: basil, parsley and raw sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper 

Prepare pasta as directed for al dente pasta, (or not quite fully cooked). Fry onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers in a small amount of olive oil until onions are translucent. Add fake sausage and or crumbles and fry until heated sausage looks golden or heated thoroughly.  If you are using frozen veggies, thaw them and heat until warm. Get a large lasagna foil pan, and spread a thin layer of olive oil on the bottom.  Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on oil layer.

Add your pasta, fried onions, garlic, peppers, sausage and/or crumbles and optional veggies to the pan. Add the remainder tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, basil, parsley, sugar, salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix everything in the pan, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350′. 

When we take this dish anywhere, we don’t tell anyone it’s a vegan dish. They don’t know until one of us says something and even then they don’t believe it. 

There are variations of this dish. Sometimes I add tofu, just out of the package, crumbled like ricotta cheese.  Experiment with your own preferred veggies.

I guess this is why we call this the vegan for meat eaters blog. We are still trying to imitate dishes that contain meat. I can live with that as long as we don’t go too far with what we use.  We don’t use the ‘fake’ stuff often because even though there is no meat or dairy products in these products, there seems to be a lot of processing and we are trying to get away from that.  So for now, this is a happy medium, and we can be satisfied with one dish we know we can eat when we go visiting. 

I hope you all had a nice weekend. Here on the East Coast I think we all enjoyed the hot weather.  I am looking forward to a summer full of healthy and tasty veggies. We go to the farmer’s market every Saturday and pick up what ever our Amish friends have grown.  We have enjoyed a plentiful harvest of spinach, which I simmer with veggie broth and garlic. Sometimes I will use olive oil and garlic. We also use the spinach in our salads.

Until tomorrow….