This healthier twist on a classic baked ziti utilizes gluten-free, protein rich chickepea pasta and ground turkey for an unforgetable weeknight meal that you'll feel great about feeding to your family.
1tbspred wine vinegarfeel free to add more for a spicier dish
8ozbox of ziti chickepea pastaI recommend the Banza brand. You can also use rigatoni or penne in a pinch.
1smallyellow onion, diced
25ozjar of marinara or pasta sauceuse your favorite brand
1cupchopped baby spinach(optional)
5tbspricottafull fat or low fat both work
½cupmozzarella cheese, finely shreddedfull fat or low fat both work
2-3tbspgrated parmesanfor sprinkling
fresh basil(optional) for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Boil chicken pasta to al dente according to box instructions, or for around 6-7 minutes. Be sure to test the pasta to make sure it doesn't overcook and get mushy.
Strain pasta into a collander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Combine dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil, paprika and salt in a small bowl and mix together. Set aside.
Add ½ tbsp of olive oil to a deep, nonstick skillet and sautee diced onion for about 3 minutes over medium high heat.
Add in 1 lb of ground turkey, minced garlic, spice mixture and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and cook over medium high heat for about 3-5 minutes until turkey is browned and cooked through.
Turn heat down to low and pour in one 25 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Remove from heat and add in 1 cup of chopped spinach (if using). Stir through until the spinach is wilted.
Spoon about ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of a 10 x 7 baking dish and spread to coat.
Pour the chickepea pasta into the remaining sauce and mix well.
Spoon about half of the pasta mixture into the dish and dot the top with around 5 tbsp of ricotta divided into ½ tbsp portions. Sprinkle with 1-2 tbsp of grated parmesan.
Spoon the remaining pasta into the dish and top with ½ cup of shredded mozzarella and another 1-2 tbsp of grated parmesan.
Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. If desired you can broil it for a minute or so to really brown the cheese on top but be sure to watch it closely so it doesn't burn.
Remove from oven and let cool on the counter for 5-10 minutes before serving.
I love using chickpea pasta in this dish because not only does it hold up next to the rich sauce but it's also rich in protein and fiber. However, if you don't have any on hand you can totally use regular ziti!