Healthy Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on July 5, 2011

Today is my birthday, and it’s also a special day because it’s 3 days away from my 4 year wedding anniversary (July 8th), and 4 days away until the hubby and I move into our new place (July 9th)! So in honor of my birthday, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes that I recently made – a healthy version of Baked Ziti (“Healthy Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables”). This is one of those recipes that is so comforting and homey, but also amazingly flavorful that makes it seem like it came from a fancy restaurant.

The first time I made this my husband LOVED it – he said it was hearty and couldn’t believe it was good for him too. I created this recipe from a FoodNetwork recipe I found from Giada De Laurentis. The original recipe is much less healthy (which you can see in my modification notes below in purple). But I promise, this version doesn’t skimp on any of the flavor from the original!

The Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes   
  • 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cremini mushrooms, halved (I ended up using about 8 cremini mushrooms)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil I used about 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence (I didn’t have this, so I used 2 tsp dried oregano + 2 tsp dried basil + garlic powder and a pinch of crushed red pepper)
  • 1 pound penne pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade) (I used Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese; 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella; 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping (I used about 1-1.5 cups of cheese total, and I used a fontina, mozarella & parmesan blend)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces I omitted this – you don’t need it!
The Directions
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Step 1: Chop all the veggies and preheat your oven to 450 degrees
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Step 2: On a baking sheet (or in a casserole dish/large pan), toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
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Step 3: Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

Step 4: Once the veggies are done, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. If you used a large casserole dish/pan to roast the veggies in, you can just dump all of the additional ingredients (pasta etc.) into that pan to mix everything together (that’s what I’d recommend!). Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Step 5: Top the pasta with the remaining cheese (about 1/3 cup).

Step 6: Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

I love how gooey and bubbly the cheese gets once it’s all melted!

The veggies were perfectly cooked, and the whole wheat pasta gave the dish a great nutty quality. This is definitely a husband favorite in our recipe book!

Healthy Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Calories per serving: 350

Fat per serving: 8.5g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 350 Calories, 8.5g Fat, 551.2mg Sodium, 59.9g Carbs, 10g Fiber, 10.6g Sugar, 16.1g Protein

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
  • 1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1-1.5 cups of shredded Italian cheese (keep about 1/3 cup for the topping separate) (I used a fontina, mozzarella & parmesan blend)

Directions

  1. Chop all the veggies and preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. On a baking sheet (or in a casserole dish/large pan), toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.
  4. Once the veggies are done, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. If you used a large casserole dish/pan to roast the veggies in, you can just dump all of the additional ingredients (pasta etc.) into that pan to mix everything together (that’s what I’d recommend!). Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
  5. Top the pasta with the remaining cheese (about 1/3 cup).
  6. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Notes

Adapted from FoodNetwork.com

http://pickyeaterblog.com/healthy-baked-penne-with-roasted-vegetables/

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Sowmya July 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

That looks totally delish, Anjali! And oh, many happy returns of the day!! 🙂

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Spiceaholic July 5, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Happy birthday! The penne looks amazing!

And happy anniversary in advance. 🙂

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Kelly July 6, 2011 at 8:21 am

Ohh this looks so delicious!! I might actually make this tonight! Happy Anniversary! 🙂

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Lauren at Keep It Sweet July 6, 2011 at 9:02 am

Happy birthday!!! What a fun and exciting week for you:-)

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torviewtoronto July 6, 2011 at 11:23 am

delicious combination of flavours
happy birthday

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Danielle July 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

That looks absolutely delicious and so easy. Happy birthday and anniversary and congratulations..merry christmas happy new year and the rest!

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Lindsey@Lindselicious July 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Super healthy and super yummy! Love it when its a win win. =) Happy bday and have a great anniversary.

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Jan's Tasty Eats July 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Happy Birthday! This dish looks like a great summer pasta treat

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kankana July 8, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I know I am late but then birthday celebration should go on for a week :)Wish you a very happy birthday and hope you have loads and loads of fun. That pasta dish looks lovely and delicious.

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Hearty Eugene July 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

Yummy Yummy! Happy Birthday!!! What a fun and exciting week for you.

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Yosefa @nonrecipe July 24, 2011 at 7:59 am

Congrats and happy birthday! My birthday is also just before my anniversary in May. This looks really yummy. I usually overindulge on unhealthy things and end up with a stomach ache on my birthday. I like how you showed the original recipe and your edits. I just found your blog through google. Are you a vegitarian? We eat meat about 3 times a month (especially now that I’m pregnant) but I have lots of vegan stuff on my blog. I want to do more restaurant reviews. It’s so much fun, even though I feel funny taking pictures of the food. I feel like it’s a protected property, like taking pictures of art in a gallery.

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anjalim July 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog! I am a vegetarian (so is my husband) – we’ve both been vegetarians for ~10 years now. I have lots of friends who were vegetarian but started eating meat when they were pregnant (like you!) to get more protein 🙂 You should definitely do restaurant reviews! I’ve found that the waiters/other diners are pretty understanding of you taking pictures of the food – especially if you tell them you have a food blog. Looking forward to connecting with you more through our blogs!

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Megan J April 5, 2013 at 5:56 am

This looks AMAZING!! I’m definitely adding this to my pepperplate (It’s an app for recipes). Penne is one of my favorite pastas lol no twirling!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater April 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

Oh awesome!! I’m sure you will love this recipe – penne is one of my favorite pastas too! 🙂

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Sonali October 24, 2013 at 5:02 am

This recipe is such a hit with my family! I am on holiday in India at the moment and made this one day and they loved it, and want it all the time! Thank you 🙂

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater October 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Oh wow!! That’s so wonderful! Thanks for letting me know Sonali! 🙂

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Gloria December 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

I am looking for new recipes that are low fat and low sodium. My husband suffered a mild heart attack and I am trying to get all the dairy out of our diet. With out the salt things taste bland so I am looking for ways to use spices to make things taste better. This recipes looks delicious and I will be trying it soon.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater December 31, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Hi Gloria! I’m so sorry to hear about your husband — that must have been so scary! But yes, makes sense what you’re doing with his dietary changes. I hope a modified version of this recipe hits the spot for both of you! Let me know how it goes!

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Fiona February 12, 2015 at 12:57 am

Yum wow this looks so good – and even better if my 9 month old daughter can have it! Yum this one is going down for me to try next week! thanks

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater February 12, 2015 at 5:08 am

Perfect! I’m sure you will love this recipe Fiona!

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Andika January 17, 2016 at 1:26 am

Just FYI. You should NEVER cook extra virgin olive oil. It not only will taste foul but it’s also cancerous, as heating extra virgin olive oil above 70C will convert it to formaldehyde. Cook w rapeseed oil or coconut oil, and drizzle olive oil on before serving.

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater January 19, 2016 at 10:44 am

Hi Andika, that is actually a myth. While it was previously thought that extra virgin olive oil becomes carcinogenic when cooking, that has been disproven. See the summary of the research here and here. Extra virgin coconut oil is a great option for cooking – but extra virgin olive oil works well too! Hope that helps clear things up!

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Pooja Tappoo August 15, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Hi Anjali, this recipe looks delicious. My husband and I are vegetarians too! Going to try this recipe tonight.. Hopefully he will love it!

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Awesome!! This is one of my absolute favorite recipes Pooja – I’m sure you and your husband will love it! Let me know how it goes!

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Pooja Tappoo August 16, 2016 at 2:26 am

My hubby loved it a lot! Thanks a ton! I am so excited to try more recipes from your blog as they are all vegetarian recipes. Wish I had an option to upload the pictures of my pasta..

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Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 16, 2016 at 5:11 am

Awesome! So happy to hear that Pooja! I can’t wait for you to try more of my recipes – I’m sure you will love them! As for a pic of your pasta, unfortunately my comments won’t support images but you can email it to me if you’d like! (at pickyeats@gmail.com). I’d love to see it!

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