Zucchini & Eggplant Baked Rotini

Baked Pasta 2

Pasta has never been a big staple in my house; we tend to eat more leafy greens, proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables. If we ever did have pasta it was combined with a salad or maybe turkey or beef meatballs. The other night I wanted to make a baked pasta casserole thingy because Carolyn made one last week and it looked absolutely delicious (it was tasty too!). She followed a recipe when she made it, but I decided to wing it and only use a recipe to tell me what temperature and how long to cook the pasta for.

I chose to use eggplant, zucchini, spinach and cherry tomatoes in my baked pasta. Roasted zucchini and eggplant pair perfectly with pasta, plus, they are two of my favorite vegetables (: I also like cooked cherry tomatoes. It might seem gross, but when they are cooked all the juices come out and flavor the rest of the dish and that’s why I like them. If I had more time to cook this dish I would have made my own pasta sauce, but I didn’t have the ingredients nor the patience so I save that challenge for another time.

Instead of using regular gluten-free pasta, I chose brown rice pasta. It is slightly healthier than regular gluten-free pasta and I think it has a great flavor. Rotini worked really well for this recipe, but if you don’t have any, you can use macaroni noodles, bow-tie pasta or penne. You want to pick pasta that has thick noodles, spaghetti wouldn’t work too well since its super stringy and long.

This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups brown rice rotini
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1 eggplant, cut into bite size cubes
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups pasta sauce of your choice
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

IMG_0695

1) Preheat oven to 400F and chop all the vegetables. Toss the chopped vegetables (not including spinach) in a bowl with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Shake the pan a few times while the veggies are cooking to make sure they don’t burn.

2) Bring a quart or two of water to a boil and cook the brown rice pasta for 7-8 minutes (al dente). Strain and set aside.

3) In a sauce pan sauté spinach. Transfer spinach to a large bowl and add the roasted vegetables, garlic and pasta. Add 2 cups of garlic and basil pasta sauce and stir until the pasta is all coated.

IMG_0696

4) Transfer half of the pasta mix into a casserole dish and  sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the other half of the pasta and mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

Baked Pasta

 

We had a lot of leftovers, so I covered it with some press n’ seal and stored it in the fridge. I had it for lunch today and it was still super delicious!

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