Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce

One thing I have been missing since becoming gluten free/dairy free is baked ziti! Finally, one of my sorority sisters and fellow gluten free dairy free girl told me about this great cheese from Daiya Foods and I knew my time to make my own baked ziti had come!

Baked Ziti with Meat Sauce


  • 1 pound ziti pasta (rice pasta is my favorite – great taste and texture)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound bulk ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or basil), minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of salt to taste
  • 1 large jar of marinara sauce (about 32 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound of Daiya mozzarella cheese (or a little more if you like it really cheesy!)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a strong boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add the pasta and boil, uncovered, until the pasta is a little less than al dente—Rice pasta can be tricky sometimes.The trick to making this dish really good is to avoid over cooking the pasta. It should be cooked even LESS than al dente and still too tough to eat. Take a few minutes off the cooking time that your rice pasta says. Drain the pasta through a colander. Toss with a little olive oil so the pasta does not stick together while you make the sauce.
  2. Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into a large sauté pan on medium-high to heat. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef. Brown well. Don’t stir that often or it will be more difficult for the meat to brown properly. Add a little salt.
  3. When the meat is mostly browned, add the onions and stir well to combine. Sauté everything until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary or basil, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole pan, then sprinkle the surface with some of the Daiya mozzarella cheese. Ladle in some sauce with the pasta, mix it well and add the pasta into the casserole.
  5. Pour the rest of the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle on top the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake in the oven until the top is nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

YAY!! I can enjoy Baked Ziti again!! Serve with some broccoli and ENJOY!! :)

Kwegyirba Croffie is a freelance Associate Producer at News 12 Connecticut and a Special Events/Event Planning and Social Media Intern at College Lifestyles (TM). She is a Quinnipiac University alumni and a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She enjoy cupcakes,Broadway musicals, Forever 21 ,giraffes, peacock feathers, orchids, lillies and anything Disney.