Gluten Free Baked ziti casserole with sweet Italian red pepper sauce is the comfort food you have been waiting for. Everything about this easy baked ziti recipe is perfection!
This gluten free baked ziti resembles lasagna, but the star ingredient is the red sweet Italian peppers. You can’t help but get hooked when you taste the gluten free ziti noodles with a sauce filled with meat, garlic, onions, basil, and peppers. It’s seriously so amazing!
If you are looking for more delicious kid-approved gluten free dinner ideas, don't forget to check out all of my delicious dinner recipes on the blog.
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Just a warning, this is a dinner my family loved so much, I barely got any photos for you. Apologies, I had hoped to get those beautiful pictures of this gluten free dinner recipe, but hopefully, you will get the idea from the pictures I did get.
I had a craving for lasagna one day but didn’t have any gluten free lasagna noodles so, I decided to experiment. Using gluten free ziti noodles, I made a similar sauce; however, this time I wanted to see what it would taste like to toss in some red sweet Italian peppers.
Oh my goodness! I am so glad I was out of lasagna noodles that day because we devoured every bite. It’s that good! Pair it with my Gluten Free Savory Bread Pudding Rolls, and you will be in food heaven! You can also change it up and use my homemade Gluten Free Alfredo Sauce if you feel like a white sauce!
If you ever struggle with overly soft pasta, find out how to cook gluten free pasta to avoid mushy pasta. You won't believe how one extra step can ensure you have al dente pasta every time!!
You'll love this baked ziti casserole and I hope you will check out some of my other gluten free pasta recipes:
- Easy Mexican Gluten Free Pasta
- Instant Pot Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Easy Creamy Ricotta Garlic Parmesan Pasta
- Savory Gluten Free Pasta Sauce With 3 Types Of Meats
- Gluten Free Spinach Pesto Pasta
In this recipe, I used Italian red sweet peppers, which aren’t hot at all. They are just like their name, sweet and they have almost a fruity flavor. These peppers are perfect for grilling, and they also taste fabulous when you stuff them with meat and cheese.
If you can't find these peppers, feel free to substitute red bell peppers.
My favorite way to serve red sweet Italian peppers is in this best-baked ziti recipe! If you have never tried them now is the time, you won’t regret it.
Are you ready to make this recipe?
The stars of this recipe are the Italian Sweet Peppers. They add a delicious flavor to the meat sauce, with a very slight hint of spice. These Italian Sweet Peppers are sweeter than bell peppers, and they taste great raw and in a recipe.
Again, feel free to substitute red bell peppers if you can't find the Italian sweet peppers.
Add ground beef, onion, garlic, and the Italian sweet peppers to a frying pan and cook on medium heat.
Once the ground beef is mostly cooked, add the tomato sauce.
Simmer the sauce on low, covered, for 20 minutes. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Next, add one layer of gluten free ziti to a casserole dish.
Now for the cheese.. layer ricotta cheese over the gluten free pasta.
Is ricotta cheese gluten free?
Traditionally, ricotta is not made with gluten products and should be gluten free. That being said, ALWAYS read the label just in case so that you can ensure the product is safe.
Add a layer of the sauce, then repeat with another ziti, ricotta, and sauce layer. Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
You know how much I like using food I have on hand to cook, and this ziti pasta dish is the same. If you don’t have gluten free ziti noodles on hand, don’t worry you can also use gluten free rigatoni or gluten free macaroni. You could even use gluten free lasagne noodles if you have them! You can’t go wrong because this recipe is so versatile.
Can I include meatballs in baked ziti?
Can this recipe be meal prepped?
Yes, assembling baked ziti ahead of time is super easy and makes it the perfect dish for meal prepping. You can either assemble the baked ziti and put it in a casserole dish then refrigerate for up to 3 days, then bake when you are ready to eat. Another option is to freeze the baked ziti casserole and then cook. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator the day before, and you can bake it as directed.
You can bake ziti casserole ahead of time then save the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Reheat it in the oven or microwave. Either way, it’s just as yummy as it is the first day! Perfect for a leisurely lunch or quick dinner too.
Bake casserole covered or uncovered?
Typically it’s best to cover any baked pasta dish for the first ¾ of the time it’s cooking. Then the last quarter, go ahead and remove the aluminum foil to finish it up.
Why? Because if you leave, it uncovered the entire time, the top will burn before the center has time to cook properly. Lightly spray the aluminum foil before placing it on top of the ziti casserole, so it doesn’t stick.
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Gluten Free Baked Ziti Casserole
- One box/package gluten free pasta cooked.
- 6 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cans tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 1/4 cup Italian sweet peppers
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- In a large 9x13 pan, add the olive oil, ground beef, onion, garlic, and pepper.
- Cook on medium heat until the ground beef is cooked.
- Add seasonings and tomato sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
- Spray a casserole dish with olive oil.
- Add 1/2 of the cooked ziti to the casserole dish.
- Top with 1/2 of the ricotta spread over the pasta.
- Pour half of the meat sauce on top of the pasta.
- Add another layer of pasta, ricotta, and sauce.
- Top with parmesan and mozzarella cheeses.
- Bake 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the flavors all cook together.
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