The Best Zucchini Baked Ziti

Zucchini baked ziti is the low carb version of the favorite Italian dish yet still gives you that cheesy comfort food feeling! You are going to want to bookmark this recipe because it’s guaranteed to be a family favorite!

A casserole dish full of zucchini baked ziti next to a red striped towel.

I love, love, love baked ziti. It’s one of my very favorite pasta dishes. I have been making classic baked ziti for years and order it almost every time I got to Olive Garden. Another favorite low carb casserole recipe is creamy pesto chicken. Make sure you check out our long list of Zucchini Recipes, too!

Low Carb Baked “Ziti”

Lately, I have been making a portion of it low carb with zucchini noodles for my husband. The zoodles come out surprisingly tender and absorb all of the marinara and cheese – making it hard to tell that they aren’t actually spaghetti. We tested it on our kids and they thought they were eating spaghetti! 

So, of course, I had to share it with all of you. Because this healthier version of baked ziti is just too good not to share. 

A casserole dish with a pasta spoon filed with a scoop of zucchini baked ziti.

Cooking with zoodles

If you haven’t cooked with zoodles (aka zucchini noodles or zucchini spirals) before, don’t be afraid! They are incredibly easy to work with. You can make your own using a vegetable spritzer and fresh zucchini or use frozen zoodles as I do in this recipe.

Either way, you are going to want to sauté them first and drain any extra liquid using a mesh sieve before adding them to the casserole dish.

Zucchini noodles draining in a mesh sieve.

How to make zucchini baked ziti?

Making zucchini baked ziti is very similar to regular baked ziti. Really, the only difference is you are not using ziti, you are using zoodles. We layer them between a simple meat sauce (We use jarred marinara in this recipe but you can also make it from scratch using our instant pot spaghetti sauce recipe) and two different kinds of cheese (cheddar and mozzarella) and then top them with some grated parmesan cheese for an extra layer of flavor. 

Bake it to cheesy perfection in the oven for about 30 minutes and serve this delicious lightened-up comfort classic to your family and save any leftovers for lunch the next day.

Close up of scoop of baked zucchini

Can I freeze baked ziti with zucchini?

Unfortunately, zucchini is one of the only vegetables that don’t freeze well. I have not personally tried freezing this dish, but I would not recommend it. Zucchini has a really high water content and it may make the overall texture watery when it freezes and then defrosts. 

What to serve with baked zucchini?

Serve this with Cheesy Garlic Bread or a simple green salad.

A casserole dish with a pasta spoon filed with a scoop of zucchini baked ziti.

Zucchini Baked Ziti Recipe

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Zucchini baked ziti is the low carb version of the favorite Italian dish yet still gives you that cheesy comfort food feeling! You are going to want to bookmark this recipe because it's guaranteed to be a family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 2 (12-ounce) bags frozen zucchini spirals
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) jar marinera sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add frozen zucchini spirals. A covered skillet with frozen zucchini spirals.
  3. Cover and let cook, 6 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and flip. Season with salt and pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Drain the zucchini in a mesh sieve.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a medium sauce pan over medium high heat.
  7. Add the onion and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Ground beef, onion, and garlic in sauce pan.
  8. Cook until browned, about 6 minutes.
  9. Mix in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  10. Drain the fat from the ground beef and mix in the marinera sauce. Sauce poured over browned ground beef.
  11. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. A pan of cooked sauce and beef.
  12. Once meat sauce is cooked, start building your baked ziti dish.
  13. Start with half of the cooked zucchini spirals in an even layer in the prepared casserole dish. Zucchini noodles in a glass casserole dish.
  14. Spread half of the sauce over the zucchini and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzerella and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Sauce spread over zucchini.
  15. Repeat with reamining zucchini, sauce, and cheese.
  16. Sprinkle baked ziti with parmesan cheese. Cheese sprinkled on top of casserole.
  17. Place casserole in oven and bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling around the edges. Side view of zucchini baked ziti in glass casserole dish.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1/6
Amount Per Serving Calories 369Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 99mgSodium 512mgCarbohydrates 7gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 1gSugar 3gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 30g

Nutrition information is an estimate.

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Collage photo of baked zucchini and words "zucchini baked ziti" in green letters.

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