Easy Baked Ziti with Sausage and Baby Kale

Like a lasagna but quicker to make, this easy baked ziti is one of our weeknight dinner favorites. Italian sausage, baby kale, gooey mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce create a flavor reminiscent of meat-lovers pizza. Hidden sugar often lurks in packaged tomato sauces, so I recommend choosing a no sugar added tomato sauce or you can make a quick homemade sauce for this dish.

easy baked ziti_jennifer tyler lee

Easy Baked Ziti with Sausage and Baby Kale

Serves 8

1 lb ziti or penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
4 cups no sugar tomato sauce
4 ounces baby kale, about 4 cups
8 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 cups
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil and cook the pasta until it begins to soften but is not fully cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Heat the now empty pot over medium heat, then add the olive oil, garlic, sausage, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned, about 7 minutes.

4. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Bring the tomato mixture to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, stir to combine, and simmer until the leaves are wilted, about 1 minute. Adjust seasoning to taste.

5. Off the heat, then stir in the cooked pasta. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to a 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining pasta mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until bubbling, 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese begins to brown, 10 minutes more.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Quick Tip: To make a quick homemade tomato sauce, use one 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes and add 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Variation: To make this vegetarian, substitute 8oz mushrooms for the sausage. You can also use baby spinach in place of the kale.

Easy Baked Ziti with Sausage and Baby Kale
 
Italian sausage, baby kale, gooey mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce create a flavor reminiscent of meat-lovers pizza in this easy baked ziti.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ziti or penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups no sugar tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces baby kale, about 4 cups
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 cups
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil and cook the pasta until it begins to soften but is not fully cooked through, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat the now empty pot over medium heat, then add the olive oil, garlic, sausage, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Bring the tomato mixture to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the kale, stir to combine, and simmer until the leaves are wilted, about 1 minute. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Off the heat, then stir in the cooked pasta. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to a 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Add the remaining pasta mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
  6. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until bubbling, 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until cheese begins to brown, 10 minutes more.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.