55 min serves 6-8

Stovetop Beef Baked Ziti

What to eat when there is one leftover carrot from the bunch, a couple of random tomatoes, and one questionable bell pepper in your refrigerator? Grab the box of pasta out of your pantry and the Pre Ground Beef out of your freezer and try this Stovetop Beef Baked Ziti, no oven required.

PREP: 10 min. ACTIVE: 20 min. PASSIVE: 25 min. DIFFICULTY Easy


  • 1 lb 85% Pre Lean Ground Beef
  • 2 tbsp. olive or neutral cooking oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (or 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1/2-1 yellow onion (or 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt & black pepper, to taste
  • Sugar, to taste (1 tbsp. max)

Your Choice of Hearty Vegetables (diced very small): 
  • Bell pepper
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
Your Choice of Tomato Base:
  • 1 jar marinara sauce + 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce + 2 cans diced tomatoes + 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 lb grated, fresh tomatoes
  • Your choice of pasta:
  • 1/2 lb ziti or penne
  • 3/4 lb rigatoni
  • Cheese Options:
    • 1 cup ricotta
    • 1 cup low-sodium cottage cheese (Break up in food processor first for a smoother finish.)
  1. Cook chosen pasta just shy of al dente (usually 3/4 of the time listed on the package). Reserve 2-3 cups pasta water.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven. Add the beef and cook until dark brown and very aromatic.
  3. Add diced vegetables (including onion if using fresh) and continue cooking until the veggies are tender and turning translucent.
  4. Add garlic and onion powder (if using), Italian seasoning, and tomato paste (if using). Continue cooking, stirring constantly, 2 minutes to bloom the spices and aromatics.
  5. Add tomato options. Bring to a low boil and turn the heat down to keep the sauce at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes. It should be very saucy.
  6. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta water 1 cup at a time, as needed, to keep the mixture saucy, 4-5 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
  7. Turn heat off. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and a touch of sugar.
  8. Stir in mozzarella cheese and plop ricotta or cottage cheese by the spoonful on top. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately. Makes excellent leftovers.


Stovetop Beef Baked Ziti

Amount per 100g

Recipe developed by   Sarah Beth Tanner