With the myriad of dishes that can be prepared sans meat, I still find myself often struggling with what to cook for Meatless Monday. Pasta always seems to be the easy solution, but it can become boring rather quickly to use that as my go-to ingredient all the time. Despite that, I’m going with a pasta theme for this week’s Meatless Monday recipe simply because I had never made this dish before and thought, “What the heck? I’ll give it a go.” So I gave it a go.
This dish has lasagna-esqe tendencies, what with the layering and all, but it brings a whole different flavor profile to the table. Yes, there’s ricotta in there, but I also decided to introduce a new element to the mix by adding whipped sour cream. Bear in mind, this recipe was completed in my head before it ever made it to the oven, so I was taking a huge culinary risk. On the up side, I’m usually pretty good at predicting what flavor profiles work well with my palate, and this Spaghetti Bake was no exception. I hope you enjoy today’s dish. Bon appetit!
Vegetarian Spaghetti Bake
- 6 ounces thin spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1 (14 oz) jar of chunky garden vegetables pasta sauce
- 1 1/2 cups of chives flavored whipped cream cheese spread (I used Philadelphia)
- 1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch square or 11×7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook spaghetti noodles al dente, drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, add the chopped zucchini, onions and peppers. Add 1 tablespoon of Italian season and coat vegetables well. Transfer to a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté until tender, about 5-7. Remove from heat and stir in the pasta sauce, remaining Italian seasonings and black pepper.
In another bowl, blend the ricotta and whipped cream cheese; mix well.
Spread roughly 1/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Next, spread half of spaghetti on top of sauce, then add the cheese mixture and spread it evenly over the spaghetti. Cover the spaghetti with half of the remaining pasta sauce. Top with remaining spaghetti, then top that with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly on top.
Bake uncovered for about 30-35 minutes until hot and browned and the cheese bubbles a little. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so to set.