This ingenious recipe substitutes rutabaga for pasta and tastes so good even your Nonna would approve.
Like all cruciferous vegetables, rutabagas are recommended by the American Cancer Society as part of a cancer prevention diet. Rutabagas are loaded with a diverse range of nutrients that help prevent cancer and premature aging, improve digestion, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, prevent osteoporosis, improve metabolic and enzymatic functions, help prevent diabetes and aid in weight loss. They are also a great option for vegetarians because they are loaded with amino acids that provide the building blocks for protein. The high fiber content in rutabagas provides essential fiber for a healthy gut biome and aids in digestion. Rutabagas are a perfect combination, they are high in fiber, high in flavor, high in nutrients and low in calories.
I have long been a fan of substituting spiraled vegetables for noodles. This recipe uses the same general idea, but with rutabaga cut into ziti size pieces to replace the pasta. To make the texture and cooking time right, I partially steam the rutabaga ziti before assembling. I devised a simple recipe that is easy enough for a healthy weeknight dinner. There are some little tricks that make this recipe a snap. I love using a Leuke silicone steamer to streamline cooking the veggies. No messy pots and pans, just steam in the microwave in a fraction of the time. This makes cooking the greens and rutabaga a super quick process and there is no added water to squeeze out of the greens. I also use a pre-made tomato sauce and shredded cheeses to cut down on steps and time. The recipe can be made vegan by substituting vegan cheese and eliminating the eggs. Once you have mastered this recipe you can try substituting rutabaga for pasta in other recipes. Buon Appetito!
Rutabaga Baked Ziti Recipe
- 1 medium rutabaga peeled and cut into 2” ziti size sticks
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 24 oz jar favorite marinara sauce I love Rao’s
- 1 5 oz bag baby power greens spinach or kale
- 1 cup sautéed mushrooms-optional
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 3/4 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly cracked pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a medium size baking dish.
Peel and slice rutabaga into 2”ziti size pieces. Place in saute pan with 1” water and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, in batches, place rutabaga in Leuke steamer and cook in microwave on high heat 2-3 minutes or until softened. In saute pan or bowl combine the rutabaga with 12 oz of the marinara sauce.
Saute or Leuke steam the greens in batches until wilted. Set aside.
Beat eggs and mix with 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Combine with wilted greens and mushrooms (optional).
Loosely mix the rutabaga marinara combination with the cheese and greens mixture and place in prepared baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 plus minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.