Dinner/ Gluten-Free/ Recipes

Gluten-Free Baked Ziti with Kale

This gluten-free baked ziti with kale is the ultimate comfort food, and a teensy bit healthier than your average ziti with the addition of kale.  

Gluten-free baked ziti

Growing up, my family didn’t eat a lot of pasta, so maybe that’s why I’m not a huge fan of Italian food. It’s not that I don’t like, it’s just that I don’t really crave it. Except like once a year. And that once-ish time of year, I want pasta and I want it now and I want it extra cheesy. Although, now that I’m looking at this picture, I may want it more than once a year. Maybe more like once a month. (Tommy will be pleased. He loves Italian food.)

gluten-free ziti

This can be made in advance (prep it the night before, cover with plastic wrap and then pop it in the oven in the evening). It makes great leftovers too – I like to microwave it to warm it through and then stick it under the broiler to get the cheese on top a bit crisp.

Gluten-Free Baked Ziti with Kale

Serves, 6-9, depending on the hunger of your crew!

  • 12 oz dry gluten-free penne or rotini (I used Barilla gluten-free penne)
  • 1 lb 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 4 leaves of lacinato kale, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, about 2 minutes less than the listed cooking time. (Otherwise, you’re gonna end up with mushy pasta–gross–when this is all done since the pasta cooks again in the sauce when it goes in the oven.)
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add a little olive oil and add the beef, onion, oregano, red pepper and salt and pepper. Add more S&P as needed to taste.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted, just another minute. Stir in the drained pasta and ricotta and heat everything for one minute.
  5. Pour half of pasta mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Pour the rest of the pasta mixture into the pan, and top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes.
  7. When it’s done, turn your broiler on and bake for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese. I love the little crispy edges that form in this step!






Enjoy! If you make it, be sure to tag @afoodiestaysfit and #afoodiestaysfit on Instagram! I’d love to see it!

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  • Reply
    Christina Orso

    The picture with all the sauce….yes

  • Reply
    Jessica C

    This looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try this! Your recipe is extra special since it’s already gluten free, not to mention my husband’s favorite Italian dish is baked ziti. Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great weekend!

  • Reply

    4 leaves of kale to make this healthy?? Did you know 2 cups of raw leafy greens counts as a vegetable serving?

    • Reply
      Teri [a foodie stays fit]

      haha! I was being tongue in cheek with that comment. They were enormous leaves, but yes, I do know what counts a vegetable serving. 🙂 I like the kale mostly for a little color and texture! You’ll notice I said it’s a a “teensy bit healthier” in the very first sentence. 🙂

      But hey, if you want more veggies, serve it with a salad!

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