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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four cheese baked ziti

Baked ziti is a traditionally vegetarian dish, but you just have to watch the cheeses you use.

Most cheeses in this country are made without rennet, but a lot of imported cheeses still have it.

Rennet is not vegetarian, it is used mostly for harder cheeses and is made from the lining of a cow or sheep stomach and is used in some part of the the cheese making process to curdle the milk.

Aged provolone and the real Italian imported cheeses mostly have rennet, so check the packaging when you’re buying. I have read a lot of labels, so I tend to buy certain brands that I’m familiar with already.

I also like to buy the fat-free ricotta cheese to fool myself into thinking this recipe is a little healthier.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Start by boiling the pasta until it is al dente. Drain it and let it cool just a little so it is easier to handle.

Mix together the mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses in a bowl.

Stir in the spices and if you want to, put in some ground style veggie crumbles. For those not familiar, in the freezer section, with the veggie burgers, several companies have a ground beef style of meat replacer that work great in any recipes that call for ground beef. I usually have a bag or two in my freezer at all times because they are a quick and easy way to add protein to an all vegetarian diet.

Put down a layer of pasta in a long casserole dish. Top with a layer of the cheese mixture, then a layer of the sauce.

Repeat until the dish is full and make sure the top layer is sauce.

Then finish off with the sliced provolone over the sauce.

Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese on top has started to brown.

Ingredients

1 box of ziti or penne pasta (16 oz.)

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese

6-8 slices of provolone cheese

1 jar of marinara sauce (20-24 oz)

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tsp of oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1-2 cups of veggie crumbles (optional)

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