This post has been sponsored by Divine Flavor. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This cozy paleo, gluten-free baked ziti made with late summer’s best goodies like zucchini and sweet red peppers is packed with flavor! While I love a good lasagna, I really love baked ziti because layers aren’t really a thing so it’s a little quicker… just mixing all the components together, bake and VOILA! The romesco sauce is a really nice upgrade from your average marinara, you’ll love it on all the things after you try it (super easy to make, too).
And I love using the sweet peppers so it’s not too spicy, you can control the heat with the spices you put in!
This casserole makes for the best meal prep so you can enjoy it all week long! You could also skip baking it if you’d like to make it more of a zoodle pasta dish and keep it to a 30-minute meal. It’s really a winner any way you slice it.
ZUCCHINI ZITI WITH ROMESCO (PALEO, WHOLE30)
Zoodles swimming in homemade red pepper romesco sauce, cashew cheese, and ground meat all baked in the oven makes for a perfectly nutrient-dense ziti you will love!
paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free
- 1 cup cashews
- Boiling hot water
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 4 Tribelli Divine Flavor Sweet Peppers red
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup tomato puree
- 2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika or up to 1 tsp if you like it spicy
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. ground meat can do ½ and ½ of beef and pork or anything you have on hand
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2-3 large zucchini spiralized
Boil water and add over cashews to completely cover, let sit for 30 minutes. In the meantime, make the romesco meat sauce.
Using tongs, carefully, lightly roast each sweet pepper over an open flame on your stove top. Rotate the pepper, just for a couple of minutes for each pepper until you have light blisters. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop peppers (discard the inside and seeds), toss the peppers in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse until well blended into a sauce. Set aside.
To a skillet, add olive oil with chopped onions over medium heat and lightly cook until translucent for a few minutes, then add in the ground meat breaking it up with a spoon. Cook, while mixing well and adding in seasonings until the meat, is cooked (no red/raw meat is showing anymore).
Add romesco sauce over top of meat and reduce heat to low until well coated and slightly bubbling.
Roughly chop spiralized zoodles (I made mine into the large ribbon-like pieces, but any shape will do!), into bite-size pieces so it’s less stringy. Add to pan and with tongs, coat completely in the romesco meat sauce. Turn heat off.
Finish up the cheese by draining cashews, and adding them to a blender or food processor with lemon, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and egg. Mix until well blended - it’s okay if it’s very loose, it will stiffen up in the oven.
Time to assemble!
Add a layer of the romesco meat sauce with coated zoodles to the bottom of your baking dish (8-inch should work well!)
Then pour in a layer of the cashew cheese. Repeat this with the cashew cheese left last on top of the entire ziti.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, optionally add more nutritional yeast to the top mid-way and broil for a little more color for just a minute or two - watch carefully. Serve!
If you can eat some goat cheese, go nuts by shredding it over top! (omit for strict paleo or whole30)
This post has been sponsored by Divine Flavor. As a reminder, I only work with brands I use and would recommend.
More sweet pepper recipes…