Save time and make this Healthy Instant Pot Baked Ziti for the 21 Day Fix whenever you are craving a bowl of warm and cheesy comfort food! Packed with protein and veggies, this Healthy Baked Ziti is gluten-free with a dairy free option, as well! This post contains affiliate links for products I’m obsessed with.
Confession #149: I really struggled with what to call this recipe. I settled on Instant Pot Baked Ziti, but please know I am aware of the following:
- this Instant Pot Baked Ziti is not baked…unless you decided to add that extra step at the end and I honestly, as much as I love me some crispy cheese, do not find it necessary.
- this is not actually ziti in my bowl. It’s Penne. For some reason, finding gluten-free ziti in my favorite brands proved way too difficult and I’ve honestly wanted to get this post out for months. So I settled for a similarly tubular shaped pasta.
I hope you can overlook these facts and just make this yummy pasta dish – whatever you want to call it – because it’s so darn yummy and as easy as it gets, too, thanks to the magic of the Instant Pot. Truly, it deserves this chance.
I tested this one a bunch of times (to my husband’s excitement), mainly because I was adamant about using crushed tomatoes instead of pasta sauce, because as much as I LOVE having a jar of my 21 Day Fix Homemade Tomato Sauce handy, sometimes I just don’t. And no sugar added jar sauce can be expensive…and I don’t love the taste of all of them. Not to mention, I almost always have cans of crushed tomatoes stocked in my pantry.
It’s one of my staples!
Turns out, a regular can of crushed tomatoes with some added spices works like a charm! I did a similar thing with my Italian Chicken Skillet , another quick and easy meal!
One of the keys to making Instant Pot dishes with tomato sauce is to keep the sauce near the top of the pot so you don’t trigger a burn notice. One of the tricks I have learned over time and it has saved many dinners!
Check out how I layer the ingredients in this video! So super easy!
Don’t have an Instant Pot yet? Guess what…I have three, but this one is my favorite!
And to answer some of your questions about this dish:
Is this Baked Ziti Gluten-free?
Yes! I used Banza Chickpea noodles for mine because they are full of protein and fiber, but you can use any gluten free pasta you want!
Can this Instant Pot Baked Ziti be frozen?
Of course! Just let it cool completely before placing it in an airtight container. You can freeze it for up to three months.
Can I use ground beef or another protein in this Healthy Instant Pot Baked Ziti?
Absolutely! I love it just as much with ground beef! You could also use ground turkey or chicken if you prefer!
Can I make this Instant Pot Baked Ziti vegetarian?
You can definitely make this meal vegetarian…just take out the meat and replace it with your favorite veggies. I love it with squash and cauliflower!
I also make this dish dairy free for my son by scooping out his portion before I add the cheeses. He LOVES this dinner!
My kids don’t like spinach, can I leave it out?
Totally. My kids go through phases where they won’t eat anything green, so I get this!!! I will sometimes replace the spinach with cauliflower rice like in my 2B Mindset Cauliflower Taco Meat and they are none the wiser!
Healthy Instant Pot Baked Ziti
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 ¼ lean ground beef or Italian poultry sausage removed from casing
- ½ onion diced
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- Himalayan salt
- ½ cup water to scrape off any burned bits
- 2 ¼ cups gluten free pasta
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 large can
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly shredded or cubed mozzarella
- ⅓ cup Pecorino Romano or high quality Parmesan Cheese
- Set Instant Pot to saute and coat with olive oil cooking spray. Add in meat and brown until almost cooked through. Add in diced onions and cook until onions begin to get tender. Drain meat if necessary, then add in olive oil and garlic. Stir and cook until garlic is fragrant. Sprinkle meat mixture with salt.
- Add water to the Instant Pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape off any brown bits at the bottom of the pot, so you don’t trigger a burn notice. Then layer uncooked pasta over meat mixture.
- Mix basil and oregano into the crushed tomatoes and then layer that over the pasta. Do not stir!
- Place lid on your Instant Pot and set on manual/pressure cook for three minutes if you are using Banza pasta, for regular gluten free (brown rice or corn based), set it for two minutes
- After cook time, do a quick release. When it’s safe and all air has been released, carefully open lid. Give everything a stir, then add in chopped spinach. Allow spinach to wilt for a moment before stirring in ricotta and parmesan cheese. Top with shredded mozzarella and place lid on IP so cheese will melt. Alternatively, you can place the pasta mixture in a broiler safe dish, top with cheese, and broil for a few minutes watching carefully until cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Enjoy with addition parmesan cheese, if desired!