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Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6 servings

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Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage is a hearty, make ahead casserole that’s family and freezer friendly! A healthier twist with all of the same incredible flavor!

baked ziti with italian sausage in white casserole dish with fresh parsley

February here in Manitoba always feels like the longest month of the year (as ironic as that is!).

It’s usually cold, and it’s been cold for a while. We’re expecting probably another two months of snow, so summer is a long ways off, and there aren’t any big holidays we’re looking forward to.

Easy, hearty meals like this Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage are the ones that keep us going!

With 3 kids under 8, pasta is always a hit on our table, especially when it’s loaded with mild Italian turkey sausage, tomato sauce and cheese.

The fact that I can prep it entirely in advance makes this the perfect dinner for those days loaded with after school activities, and I love knowing that dinner is taken care of when we finally make it home.

Italian turkey sausage is one of my favorite things to add to pasta because it’s lean, easy to cook and adds such incredible flavor that we really don’t have to go too crazy with our herbs and spices.

I always have a package in the freezer for easy meals like this Baked Ziti!

baked ziti scooped out of white casserole dish up close

I’ve made a few other healthier swaps in this Baked Ziti, but no one will ever know when they taste it! I use high fiber white pasta when I can (notice that penne works just fine!), and always look for tomato pasta sauce with no added sugar. If you prefer, you can use low fat mozzarella cheese in place of the full fat cheese, but since it’s just a small amount on top I usually go for the real deal 😉

This Baked Tortellini with Turkey and this Healthier One Pot Skillet Lasagna are two more of our favorites turkey pasta recipes!

How to prep this Baked Ziti ahead:

This baked ziti is easily prepped ahead for a no-work weeknight meal! Here are some tips:

  • Prepare the Baked Ziti up until the point of baking it.
  • Wrap tightly and refrigerate up to 3-4 days before baking and serving.
  • Continue with baking instructions in the recipe to heat and serve.
  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator up to 3 days.

Another great meal prep idea is to cook up a bunch of Italian turkey sausage when you bring it home from the grocery store, then freeze in small-medium freezer containers or bags so you can pull them out for a quick meal. Having a great protein cooked and ready to throw in makes dinnertime so much simpler!

How to freeze this Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage:

  • Prepare the Baked Ziti up until the point of baking it.
  • Wrap tightly (with plastic wrap and foil, or a lid if your container has one, although I still recommend lining with plastic or beeswax wrap to prevent freezer burn) and freeze on a flat shelf up to 3 months.
  • To bake, remove any plastic wrap and cover once more with foil or a lid. Bake according to recipe directions, but add 20-30 minutes, until heated through.
  • If you want to cut down on bake time, remove the casserole 24-48 hours in advance and let thaw in the refrigerator, then continue on with the original baking instructions.
baked ziti on white plate on white marble background with salad

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Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage

5 from 1 vote
Baked Ziti with Italian Turkey Sausage is a hearty, make ahead casserole that's family and freezer friendly! A healthier twist with all of the same incredible flavor!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Cuisine American, Italian
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
Calories 601.18kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Italian turkey sausage casings removed
  • 1/2 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups Marinara sauce
  • 375 grams white high fiber penne or rigatoni pasta or other, 4-5 cups
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, crumble and cook turkey sausage over medium-heat until just cooked.
  • Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt and cook, stirring often, until onion has softened – about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in marinara sauce and turn off the heat.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, removing from the heat 1-2 minutes before the cook time is up so pasta still has a slight bite to it. Drain and toss with oil to prevent from sticking.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13" baking dish.
  • Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish.
  • Top with half of the pasta, half of the sauce, half of the ricotta (dollop it and swirl into the sauce if you desire), half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan. Repeat layers one more time to use remaining ingredients.
  • Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly. Remove lid and broil for 1-2 minutes if desired.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 406grams | Calories: 601.18kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.62g | Protein: 38.05g | Fat: 24.25g | Saturated Fat: 12.63g | Cholesterol: 97.8mg | Sodium: 2148.02mg | Potassium: 794.81mg | Fiber: 9.11g | Sugar: 12.23g | Vitamin A: 1323IU | Vitamin C: 35.87mg | Calcium: 414.89mg | Iron: 9.49mg
Keywords baked ziti

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Kristina Nairn says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! This is the best ziti I have ever made! I used 1/4 onion, 1/2 turkey and 1/2 Italian sausage, chunky mushroom Ragu sauce and only a little less ricotta (maybe 3/4 cup) but I need followed your directions and it came out perfect! I will definitely use this recipe from now on, looking forward to the leftovers!

  2. Voni says

    Last time (years ago) I tried freezing casserole as a freezer meal, the noodles literally dissolved and made the meal inedible. I was specifically using a freezer meal recipe, too. Will that happen if I freeze this? How do I make sure that doesn’t happen if we freeze ahead or freeze leftovers? (Only two of us, after all, lol)

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Pasta does become softer after being frozen. If you know you’re going to be freezing it, I would recommend cutting a couple minutes off the cook time of the pasta so it is a little firmer to begin with. I also think that letting the casserole thaw most of the way before baking gives the best results, though it can definitely be baked from frozen. If it is thawed when you bake it, you don’t have to bake it as long and the noodles stay a little firmer. I hope that helps!

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