Baked Ziti with Cashew Cheese AKA 2Chili’s New Favorite Dinner




You may recall, last week I under-delivered on Test Kitchen Tuesday. Heck, I didn’t actually deliver at all. Instead of a new meal, 2Chili had cereal for dinner on Tuesday. And we both enjoyed the break.

But, I had a recipe picked out, and I had the ingredients on hand, so we had Test Kitchen Wednesday instead. Oh, and it was a good one.

When he asked what was under construction in our oven, I had a simple answer: “Baked Ziti.”

I was met with a puzzled look and a blank stare, to which I assured him, “Trust me. You’re going to like this.”

baked_ziti

Baked Ziti with Cashew Cheese

Original Recipe Inspiration: Karma Chow Baked Ziti with Cashew Cheese

Time Required:

  • 10 minutes to boil pasta
  • 5 minutes to prepare cashew cheese (plus soaking time)
  • 30 minutes to bake
  • Note: The original recipe calls for homemade sauce, but I haven’t figured that into this calculation because I used jarred sauce.

Skill Level (out of 5): Plate

2Chili’s Taster Rating (out of 5): StarStarStarStarStar

The Cook’s Taster Rating (out of 5): StarStarStarStarStar

Makes: Best I can tell, the original recipe makes 8 servings. I scaled it in half and ended up with about four generous portions.

In addition to scaling down the recipe, I did a couple things to make it faster to prepare and to make it to our tastes:

  • I used jarred low sodium pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s brand) instead of making the sauce. If I made this on a weekend, I might make the sauce from scratch, but for weeknight consumption, the jarred sauce fit the bill.
  • I forgot to soak the cashews beforehand, so I only soaked them for about 10 minutes. It didn’t seem to matter in the Ninja blender.
  • I topped the ziti mixture with about 2 ounces of part skim mozzarella cheese (not vegan, obviously).

Nutrition:

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The Verdict:

Y-U-M. We both enjoyed this quite a lot. 2Chili noted that it would be very good with several veggies mixed in, like asparagus, snap peas, and who knows what else. His puzzled look when I told him we were having baked ziti was replaced with the satisfaction only provided by a good dinner. Oh, and, he has no clue this recipe contains nutritional yeast. Score! I really recommend you make this. It is fast, easy, and will be a hit even with the pickiest of eaters.

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