Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

This recipe was originally published in November, 2009 and has been updated.

Today’s recipe is always a family favorite.  I have taken this dish into lots of family’s when someone was sick or had a new baby and it is always a hit.  The recipe is always requested.  It is also a great dish to make for company or when you are feeding two hungry 19 year old boys.

As part of the Mormon faith we have a missionary program.  Our young men and women give up 18 months to 2 years of their life to serve as missionaries.  Both of my boys served missions, in Argentina and Chile.   I love feeding the missionaries and am grateful for all the women that fed my boys when they were serving their missions.   Having a lot of food on hand when I feed the missionaries is always a requirement!

Elder Stanley

At church there is a calendar that is passed around and people sign up to feed the missionaries each night.  I had told the Elders that if they ever had a hole in the calendar and no where to go for dinner to let me know!  They had an open invitation at our house.

Sunday after church I saw them in the hall and they said they had no where to go for Sunday dinner.  Of course I invited them to join us!

Fortunately for me I haven’t gotten use to cooking for our reduced sized family so there was plenty of food to share.

We were having a yummy baked ziti with spinach and sausage.

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Since we were having guests I decided to kick it up a notch and mixed up a batch of Melanie’s amazing Divine Breadsticks and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Since I had a few too many things that needed to be baked at the same time I borrowed my neighbor’s oven – I do that a lot.  How I dream of one day having double ovens….

I baked the breadsticks next door.

After the breadsticks were baked and back at our house there was a knock at the door.  There were three of my cute neighbor boys wondering if they could have one of my homemade bread sticks.  Who could resist this face?!Halloweenie Roast

There were plenty to share and I sent the 3 boys off with their breadsticks!  Katie – if you are reading this post don’t be upset with “D”.  I loved that he felt comfortable enough to come to my door to ask!

Dinner was a success and yummy.  A quick and easy dish to prepare.  It would also make a great dish when you need to take dinner to someone else.

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

The addition of spinach and pesto makes this a little unique as far as baked ziti dishes go.  The pesto gives it a wonderful flavor and I was able to use some of the pesto I had made and frozen this summer!

The recipe makes a full 9 x 13 pan and thanks to our two dinner guests there wasn’t much left.  I was grateful they were there to help so we didn’t have to eat it for leftovers all week!

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

After it is all mixed up and put in the pan just pop it in to bake.  It is always a hit and is a perfect dish to make when you are taking dinner into a family.

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage

Baked Ziti with Spinach and Sausage
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 9 x 12
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages
  • ½ C chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ C pesto
  • 10 ounces ziti or penne pasta (about 3 cups), freshly cooked
  • 4 cups or hand fulls of baby spinach leaves
  • 6 ounces grated or cubed mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is cooked through
  2. Add tomatoes with juices
  3. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes
  4. Add pesto
  5. Season sauce with salt and pepper
  6. You can prepare up to this point a day ahead and refrigerate
  7. Bring mixture back to simmer before continuing
  8. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  9. Lightly oil 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish.
  10. Combine pasta, spinach, mozzarella and ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese in large bowl.
  11. Stir in warm hot tomato mixture.
  12. Place in prepared baking dish
  13. Sprinkle remaining ⅔ cup Parmesan cheese over
  14. Bake until sauce bubbles and cheeses melt, about 30 minutes
  15. Inspired by Epciurious

Baked Ziti with spinach and sausage

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

Latest posts by Leigh Anne (see all)


  1. Valerie H. says

    I love seeing the missionaries at your house. They look so happy and the food looks so good! Happy belated birthday to Cali. Wow, 20 years old! She looks like a fun loving and confident girl. Go Cali and many blessings to you!

  2. katie says

    The ziti looks great! Kind of like the America’s Test Kitchen recipe – except baked.
    D could not stand how good our house smelled – he had to come get a bread stick! Thanks for welcoming him – he feels very comfortable swinging on by anytime, eh?

  3. says

    This looks really delicious! I’m pretty new to the whole cooking scene…what is pesto? How do I make it, or where do I buy it? I really want to try this recipe. The missionaries looked very happy to be at your house!

    • says

      Pesto is made out of basil but you can purchase it at the grocery store too. It is usually in the produce area in a jar. It is a combo of basil, olive oil, pine nuts – yum!! Have fun with your cooking!! Recipes for pesto are pretty easily available. You can check I’ll have to post my recipe for pesto too! Thanks!

  4. Cheryl says

    I always offer the missionaries bottled water, food and my restroom when they stop by. We are not Latter Day Saints but part of my family and many of my friends are.

    I am so grateful to people like you who have opened up their homes and made my family members and friends feel comfortable when they were so far from home!

  5. says

    Mmmm looks so yummy! I bet the cookies were great too, I just love a good chocolate chip cookie (or five).

    How generous of you to share your food with neighbours!

  6. says

    This recipe sounds and looks delicious! This reminds me I need to invite the missionaries over for dinner. Thanks for sharing another yummy dinner!

  7. says

    Hey, we feed THOSE guys all the time, too (ok, not THOSE particular guys but you know what I mean). Pasta and breadsticks is the only way to go when feeding 19-ish year old boys. I’m glad you liked the breadsticks and it is so sweet (and funny) that your neighbor boys came begging for one or two. Also, the pasta looks absolutely delicious!

  8. Miranda says

    Thanks do much for sharing this recipe I made it last night for my family and we all LOVED it. It was so delicious and pretty simple too! I will definately make this again. I love getting comments like “This tastes like something you’d order at an expensive resturant”! Thanks for helping me look like a superstar in the kitchen!

  9. Loretta says

    Fixed the baked ziti tonight and it was wonderful!! Definitely one we will have again. Felt like I was eating at a quality Italian restaurant. :) I even made my own pesto for the first time, but I used a weight watchers recipe that was very low in fat. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  10. says

    Wow, Leigh Anne, that dish sounds wonderful and perfect for these cold days.
    Let’s get together next week when I’m over my cold thing! I didn’t realize Cali is a month older than Katie.

  11. Lory says

    Leigh Anne – I made this ziti recipe last night and it was such a hit! Jenny went back for seconds, which is pretty unusual. I forgot to get pesto so made it without it and it was still delicious. I also used Trader Joe’s sicilian chicken sausage and it tasted wonderful, and maybe a tiny bit healthier? Thank you once again for sharing what will become another family favorite!

  12. Stephanie says

    I made this for dinner tonight – wow! It was delicious and I have plenty left over for lunches this week. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  13. says

    We love your “meal for many” with an extra kick of flavor and sophistication. The pesto as a layer of additional flavor is genius. We’re sure your guests left hoping for another invitation to dine at your place!

  14. Kina says

    I tried your recipe tonight and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! It got rave reviews from the family and is definitely a keeper. Thanks!!!

  15. says

    Made this last night – for the missionaries – and it was a hit! It was delish and will definitely become a staple on our family’s dinner menu :)

  16. Michelle says

    I am not much of a cook but this recipe sounded so good, I tried it. It was delicious! Very easy to follow recipe and all of the yummy spinach makes it nutritionally redeemable. Thanks, Leigh Anne!


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