Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Zucchini

Here’s an easy vegetarian pasta dish that meat lovers will enjoy too. Earthy mushrooms and zucchini plus a couple cheeses bring inviting flavor and texture to a lighter, meatless version of baked spaghetti. 

Serves 4

  • 7 oz spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups small-cubed zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, cut into small wedges
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Prepared Ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, zucchini, all bell pepper, and onion and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables soften and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, parsley, and oregano and re-season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
Vegetables Beginning to Cook
Mushrooms Added 
Tomatoes Added 
Cooked Sauce
  1. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Top with 1/2 the spaghetti, spreading to an even layer. Scatter 1/3 of the mozzarella over the pasta.
  2. Top with 1/3 of the sauce and the remaining pasta. Scatter another 1/3 of the mozzarella on top and spread with the remaining sauce. Scatter the remaining mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top of the sauce.
  3. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.
Bottom Sauce Layer
1st Spaghetti and Cheese Layer
Ready to Bake 
Baked Pasta 
Cut the baked spaghetti into fourths and serve.

Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Zucchini

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