Creamy Bean Ziti Bake

I’ve gotta let you in on a dirty little secret.

I rarely ever follow a recipe.

When I see something I want to try in a magazine, cookbook, or online, I look at the ingredients and read through the directions. I’m mostly interested in food combinations and techniques, and look at ingredient amounts to learn their relationship with each other.

I do usually follow recipes when I’m baking or trying a new technique however.

To be honest, maybe I don’t follow recipes much because lots of the things I cook tend to be pretty simple and mostly “recipeless” and partially because I tend to make things up on the fly with what I have in the kitchen, kinda like tonight’s dinner…

Dinner tonight came about with the leftover ingredients we had in the pantry and freezer, cause you guys know how much I love my freezer foods for convenience. It tasted so good and we loved the new texture to the beans provided! May even be a great way to sneak in protein and fiber for the pickier eaters!

Creamy Bean Ziti Bake
makes 2-3 servings

1 can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed and drained partially, reserving a little juice
2 cups Ziti pasta, cooked to al dente
1 cup broccoli, frozen
1-2 cups spinach
feta cheese and white cheddar cheese
dried garlic, salt, and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees. Prepare smallish pan for baking by spraying with oil. 
  2. Boil salted water and cook noodles until al dente, rinse and drain.
  3. Puree black beans in minimal juice until creamy. (I used an Immersion blender right in the can.. for no mess.)
  4. Mix pasta with beans, spinach, broccoli, and seasonings.
  5. Pour pasta mixture into prepared pan and top with desired amount of feta and cheddar. 
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheddar cheese is melted and ingredients are warmed. 
So, I’d love to know…. do you typically follow recipes or do you take a different approach to cooking?


  1. plateitnclimb says

    This looks great! I love baked ziti like dishes! I am starting to move away from recipes and experiment with what I like! It is so fun!

  2. says

    Hi Kristina! I thought I would stop by and check out your blog! I love this healthy throw together dish. It reminds me of a pasta that I use to make all the time with my old roommate in DC. Our's was a throw together pasta as well. We didn't puree the black beans, but we used rigatoni, frozen green peas or broccoli, garbanzo beans and black beans. We just threw it all together and added some parm to the top. We ate that at least 2x a week.

    I'm finally having the confidence to create and tweak recipes, but most of the time I follow a recipe pretty closely till I gain the confidence on what I can substitute in, especially when it comes to baking.

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