My husband has always loved baked red sauce pasta dishes. Me, on the other hand, not a huge fan. That is…until I made this baked pasta dish. This tomato-based sauce is made up of some of my favorite vegetables. The flavors of tomato, lots of garlic, sauteed grated zucchini, and roasted red bell peppers are all pureed together and seasoned with herbs to make this fabulous sauce. Ever since making my roasted red pepper hummus, I’ve always roasted my own red peppers. It’s so easy and tastes much better than the store-bought jars, so why not! This recipe was adapted from Fuss Free Cooking. I not only roasted my own peppers, but added much more zucchini and red bell peppers. I’ve also made this dish topped with some vegan Daiya Mozzarella cheese and/or a mixture of breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil for a vegan alternative when I’m simply not in the mood for cheese and it turned out delicious. I actually prefer the vegan version over the non-vegan version.
I topped it off with some fresh parsley from our garden, and my entire family loved it, not to mention it’s a great way to get those veggies in if you have picky toddlers. If you have a toddler who is not a fan of larger pasta shapes, try using orzo pasta or small tiny star-shaped pasta instead and omit the spice. For a gluten-free option, simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta such as quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta. This dish would also taste great with some cooked spaghetti squash for another gluten-free or healthier alternative.