Slow Cooker Baked Ziti
Pasta lovers will love this slow cooker Baked Ziti and you will love preparing it for your family. It's a healthier version of the classic, gluten-free, and definitely not short on flavor.
- 1 lb spicy turkey sausage or your favorite sausage, ground beef or ground turkey
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 whole red bell pepper, diced
- 1 whole green bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 (8 oz) box Banza Penne Chickpea pasta (uncooked) SEE NOTES
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
- fresh basil for garnish, optional
In a large skillet, brown the spicy turkey sausage. When it's just about done, add the diced peppers and onion. Saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Drain any grease if needed, and add mixture to slow cooker.
Add the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, and tomato sauce to the slow cooker.
Add the Italian seasoning and the heavy cream; give the sauce a good stir.
Add the pasta to the slow cooker and mix in, making sure all the pasta is covered with sauce.
Cover, and cook on high for about 1 1/2 hours OR on low for about 2 1/2 hours. Check pasta for doneness about half way through the cooking time. When pasta is al-dente, top with shredded mozzarella cheese and turn slow cooker to low. When cheese is melted, it's ready to serve.
My biggest tip for this recipe is to remember that chickpea pasta takes less time to cook than regular pasta. This slow cooker baked ziti takes only about 1 1/2 hours in the slow cooker on high or about 2 1/2 hours on low. My best advice would be to check the pasta at half the time.
Use any sausage, ground beef, or turkey sausage you like OR leave it out for a meatless meal.
Jarred marinara sauce is perfectly fine to use if you are short on time to make the sauce.