Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas

This Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas is packed with vegetables, protein-rich beans, gooey cheese, and deliciously carb-y pasta.

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portion of Vegetarian Baked Ziti with ricotta on dark plate

Wyatt, who is not at all opinionated and very rarely comments on anything VV related, turned to me last week and goes ‘You should have a posting schedule for your blog so your readers know when to expect a new post’. I normally would have been glad for the suggestion, but I was just so surprised to hear him taking an interest in my ‘readers’ that I was a little bit taken aback. In my mind, I already had a schedule of posting every Monday and Thursday.

I defensively told him this and the moment the words came out of my mouth, I regretted them. They immediately held weight that I would have to keep up with this schedule now that I had acknowledged out loud that it was real. Fast forward to last night, I sat down at 10 PM (2 hours before my Monday “deadline”) and stared at the blank screen. What is it about structure and deadlines that so easily destroys creativity?

As I sat there wondering why no words were coming to fruition, I thought back to when I was a kid and had decided to embark on writing my first ‘novel’. I was somewhere in the range of late elementary school / early middle school (I was old enough to have my own computer in my room thanks to my computer engineer step-father building it for me, but was too young to be spending Friday / Saturday nights out with friends).

I would shut myself in my room late at night, turn my IM (instant messenger) on to chat with my best friend, and work on my novel. I’d get into the flow of writing and bouncing ideas around on IM until 1 or 2 in the morning. I’d be shocked to find the time had slipped away so fast but pleased that I’d written another 5 or so pages. That novel was about two human-like wolves that were abducted by friendly aliens and I was so proud of that 30-page manuscript which took months to compile.

meatless baked ziti in white baking dish

Why is it that at age 10 I had the discipline to sit down for hours and write so freely? Why do I allow nagging morning responsibilities like taking the dog for a walk, making breakfast, and doing house work convince me to crawl into bed at 10 PM instead of burning the midnight oil that fuels my creativity?

These are the kind of questions that make me fearful to put my whole energy into this space. To say eff it to the day job, the magazine, and all the other ‘distractions’ that make up my life and devote my time to creating recipes, photographing, and writing. What if I wake up one day without anything else to say? With writer’s block from the pressure? These are the questions that can only be answered through experience so I will go on wondering until I finally decide to make that plunge (if I ever decide to make that plunge).

That isn’t to say that this place isn’t amazing and my special place. I honestly really love the process and find my creative flow the most during the photographing process. After almost five years, I’m still trying to get the writing part down.

And on to this Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas! This stuff is heavenly — cheesy, carby, and full of spice! I posted about these chorizo-spiced chickpeas back in May and am basically still obsessed. I threw them into this ziti for an extra protein boost and it was so so so perfect! In addition to the chickpeas, you’ll find this ziti bake packed with vegetables — pieces of zucchini, onion, tomato, and bell pepper. Oh, and of course, lots and lots of gooey cheese!

Vegetarian Ziti with side salad on dark plate next to dried pasta, eggs, and tomaotes

What’s Needed for Vegetarian Baked Ziti?

This meatless baked ziti with ricotta and mozzarella is such a comforting recipe. Perfect for weeknight dinners or dinner parties! Here’s what you’ll need to make this meatless baked ziti:

  • Chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Sea salt
  • Ziti
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh veggies (zucchini, onion, bell pepper, garlic, cherry tomatoes)
  • Ricotta
  • Egg
  • Shredded mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan
portion of Vegetarian Baked Ziti with side salad on dark plate with fork

How to Make This Simple Baked Ziti

I’ve given detailed instructions in the recipe card below on how to make this vegetarian baked ziti with no meat. Here’s an overview of the process:

  1. Make the chorizo-spiced roasted chickpeas.
  2. Cook the ziti according to package instructions.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg, salt, and pepper.
  4. Sauté the  zucchini, onion, and bell pepper. Add in the garlic, followed by the tomatoes.
  5. Stir in the cooked ziti, spiced chickpeas, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella.
  6. Turn into a 9-inch baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.

Can I Use Another Type of Pasta?

Of course! This vegetarian ziti recipe can be made with another short, study pasta. Think: penne, farfalle, cavatappi, etc.

Can I Double This Recipe?

Definitely! Simply double the ingredients and bake the vegetarian ziti in a 9×13-inch baking dish.

portion of Vegetarian Baked Ziti with side salad on dark plate

Tips for Making Vegetarian Baked Ziti

The chorizo-spiced chickpeas are technically optional, but highly recommended. However, if you omit the chickpeas you’ll still have a delicious veggie-packed meatless baked ziti.

You’re welcome to switch up the veggies used in this recipe to suit whatever you have on hand. Consider this vegetarian baked ziti recipe a loose guide!

I bet you could prep the chorizo-spiced chickpeas ahead of time, store them in a jar, and make the rest of the vegetarian baked ziti the next day.

Want More Easy Pasta Recipes?

5 from 2 votes
Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas

This Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas is packed with vegetables, protein-rich beans, gooey cheese, and deliciously carb-y pasta.

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pasta, ziti
Servings: 9
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
For the chickpeas:
  • 1 can chickpeas , rinsed (or 1½ cups fresh chickpeas)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked ground paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf , ground up in a mortar & pestle (optional)
  • dash of pepper
For the ziti:
  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large zucchinis , diced small
  • 1 onion , diced small
  • 1 bell pepper , diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes , chopped in half
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
For the chickpeas: 
  1. Preheat oven 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Transfer chickpeas to a small mixing bowl and coat the 1 tsp olive oil and vinegar.
  3. In another small dish, whisk together paprika, cumin, chili powder, coriander, salt, bay leaf (if using), and pepper.
  4. Pour spice mixture over chickpeas and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes or until crispy, tossing halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the baked ziti:
  1. Lower oven heat to 400 degrees F and grease a 9" baking dish.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together ricotta, egg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion, and bell pepper. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened.

  5. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and sauté until they begin to soften, an additional 3 to 5 minutes.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in pasta, chickpeas, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella.

  7. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the top has browned.

  9. Remove from heat and serve warm.


  • Erica
    June 15, 2016

    Such a true and honest post lady! There are so many times when I have the recipe and the photos and then blank out on the words – the number of posts that remain unpublished is a little embarrassing. You do have such beautiful writing skills though just so you know! 🙂

    • Shellywest
      June 16, 2016

      Aww thanks, Erica! I’m the same way with so many unfinished posts lingering in my drafts >.<

  • Katrina
    June 15, 2016

    Really love the spices you used in this! Such a delicious baked pasta!

    • Shellywest
      June 16, 2016

      Chorizo-spiced EVERYTHING, plz!

  • Sarah | Well and Full
    June 15, 2016

    I’d love to read that novel you wrote many years ago! Two humanesque wolves abducted by friendly aliens? Now that has piqued my interest. 😉

    • Shellywest
      Sarah | Well and Full
      June 16, 2016

      Haha! It was lost through the years of moving and probably for the best – better for me to imagine that it was a small masterpiece than actually read it again in disappointment. : )

  • Christine // my natural kitchen
    June 19, 2016

    So many things about this made me smile as I read. That little novel of yours sounds like such a gem, and you’ve just reminded me of the very late nights I’d spend chatting with my friends on ICQ (did you use that one to IM? I can still hear the sound of the alerts when a new message would come through hahah). I also really really really love the sound of those chorizo-spiced chickpeas, and this whole dish sounds so comforting and delicious. It always catches me by surprise to hear that people who write so beautifully also struggle to find their words sometimes, but Shelly you have such a talent with words, recipes and photography and I think you’re great 🙂

  • Sherrie
    June 19, 2016

    Baked ziti is 100% my jam. Those little chickpeas are a damn fine addition – fist bumps.

  • Aly
    August 1, 2016

    Do you think this recipe would work well if I try to double it? I’m cooking for about 6 people with pretty decent appetites and I want to make sure there would be enough.

  • Kyx
    October 11, 2016

    “This lady knows her vegetarian recipes.” Those are the words that literally came out of my husband’s mouth. Made this for dinner and was a success. The chorizo chickpeas really shine in this dish. It didn’t look as pretty as yours but it tasted delicious.

    • Shellywest
      October 12, 2016

      Yay – this just made my day! I love hearing feedback from people who have tried the recipes. Glad you (and your husband!) enjoyed this recipe! <3

  • 15 Easy Vegetarian Recipes To Get You Eating More Vegetables
    January 9, 2019

    […] Vegetarian Baked Ziti With Chorizo-Spiced Chickpeas recipe is packed with vegetables, protein-rich beans, gooey cheese, and deliciously carb-y […]

  • Alexis
    July 27, 2020

    Made this last night and it was AMAZING!!!!

  • Nina
    March 30, 2021

    Greetings from Lockdown (3) UK thank you for the fabulous recipe… do you have a metric option for your recipes. I couldn’t see one and wondered if I had missed the metric option. Many thanks. Stay safe…

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