Need a great recipe to use up all the zucchini and kale growing in your garden? This amazing Zucchini Kale Pasta Bake will feed your family well, and they will not even notice it’s vegetarian!
What To Do With All That Zucchini
Every year, my zucchini plants take over. It’s like every day there is a harvest that is just a little overwhelming. I make bread, freeze it, can it, pickle it… just about everything I possibly can think of. But I love being able to feed my family fresh from the garden meals also.
When you plant your zucchini this year, make sure to add some kale to your garden to be able to make this wonderful casserole. You will definitely thank me for it.
Small Space Gardening
Even if you do not have a large garden to grow in, you can grow vegetables in pots so that you can still enjoy fresh from the garden produce. So many people realize that they can have pots for flowers, but don’t realize that they can be using these same vessels to grow their own food.
Grab up some large flower pots, a tomato cage, and some seeds. Zucchini can be grown vertically (same as cucumbers and other vining plants) in pots on your patio or porch. Make sure that you choose good potting soil and plant food. I love self-watering pots for growing vegetables in containers, but it all is up to you.
Kale can also be grown in a large pot. Just let it grow and cut off what you need as it grows. Being in a pot, you may need to thin it occasionally so that it does not choke itself out with its own roots. The deep green of the kale is truly ornamental, in my opinion, so it’s a great accent to your space.
Zucchini Kale Pasta Bake
Growing up with livestock farmers as grandparents, meat was a staple on our dinner table. There were always fresh vegetables on the table as well, but Grandpa was a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
Once I was an adult, and had my own garden, I realized that having some recipes that used only what I grew myself could save me a lot of money at the grocery store. Granted I don’t make my own cheese, but mostly everything in this recipe is cheap and easily purchased.
Making a couple at a time to have extra in the freezer is wonder for us too. It’s a cheap meal in a relatively short amount of time. I love being able to just thaw something overnight, and know that dinner is taken care of. Knowing that I grew most of what is in that pan gives me a sense of pride also.
Spinach or Kale: The Great Debate
There is a running debate in our household over kale and spinach. I love kale because of it’s color, density, and it’s nutritional value. My DH, however, prefers spinach. The texture of kale, according to him, is too dense.
Because of this difference of opinion, sometimes I substitute spinach for the kale in this recipe just to make him happy. Not that I’m one to give marriage advice, but I found that compromising sometimes makes him feel validated in our relationship.
As will all recipes, make sure you doctor it to fit your own family’s tastes. Choose your own pasta sauce, leave out the mushrooms, or even add garlic to the recipe to zest it up. Trust me, I like to use up what I have on hand in casseroles. What’s the worst that can happen?
When playing with recipes, though, make sure you write notes on your recipe. Tried it with garlic and no one really liked it? Write a note to yourself to remember not to do that again. Add in other veggies, like carrots or sweet potatoes? If it works out well, make a note of that also.
Food is fluid. Eat what you like. Your recipes and cooking are just like you- unique.
Zucchini Kale Pasta Bake
Zucchini and Kale Pasta Bake
- 3 cups pasta
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 medium zucchini halved and sliced
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- 1 bunch kale chopped
- 1 15oz jar pasta sauce
- 1 15oz container ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 8oz pkg shredded mozzerella cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Cook onions 3-4 minutes, until crisp-tender.
- Add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook until zucchini is crisp-tender, stirring frequently.
- Add half of the kale, cooking until just wilted.
- Repeat with remaining kale.
- Remove from heat.
- Add pasta to vegetable mixture, along with pasta sauce, ricotta, Italian sesoning, and 1 cup of the mozzarella. Mix lightly.
- Spoon into a greased 13×9" pan.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.
For Freezer Meal:
- Cover with plastic wrap and foil before baking.
- Label and freeze up to 6 months.
- To cook: thaw overnight and bake as instructed above.
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