WIAW – Butternut Squash & Baked Ziti Recipe


You know I have zero will power around roasted vegetables.

wiaw fall into good habits button (2)

I had no business roasting an entire butternut squash all at once on Sunday.

roasted butternut squash

Usually I roast a serving at a time because I have been known to polish roasted vegetables off as if they are a big bag of m&m’s on an extreme craving day.

roasted butternut squash

Those pieces which look burned are not burned, they are perfect. You can’t imagine how perfect this batch was…too bad it’s gone.

I mean, butternut squash isn’t exactly a one pound bag of peanut butter or crispy m&m’s (Hi, my name is Meredith and I a former m&m by the pound addict) but the last thing I need is a squash-bloated stomach or a week’s worth of produce finished in one day.

Not exactly comfortable or cheap.

For some reason I did roast the entire butternut squash, with just a spritz of coconut oil cooking spray and a tiny drizzle of pure maple syrup.

oats in a jar

I didn’t actually add the butternut squash to my breakfast oatmeal in a jar mix but I am sure that if I did, it would have been good.

As easy as it would have been to eat all of the squash straight from the pan while standing by the oven, I controlled myself by throwing some in a bowl and actually preparing lunch.


Roasted butternut squash with roasted cauliflower, asparagus, Cruciferous Crunch mix, romaine lettuce, plum tomatoes and chick peas mashed with avocado.

Then I mashed up several chunks of the roasted butternut squash to add to a baked ziti I was preparing for dinner which you may have seen on instagram.

whole grain butternut squash baked ziti

I was asked for the recipe but this baked ziti is just another one of those nonrecipes which occur in my kitchen.

whole grain butternut squash baked ziti

Roast some squash, mash it up in a bowl, add it to an unmeasured amount of already cooked whole grain pasta and then mix it all together with spoonfuls of fat-free ricotta cheese, a quality tomato sauce (Vincent’s!) and top it off with shredded light mozzarella cheese.

Is that a recipe?

whole grain butternut squash baked ziti

I would have liked to include more vegetables (spinach, yellow squash, eggplant, mushrooms…) but my son is my main baked ziti consumer and he can be real finicky.

What I love about how I make this dish is that I roast the butternut squash sweet rather than savory. That drop of pure maple syrup brings out the sweet and then when you add it to the tomato sauce, it combines oh so well with the savory.

I never really measure any of my ingredients, including the amount of pasta. You can make as much or as little as you want, using more/less sauce and more/less cheese depending upon how you like it.

You can also prepare it ahead of time and then bake it when you are ready. Just cover it and store in the refrigerator until ready for the oven.

Baked Ziti is super freezer-friendly and perfect a quick weeknight meal.

Whole Grain Butternut Squash Baked Ziti
  • Butternut squash - roasted and cut into cubes ready to be mashed up
  • Whole Grain pasta - I use Barilla Whole Grain penne or rotini
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Fat Free Ricotta Cheese - you can use regular but I happen to like Trader Joe's fat free version
  • Shredded Light Mozzarella Cheese
  • *Optional-Parmesan Cheese/Nutritional Yeast
  • *Feel free to add more vegetables - spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, yellow squash, peppers...
  1. Roast butternut squash in a 450 degree oven with a drizzle of coconut oil cooking spray and pure maple syrup.
  2. While squash is cooking boil water and cook pasta until al dente.
  3. Drain water from pasta.
  4. Mix pasta with ricotta cheese and tomato sauce.
  5. When butternut squash is ready, mash in a bowl and then add to the pasta. Mix well.
  6. Place pasta in an oven-safe casserole dish.
  7. Top with more sauce and then cover with shredded cheese.
  8. If you using parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast, sprinkle on top along with the shredded cheese.
  9. Bake covered (with foil) in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it gets all bubbly.
  10. Broil uncovered for a few minutes or until the cheese on top is lightly brown.

My usual nighttime snack of an apple with peanut butter has a new addition this week in place of chocolate chips for something different.

Off The Farm Apple Pecan

I received this Off The Farm Apple Pecan Superfood Energy Cereal from the Meet and Tweet and since then I have been adding it to everything.

apple with peanut butter

It goes really well with peanut butter, especially when spread on top of apple slices. I also love it sprinkled in oatmeal, yogurt and straight from the bag.

The ingredients list is really nice and when I say nice I mean simple, whole and nothing artificial.


I think the hemp seed is about to over take the chia seed for hottest healthiest seed of the moment. I am hearing about the hemp seed all of the time lately.

Be sure to check out what everyone else is eating today and, oh, this post will also link up with Meatless Monday!


Better late than never. Thanks girls for the link-ups!


Do you have a roasted vegetable problem?

Which do you like better – baked ziti, lasagna or ravioli?

Favorite nighttime snack of the moment?





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  • Jessie October 29, 2014, 6:06 am

    Of course the baked ziti looks good, but I still can’t get over the m&ms you mentioned above. Just picturing peanut m&m’s makes me happy right now. lol

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:32 pm

      I used to be obsessed with m&m’s. Especially the crispy which they no longer make. And the plain, loved a good plan m&m. And of course the peanut butter. But never the peanut.

  • Susie @ SuzLyfe October 29, 2014, 6:40 am

    I definitely have a roasted vegetable problem. I cannot be held responsible for what happens around me and veggies in general, actually.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Eggplant Parm Grilled Cheese + Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips! WIAWMy Profile

  • Tina Muir October 29, 2014, 6:41 am

    Hehe you are always welcome 🙂 Glad you could join the linkup, and you can definitely join again 🙂

    This sounds looovveelllyy! I am addicted to butternut squash as much as you. I have been buying ones that are so big, I can’t cut my knife through it….ooops, so worth it for all the goodness….once I get it cooked!
    Tina Muir recently posted…5 Ways to STOP Late Night OvereatingMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:31 pm

      I have the same problem cutting those big squashes lol. I usually soften it first in the microwave to make it a little easier.

  • Michele @ paleorunningmomma October 29, 2014, 8:13 am

    Oh yes you know I love roasted veggies! Butternut squash is a favorite. My kids would probably love it if I made baked ziti again. That used to be a favorite of ours pre-paleo! I suppose a gluten free version is possible though 🙂
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…Yup, It’s My Food Again + Crispy Roasted Carrots RecipeMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:30 pm

      My son loves pasta but I think all kids do! I am not a big pasta eater but I do make it on occasion, especially for my son.

  • Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine October 29, 2014, 8:56 am

    Roasted veggies are pretty much my staple every night. I would go with baked ziti over lasagna or ravioli….but honestly I think thats because I just read your recipe and it looks delicious! This week I have been eating dark chocolate after dinner and its been a nice change of pace from baked stuff!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…WIAW: Back to PaleoMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:29 pm

      I never change my nighttime snack all that often because when I do, I end up missing my apple with peanut butter (and chocolate chips).

  • Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner October 29, 2014, 9:34 am

    That looks so good! Thanks for linking up with us today-I am def going to make this one
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Trick or Treat Halloween Workout For The Whole FamilyMy Profile

  • Lindsay @ The Functional Foodie October 29, 2014, 10:33 am

    This makes me sad because I don’t have an oven right now and I can’t roast all these awesome fall vegetables. I’ll cry myself to sleep. We are literally living off a toaster oven, but I saw some beautiful squash at the farmer’s market, but alas it won’t fit into the toaster oven lol I will definitely be trying this recipe out when we get our gas back and can use the stove again.
    Lindsay @ The Functional Foodie recently posted…WIAW in AustinMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:29 pm

      I feel your pain. Quite often I use my toaster/convection oven for roasting the vegetables, it just doesn’t hold as many at a time.

  • Liz @ I Heart Vegetables October 29, 2014, 11:32 am

    I’ve been craving ziti lately, I have no idea why!! This recipe looks AWESOME and such a fun fall twist!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 29, 2014, 12:28 pm

      Sometimes the colder fall weather leaves us craving the comfort foods!

  • Lish October 29, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Baked ziti is one of my all time faves. YUM!
    Lish recently posted…Tapering in BreckMy Profile

  • Jen @ Pretty Little Grub October 29, 2014, 3:07 pm

    I definitely have that same problem, especially butternut squash. It seriously tastes as good as candy!
    I love butternut squash in pasta though so I’m excited to try out this recipe.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…October Beauty FavouritesMy Profile

  • Shannon October 29, 2014, 8:01 pm

    I cannot control myself around any roasted vegetable. Especially cauliflower. So. Much. Goodness!
    Shannon recently posted…WIAW- Halloween TraditionMy Profile

  • rachel October 30, 2014, 8:36 pm

    great idea of adding butternut to ziti! sounds wonderful!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles October 31, 2014, 10:45 am

      It is such a yummy combo. I love adding butternut squash to all Italian dishes!

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets October 31, 2014, 7:17 am

    Oh my gawd, I adore this recipe. Anything that combines my love of pasta, veggies and cheese is a straight up winner in my book.

  • Arman @ thebigmansworld November 1, 2014, 11:22 pm

    Is it bad that I’m excited for NYC in a a few weeks partly because many of the restaurants serve the BEST roasted veggies as sides? I can already see a trip to Maoz and WholeFoods. Now to be patient until then!

    That pasta dish looks amazing!
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…Sunday SessionsMy Profile

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles November 3, 2014, 10:08 am

      Perfectly acceptable to be excited for the food. That’s what excites me about every trip!