Something was buzzing at her hair and in her sleepy confusion, she swatted her iPhone to the floor. The buzzing only grew louder against the hardwood in her living room. Evie finally squeaked open one eye, the one not squished against the ratty rug under the sofa.

“Oh shit!” she scrambled for the phone, “yeah!? I mean, hello?”

“Hey kale breath, you’re late! The party started an hour ago,” Kim joked, reminding her of the sales launch meeting that Evie was clearly missing.

Even though she was only one step up from a Betty, if she valued a future in Marketing, she needed to make a showing at the quarterly meeting. But she could barely stand upright and she had an even more challenging time recalling how she ended up asleep on the living room floor.

“There was food and wine, lots of wine. I see one…no…three bottles on the coffee table. Kim, I don’t remember anything. Just that Mitch came over to talk, and…we…uh, arm wrestled for dessert.” Evie recounted.

“Well, that might explain why he’s wearing a smirk today. You’ll have to tell me everything over lunch,” Kim replied, “Now get your baked buns down here before Spanx notices you’re missing. They’ve catered baked ziti today.”

Coulda used more juice, next time I’ll up the tomato sauce to 5 cups.

Baked Ziti with TWO cheeses and kale!

  • 1  16 oz. bag ziti pasta, boiled to al dente and drained
  • 3 cups your favorite tomato sauce (I should have used 4 or even 5 cups as my ziti was a tad dry)
  • 1 batch kale ricotta (using Susan’s Spinach Ricotta below but replacing spinach with kale)
  • 1 batch tangy cashew creme sauce (using Allison’s recipe below)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Stir the pasta and tomato sauce together in a big bowl. Gently fold in the ricotta so it stays lumpy.
  3. Pour into a large baking dish.
  4. Dollop the cashew creme onto the ziti and use a butter knife to marble it through the pasta but don’t mix it in too well. You want to see ribbons of creme sauce.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes at 375F.

Husband Rating: 3 man grunts and he went back for seconds.

Optional add ins: If you want to up the veggie ante, toss in some mushrooms, peppers or kalamata olives. Just don’t use carrots. For the love of all things Italian, don’t use carrots please. It just ain’t right.

Susan’s Ricotta but with Kale

I pulled this ricotta, with permission, from Susan’s favorite lasagna recipe on her blog, Fatfree Vegan Kitchen. If you’re looking for a great lasagna, try her recipe! And BTW, this ricotta would be awesome without any greens at all, just in case you need something like that. It’s the kind of flavor combination you can eat from the bowl when no one’s looking.

  • 2 cups steamed kale (original recipe calls for 10 oz. frozen spinach)
  • 1 lb. firm tofu, not silken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary (I used rubbed rosemary)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Put all ingredients, except kale, in a food processor and pulse until incorporated.  Add kale and pulse until mixed but don’t process so long that the ricotta turns green. You can also use a potato masher and do this by hand to get a chunkier, ricotta-like result.

Allison’s Cashew Creme

Allison also has a great ziti recipe from her column, VeganizeIT! in VegNews magazine. That’s where I snagged, with permission, this amazing and tangy cashew creme to give me something gooey for my ziti. Check out all her recipes from the VegNews column. She recently won the Veggie Award for favorite column in VegNews. Congrats Allison!

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried dill (I subbed basil since I didn’t have any dried dill)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1  1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced with 2 tablespoons set aside

If you don’t have a high-speed blender like a Blendtec, blend the cashews into a fine powder first then add the remaining ingredients. But if using a fancy blender, you can  dump it all in at once and blended until creamy.

Snarky’s Basic Tomato Sauce

If you need a basic tomato sauce recipe, this one works. You could also use jarred sauce if you have a fave.

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2  15oz cans tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup red wine, not a sweet wine
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fennel
  • pinch or two of cayenne (optional)
  • salt to taste
  1. Saute garlic in oil until translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for at least 40 minutes to deepen the flavors.
  3. Set aside until needed or make several days ahead and refrigerate.