Filling the house with the smell of venison, pasta sauce, and cheese is one of my favorite things in life and that’s why I love Baked Venison Ziti. Then another favorite is when it’s done and I see a piece with gooey cheese drooping down.
Ok, so maybe I’m a little weird about food, but I’d rather say I simply appreciate food and all of its beauty. Yeah, that’s it! In all seriousness, I absolutely love this recipe! It’s an inexpensive recipe that’s really easy to make, everyone loves it and its enough to feed a small army of teenagers and it’s great as leftovers–if you have any leftover! Oh, and it makes the house smell wonderful.
Baked Venison Ziti
Total Time: About an hour
Yield: 8 Squares of Baked Venison Ziti
Serving Size: 1 Square
- 2 lbs venison, ground
- 12 oz. uncooked ziti
- 36 oz. of your favorite spaghetti sauce
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 3-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (1 1/2 cups reserved for the top)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large skillet, on high heat, cook the ground venison until done (about 7 minutes) and drain if needed.
- Stir the spaghetti sauce in with the ground venison and let it simmer while the pasta is cooking.
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but don’t cook it all of the way done–cut it short by a couple of minutes because you will be baking it in the oven and you don’t want soggy pasta.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs and then add the ricotta cheese, all but 1-1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the cheese and egg mixture and then add in the meat sauce and gently fold until combined.
- Pour it all into a large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes and remove from the oven. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese over the dish and put it back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt, which should be about 5 minutes.
- Let it stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving and cut into 8 square pieces.
As you can see below, cutting this Baked Venison Ziti into 8 squares did not happen!
It goes great with garlic bread and a salad. It tastes even better the next day and if you’re into food prepping–even though this is not a healthy diet-friendly meal to be prepping for–no judgment here lol but you can freeze this in the baking dish for up to a couple of months. When you’re ready for it, just bake it straight from the freezer covered with foil for 1 hour on 350°F, then uncover and bake for 10-15 more minutes.
This is great with added ground sausage, especially Italian sausage, and/or mushrooms and bell peppers. You can even mix the cheeses up a little. I’ve baked it with cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella and it was fabulous!
The good, the bad and the delicious…
- Baked Venison Ziti is very high in protein, high in vitamin A and calcium.
- It is also very high in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
See tips below for making this a more diet-friendly recipe.
Baked Venison Ziti Nutrition Facts
|Yields: 8 Squares||Serving: 1 Square of Ziti|
|Calories 703||Calories from fat: 55%|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 43 g||66%|
|Saturated Fat 26 g||128%|
|Monounsaturated Fat 8 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 221 mg||74%|
|Sodium 1361 mg||57%|
|Potassium 474 mg||14%|
|Total Carbohydrates 29 g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 3 g||11%|
|Sugars 9 g|
|Protein 57 g||114%|
|Vitamin A 31%||Vitamin C 10%|
|Calcium 70%||Iron 11%|
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA, but were calculated by MyFitnessPal, Inc. by Under Armour, Inc.
To make this recipe more diet-friendly…
If you make changes to your Baked Venison Ziti, it will change the taste as well so please keep that in mind.
- To help lower the sodium, you can make your own spaghetti sauce and use salt alternatives when needed. You can also leave out some of the cheese. All of the cheese in this recipe has quite a bit of sodium, especially the parmesan and mozzarella. Cutting the cheese (no pun intended) will also help with the calories, cholesterol, and fat.
- Some of the cholesterol in this recipe is coming from the venison, which has been found to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL, which is a great thing! But if you’d like to lower the cholesterol and fat, lower the amount of fat added to your ground venison. For this recipe, you can even use no fat added ground venison and it will still be awesome. The rest of the cholesterol is coming from the cheese. Lessen the amount of cheese used or use healthier cheese.
- Whatever changes you make to your Baked Venison Ziti, you can recalculate the nutrition facts at myfitnesspal.com