How to make baked ziti with shrimp, spinach, and feta cheese. Jump to the Baked Ziti Recipe with Shrimp or read on to see our tips for making it.
There are very few things that can beat pasta for me — I absolutely love it. I love that pasta can be hearty like our Pumpkin Mac and Cheese or light, like this shrimp ziti. I love that you can combine it with almost anything, from brown butter and walnuts to sausage and ricotta. Most of all, I love that it’s fast. With about 15 minutes of hands-on time this easy baked ziti is perfect for busy nights.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: This Easy Baked Ziti Recipe with Spinach has lots of spinach, artichokes, and a creamy pesto layer in the middle. Easy and delicious.
How to Make Baked Ziti with Shrimp and Spinach
Start by cooking your pasta, but undercook it by 1 to 2 minutes. This way, when we toss it with the other ingredients and bake the pasta won’t become mushy.
One of my favorite parts to this recipe is the lemony tomato sauce. It’s light and plays so nicely with the shrimp and feta cheese. It’s extremely simple to make — just olive oil, canned tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest.
For the shrimp, season them lightly with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, when the pasta is cooked, toss it with the shrimp, our homemade sauce, spinach, and feta cheese.
Toss everything together and slide into a baking dish. See how fresh and light it looks. I love that.
Just before baking, we scatter breadcrumbs, feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Then the ziti is baked until the shrimp are cooked through and the top of the ziti begins to brown.
Recipe updated, originally posted February 2012. Since posting this in 2012, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Easy Baked Ziti Recipe with Shrimp and Spinach
With about 15 minutes of hands-on time this easy baked ziti is perfect for busy nights. When cooking the pasta, undercook it by 1 to 2 minutes. This way, when it is tossed with the other ingredients and baked the pasta won’t become mushy.
You Will Need
8 ounces dried pasta, such as ziti, penne, or rigatoni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions, but cook 1 to 2 minutes less than the package calls for. Drain.
3Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic turns light brown; about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with juices, lemon zest, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste the sauce for seasoning, and adjust with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
4Toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
5In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta, tomato sauce, shrimp, ringed out spinach, and half of the feta cheese. Add to the baking dish then top with remaining feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
6Bake the ziti, covered, until the shrimp are thoroughly cooked (they will become firm and opaque); about 15 minutes. Uncover, and then bake until the cheese and breadcrumbs begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Cooked fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen. Cook about 1 pound of fresh spinach until wilted, squeeze out excess moisture and add to the filling.
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Was wondering if you could use linguini, angel hair or spaghitti (thinner pasta as opposed to thicker?) or does it come out better with a thicker pasta like penne?
Absolutely. Any pasta will work.
Thanks for sharing. I have this in the oven now. I used shredded mozzarella as I didn’t have feta cheese.
I am so ‘pumped’! I just found your site today! Loved that the steps are easy enough for ‘any and everybody’ to follow! The non-intimidating and inviting layout of your pages would be non-threatening even to a child!
I am 100% sure I will not only enjoy making this, but, all of your future recipes. I am doubly sure they will please my palatte as well as anyone elses I may share them with!
May i ask if cutting the shrimp would then enable them to be thoroughly cooked, for non sushi lovers!? Thank You both for this gift, A forever follower 5stars
Cutting the shrimp into smaller pieces is completely fine.
Absolutely delicious recipe. We enjoyed this very much! We found that it required a little longer than ten minutes to cook in the oven — probably because we started with homemade tomato sauce at room temperature. We will definitely make this again. Thanks for sharing.
Recipe looks great, but my husband doesn’t like feta cheese. Could you recommend a suitable substitute? Thanks.
Goat cheese would be nice … or little dabs of cream cheese.
Sounds great – can i use fresh spinach? Do i sautee it first?
Yep, fresh or frozen spinach works. We didn’t cook it first, but you could if you wanted to.
Hi I usually try receipes from your site…
However I d like to make a comment…for people that are okay with sushi shrimp I’d recomend you put them in without precooking …for me I prefer mine well cooked so once it baked half my shrimp were cooked while half were not …so my suggestion would be to cook the shrimp before you add it to the pasta
Thanks for sharing!
Did you use plain or flavored dried bread crumbs in this recipe.
Both will work — in the photos above, we used plain.
Yum, can’t wait to try this – we’ve enjoyed the Nutella Bread Pudding twice now with neighbors. Everyone always wants 2nds!