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Clownfish Pumpkin Baked Ziti Recipe

Clownfish Pumpkin Baked Ziti Recipe

By Kelsey Banfield

Pumpkin is one of our favorite fall flavors. All season I add it to just about everything including both savory and sweet dishes. I was inspired to add it to our favorite baked ziti last fall and it has been a favorite of ours ever since. My kids call it clownfish ziti because it is the color of Nemo from Finding Nemo. It seems that any kind of orange food is often named after Nemo in our house!

In addition to the cool name, this recipe is a very healthy weeknight meal. Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living — a program that partners with parents to help them in their quest to raise healthy children — give this recipe the Mickey Check seal of approval! This particular recipe is perfect for whipping up on a fall school night and is brimming with healthy vitamins and proteins. I guarantee your family will love it!

Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • 1 pound whole wheat ziti
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 20 ounces marinara sauce
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup light ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded low-fat mozzarella


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 baking dish and set aside.

2. Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions and set aside.

3. In a large skillet on the stovetop add a dash of olive oil and add the ground turkey. Use a wooden spoon to break it up as it cooks. Add a pinch of kosher salt and some ground pepper as you cook it to season. Continue cooking until the turkey is no longer pinch.

3. Then, add the onions and cook them until softened and translucent. Then, add the garlic and seasonings and stir together. Cook for one more minute.

4. Pour in the marinara sauce and pumpkin into the turkey and bring it to a simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove it from the heat and taste for seasonings.

5. Spread a little sauce on the bottom of the bowl. Then cover it with the cooked pasta and half of the ricotta. Then, pour half the sauce over the mixture. Add a second layer with the remaining pasta, remaining ricotta and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling and hot all the way through!