Veggie Pasta Bake

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There's nothing quite like a delicious pasta recipe. I mean, what's not to love? Pasta, cheese, sauce, baked to utter perfection. Throw in some of my favorite vegetables and life is made. If you know me, you know how important it is for me to have recipes that are one dish, one pot, one pan, or super simple enough to make during the week or as meal prep. In other words, recipes I love and recipes I develop have to be accessible, and this veggie pasta bake encompasses all of my criteria for the perfect recipe.

What is a veggie pasta bake?

Simply put, a veggie pasta bake is a slew of different vegetables tossed together in a marinara or a garlic and oil sauce, topped with cheese, and baked. The combinations of vegetables and sauces is truly endless. I could totally see this turning into a veggie a la vodka bake with broccoli and call it a day. This one involves sautéed broccoli, zucchini, spinach, and brussel sprouts.

How do I prepare the vegetables for this pasta bake?

Typically, I will roast veggies in the oven for when I prepare veggie as a side to an entree. In this particular recipe, I opted to sauté them until they were relatively soft and browned, then threw them into the pasta and marinara, tossed it altogether until well combined, and then baked. The veggies were able to hold up to the sauce and the pasta, and were just the right amount of soft when they baked. It was utter perfection.

What variety of vegetables are best for this pasta bake?

We love all kinds of vegetables in my house, so really any vegetable would work for this pasta bake. The trick to keeping the vegetables in tact as it bakes is to cook it for shortly less time than you would if you were just roasting them. I'll also say that some vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, works perfectly here as it takes quite a bit of cooking time to get the cruciferous vegetables very soft. Here's a few veggies that work exceptionally well for this pasta bake:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach - adds a nice, silky texture, but add in at the end!
  • Brussel sprouts
  • String beans
  • Asparagus
  • Corn
  • Roasted red peppers
  • Zucchini - but when sautéing, be sure to add this is at the end, as it'll soften quick!

Truly the combinations are endless, but these are what I'd start with.

What type of pasta should I use?

I LOVE PASTA, but for pasta bakes, you really want to stay away from thinner or longer pastas as they will fall apart when baked. I would say, stick with short, tubular, or corkscrew varieties such as:

  • Rigatoni
  • Penne
  • Fusilli
  • Cavatappi
  • Rotini

Let's make this veggie pasta bake, shall we?

To make this insanely delicious pasta bake, start by preheating the oven to 350º. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta two minutes less than what directions indicate. Strain and set aside. While the pasta cooks, sauté the vegetables in a large frying pan with olive oil and garlic powder: begin with the brussel sprouts and broccoli, letting render down and soften, approximately 10 minutes. Add in the spinach and zucchini, and sauté until the spinach is wilted and the zucchini has become semi-translucent. To a large oven-safe baking dish, pour in the pasta and mixed vegetables, then add in the marinara sauce. Mix the veggies and pasta in with the marinara to fully coat. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes, broiling for 3 minutes at the end to get the cheese nice and melted.

Hungry for more?

Try these amazing pasta dishes, perfect as meal prep, kid-friendly, and excellent for a weeknight:

Veggie Pasta Bake

Veggie lovers, this one's for you! An ultra-loaded veggie pasta bake, packed with four of my favorite veggies, and topped with melted cheese. You can't go wrong when making this one. Excellent for kids, perfect as meal prep. Deliciousness guaranteed!

Author:
Morgan

Ingredients

  • 1lb penne pasta
  • 1 28oz jar or can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, sauteed
  • 2 cups broccoli, sauteed
  • 1 cup brussel sprouts, sauteed
  • 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta two minutes less than what directions indicate. Strain and set aside.
  3. While the pasta cooks, sauté the vegetables in a large frying pan with olive oil and garlic powder: begin with the brussel sprouts and broccoli, letting render down and soften, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Add in the spinach and zucchini, and sauté until the spinach is wilted and the zucchini has become semi-translucent.
  5. To a large oven-safe baking dish, pour in the pasta and mixed vegetables, then add in the marinara sauce. Mix the veggies and pasta in with the marinara to fully coat.
  6. Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes, broiling for 3 minutes at the end to get the cheese nice and melted.

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Dawn
July 6, 2022
I made this recipe this evening for my family, and we were all SO happy with it! It was absolutely delicious, the veggies were great in the pasta, and perfect for my youngest who doesn't always like vegetables. I will for sure make this one again !