This easy healthy Baked Pasta with Veggies, spinach and ricotta is an great make-ahead kid friendly vegetarian (or flexitarian) dinner. The best part is that it is ready in only 40 minutes!
12 ounces pasta, such as Rigatoni or Ziti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons dry Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
5 ounces baby spinach
1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
½ cup chopped fresh basil
8 oz part-skim ricotta cheese or plant based ricotta (1 cup)
2 cups shredded cheese such as Cheddar or Italian cheese blend or Italian style vegan cheese shreds
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions for al dente pasta. Drain well and run cool water over it to wash off extra starch and to prevent the pasta from clumping together. Return to the pot. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring often until the onion is softened and starting to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add in garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, Italian seasonings and pepper and cook, stirring often until the vegetables are tender and any excess moisture is evaporated, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable mixture, the crushed tomatoes and basil to the pasta and stir well. If using sausage for flexitarian option add it too.
- Transfer the pasta and veggie mixture to the casserole dish. Dollop the ricotta over the top of the pasta. Top with the shredded cheese.
- Bake until the pasta is bubbling hot and the cheese is melted, about 12 minutes. Let cool at least 5 minutes before serving.
Flexitarian Variation: For a heartier meal, 8 to 16 ounces turkey sausage can also be added. We recommend Hot Italian style. Remove the casings and spray a medium or large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Crumble in the turkey sausage and heat over medium-high. Break-up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until it is cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Serving Size: 1/6 casserole
- Calories: 467
- Sugar: 7 g
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 54 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 23 g