No-Boil Pasta Bake (with Veggies!)
This recipe is a weeknight dinner miracle! To make No-Boil Pasta Bake, you add everything to a baking dish, including pasta straight from the box, mix it with sauce and veggies, and bake it! Totally hands off and no cooking the pasta before-hand at all! I kept the basic recipe simple. However, You can customize this healthy pasta dish with whatever you’d like. Sausage, chicken, broccoli, different cheeses, or any flavors you love with pasta are easy to mix in.
Kids in the Kitchen:
- Veggie prep!: Kids can help grate the carrot or help chop whatever vegetables you decide to use in you pasta dish. Don’t hide those veggies, let kids help put them into the pasta dish.
- Dump and stir: have kids add everything to the pan then stir it up. Yes, the stirring part could get messy but you can always wipe off the sides of the pan with a paper towel after.
- Measure then pour the water: this part should be pretty simple and it’s a great opportunity to talk about measuring a liquid. Your child can then carefully pour the water over the pasta in the pan.
- Sprinkle the cheese: this step is best for older children since the pan will be hot and you have to make sure the child understands not to touch the pan while adding the cheese. However, you can let any aged child help measure the cheese and then watch you sprinkle it over the hot pasta.
Subs and Tips for making No-Boil Pasta Bake:
- Gluten-free?: I have only tested this recipe with wheat pasta, but I think it would work with any other pasta types you want to use. In the comments, let me know what kind of pasta you use and how it works out!
- Dairy-free: You could definitely use a dairy-free shredded cheese substitute for the top of the pasta if you’d like. If you leave out the parmesan in the pasta, you will want to add some extra salt (prob about 1/2 teaspoon) in with the tomato sauce.
- Add-in suggestions: you can really add in anything you usually enjoy with your pasta. Cooked sausages, diced chicken, other cheeses such as goat cheese or fresh mozzarella pieces. If you like your pasta with a creamy sauce, replace half of the water with some milk or stir in something creamy like ricotta or cream cheese after the pasta is done cooking.
- Other veggies?: any raw or frozen vegetables would work well mixed in with that pasta. Examples: grated zucchini, small florets of broccoli, diced peppers…what would you add?
- Other seasonings: bump up the flavor of your baked pasta with whatever dried seasonings, fresh herbs, or spices you enjoy with pasta. Garlic powder, dried Italian seasoning, chili flakes, fresh basil, would all be great things to add.
No-Boil Pasta Bake (with Veggies!)
The easiest pasta dinner.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 16 ounces small shaped pasta such as penne, fussili, or ziti
- 1/2 cup finely grated carrot or any veggies you like
- 1 cup finely chopped baby spinach or any leafy greens
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 24-28 ounce jar marinara sauce (Rao's in my favorite)
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with the olive oil.
- Add pasta, veggies, parmesan cheese, and marinara sauce to the baking pan. Stir well to mix then spread into an even layer. Pour water over the top then give the pan a shake or stir a bit to make sure the water is evenly distributed.
- Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. (If you pasta still seems undercooked at this time, see note below.)
- Carefully remove foil with an oven mitt then sprinkle mozzarella cheese evenly oven the top of the pasta. Broil until cheese is golden brown. Serve warm.
Note: If the pasta is still undercooked after the cook time instructed, stir it up and make sure there is still some liquid in the pan. If the liquid has been fully absorbed, add an additional cup of water and cover the pan tightly with foil. Place the pan back in the oven and cook for 20 more minutes then taste the pasta again. Some people have reported having to cook the pasta for up to an hour to an hour and 15 min for it to be fully cooked.
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Quick Dinner Recipes:
Stuffed Pizza Bites (with Veggies)
Teriyaki Turkey and Veggie Meatballs
Easy Veggie and Bean Quesadillas
Made for supper tonight and it was delicious! Made one regular version and one gluten-free and the gf one turned out great as well without any other adaptations. Will definitely be making this again!
Hi Heather! I’m so glad the recipe worked out gluten-free and you all enjoyed it. Thank you so so much for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂 Heather
I could not believe how delicious this was considering how easy it was to make. My kid has been dying to cook with me and this was a great recipe for her to help with (you basically can’t mess it up). She even ate it!
Hi Tara! I’m so glad you all enjoyed the recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review. 🙂 Heather
Seriously delicious!!!!!! Made it together with my toddler and we loved every bit of it. I also love how you make not only easy recipes, but let us have some creativity with it and add in whatever we want/have in the fridge. We made it with carrots, red pepper and combined the sauce with a bit of red pepper pesto. Yum!! Thank you Heather!!!
This is my kind of recipe! Easy and delicious. I’m all about minimal ingredients and minimal steps when it comes to cooking, so this is perfect for me. We made it last night and it turned out great. Definitely will be making this a staple in our household. (By the way, follow the recipe and add salt if you don’t add parmesan. I didn’t do that and the pasta definitely needed some extra salt, but it was an easy fix on the back-end.)
Hi Maya! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and appreciated how easy it is. Thanks you for taking the time to leave a review!
Guys, this is a magical, must-make recipe that you need to plan on serving up immediately! Seriously! Wait, no longer. I’m still totally taken with the fact that I don’t have to boil pasta, that I readily get to add helpings of healthy veggies into the mix, and that I get to serve up a delicious dinner that happily fills bellies with minimal effort. This has become a go-to for us and I have to say that Heather continues to outdo herself. I have rarely been confident in the kitchen and was rather anxious to try new things because I doubted myself. I’m so lucky to have found Heather’s account on Instagram. She has inspired me beyond measure by providing simple, healthy, and fun recipes that have jazzed up breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and everything in between. I feel grateful to have her site as a resource and a motivator. Being a Mom is the most difficult (and most rewarding) job on this planet, so finding ways to gain support on different levels is so necessary. Thanks again for another wonderful recipe!
Christa! This is the most kind review ever. Thank you so much! I’m so glad that my recipes are helpful and that you enjoyed this pasta bake. Please message me or email anytime! 🙂 Heather
Delicious and easy! Just how I like my recipes. I added some red lentils and they were perfect. Family loved it.
Usually baked pastas are twice as hard as regular pasta, but this one was way easier! The cook time was accurate. I can’t broil in my glass pans, so I just cooked 10 min longer once the mozzarella cheese was on top. I made it just like the original recipe with carrots, spinach, and Rao’s, and it was good. I think my kids would love it with some pepperoni on top of the cheese, so next time I’ll try that.
Hi Ann! I’m so glad you found the recipe easy and delicious. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! 🙂 Heather
Followed directions, put in for 40 mins at 400. The pasta wasn’t cooked at all, still crunchy. So disappointed, and no dinner tonight
Hi Deb, I’m so sorry that happened. I’ve made this recipe a ton of times and I never had that problem. Do you mind me asking what kind of pasta you used? Was it completely covered with liquid and the baking pan covered with foil? If the pasta wasn’t cooked, you can bake it for longer and taste it again to make sure that it’s cooked through before you cover the top with cheese. Many people have made this recipe, so I’d love to help figure out what went wrong. 🙂 Heather
I used pene pasta, everything was covered. I added 10 min to it and tried it again, it was still undercooked so I threw it out.
Just came to read comments and see if anyone else has had this experience. This is what is currently happening to me too! I am using garofalo, bc that’s what Costco sells for organic pasta. Seemed in line with the style of pasta you recommend. Just pulled it out after 35 mins and it’s super liquidy and pasta isn’t cooked hardly at all. Foil tightly on it. I reread recipe and followed it to a T! : ( Put it back in for another ten mins and hoping and praying it just needs more time?!
Hi Erica, I’m so sorry that happened! I really don’t understand why the pasta wouldn’t cook. I’ve made this recipe tons of times and have several comments here and on Pinterest saying people make this over and over again and love it. I know how frustrating it is to try and recipe and not have it work out. I wish I could have offered some help. May I ask what kind of baking pan you used? Was it a glass pyrex or metal pan? I don’t think it would make a difference, but I’d love to solve the mystery. 🙂 Heather
Hi Heather, I used a ceramic baking dish. I ended up getting it to eventually cook, it just took an extra 30 mins or so. I am making it again tonight! Just planning for the extra cook time this time. It really was delicious and I was much happier after I realized I didn’t ruin dinner that night haha. Thank you!
Oh no — I just put it in oven with the mozzarella already mixed in!! Is this a fail already?? LOL
I made it once before (the correct way!) and my son loved it. He asked for it again tonight and I just wasn’t thinking! 🙁
Hi! Oh I think it should be ok. Just extra cheesy which is never a problem, right? Let me know how it went! 🙂 Heather
This recipe has become a staple at our house! My kids love a good pasta casserole, and finding a version that doesn’t require pre-cooking the pasta has been a total game changer. And it has veggies! They blend in enough that my picky eater doesn’t complain about them. We use whole wheat pasta and it works great. Mine usually takes closer to 45-50 minutes to bake, so I just factor in a bit of extra time. Thank you Heather!
Hi Anna! So happy that you and your family love this recipe. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review! 🙂 Heather
Hi! If I want to add ground turkey to this, what stage do you recommend? Should I brown and add at the beginning before it all goes in the oven?
Hi Erica, I would brown the ground turkey and mix in the marinara sauce then add it to the recipe before baking. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂 Heather