Very Veggie Pasta Bake
Behold, one of the easiest dinners known to (wo)man—very veggie pasta bake! My husband was out of town, and I felt like eating something homemade for dinner but didn’t want to put forth much effort. Pasta bakes check both of those boxes, and if you loaded them up with veggies and use a high protein veggie pasta, they actually can be fairly healthy.
You can use whatever veggies you want in this dish, but I went for a yellow onion, garlic, broccoli, peas and a roasted red bell pepper. Buy steam in the bag broccoli and frozen peas (again, steam in the bag) to save yourself even more time. I also used jarred marinara sauce, but feel free to make your own sauce if you’re in the mood (try my Loaded Veggie Marinara Sauce or Mushroom Bolognese). Top with cheese, bake and you’ll be eating off of this for lunch throughout the week!
1 - 8 oz. box pasta (we used Banza Rotini made from chickpeas)
1 - 24 oz. jar of marinara sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced (if you’re roasting the pepper, then dice it afterward)
12 oz. bag of steam in the bag broccoli
10 oz. bag of frozen peas
1 T. olive oil
1/3 c. ricotta cheese
3/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. red pepper flakes (plus extra to garnish)
Dried oregano, to garnish
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the broccoli and peas according to package directions.
2) Prepare the red pepper. I chose to blacken it over the open flame on our gas stove; you can roast it in the oven, grill it on an outdoor grill or keep it raw. Either way, it needs to end up diced.
3) Heat the olive oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with fresh cracked black pepper. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for three minutes.
4) Add the broccoli, paprika and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for another two minutes.
5) Add the red bell pepper and peas and sauté for an additional two minutes.
6) Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and pour it into the pan with the veggies. Add the sauce and ricotta and toss well to combine.
7) Spread the mixture evenly into a 9 in. x 13 in. class baking dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese, dried oregano and red pepper flakes.
8) Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional seven minutes. Finish in the broiler, if desired.