Baked Pasta

This Baked Pasta recipe utilizes whole wheat pasta, ground turkey and plenty of cheese.

Pasta Bake 1

There’s an old saying in our house… “If there is nothing for dinner, then pasta is what’s for dinner.” Seriously, sometimes I get caught at 5 o’clock without any plans to feed my family a good dinner, and pasta is an acceptable fallback. I try to keep things like ground beef, turkey and sausage in the freezer, jars of marinara and different varieties of pasta in the pantry, some veggies in the crisper, and plenty of cheese in the much-loved cheese drawer. If I have these basics available, whipping up a quick pasta meal is not a problem.

Pasta Bake 2

My friend Maria from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod recently shared a brand of whole wheat pasta with me that she loves: Delallo. I hadn’t tried it before (my boys usually say they don’t care much for whole wheat pasta) so I picked up their whole wheat shells at my local market and decided to give them a shot.

Pasta Bake - Baked Turkey Pasta Shells with Cheese - RecipeGirl

It turns out the whole wheat shells worked perfectly in this recipe- combined with sauteed onions, ground turkey, marinara and a very flavorful Monterey Jack cheese. I asked my boys if they liked the pasta, and they actually said that they LOVED the pasta. Then I broke the news that it was whole wheat. They enthusiastically agreed that I can make Delallo whole wheat pasta for them any time. I’m so happy I found this brand. Oh yeah, and this isn’t a sponsored post or anything, I’m just sharing a brand that you might like to try too.

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Cheesy Turkey Baked Pasta

Yield: 4 generous servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 20 min


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 pound ground turkey (10% fat)
4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta shells (see *Tips below)
2 1/2 cups marinara sauce (bottled or homemade)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (divided)
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.

2. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-heat and add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute until onions have softened, about 4 minutes. Crumble in the ground turkey and cook until the turkey is browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pasta, marinara sauce, parsley and 1 cup of the cheese. Spoon the pasta mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top and the Parmesan cheese too.

3. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes.


*I'm not always such a fan of whole wheat pasta, but I really like the Delallo Foods brand- we used their whole wheat shells for this recipe. Delallo is in select stores, but you can always find it at Whole Foods Market.
*4 cups of cooked pasta equates to about 2 cups dried.
*Use a good cheese for this recipe- I used a very flavorful Monterey Jack. Sometimes Jack can be quite mild. You can also use Swiss, Provolone or Mozzarella (or a blend!)


Leave a Comment

44 Responses to “Baked Pasta”

  1. 1

    Kathryn — October 14, 2013 @ 4:57 AM

    Love this pasta – such a great and hearty meal!

  2. 2

    Tieghan — October 14, 2013 @ 5:14 AM

    The only way I can get my family to eat whole wheat pasta is with the Delallo WW pasta. It is the only brand that does not taste like cardboard and we love it! This pasta bake is perfect for any night. It’s quick and easy, but still cheesy and so comforting! Like you worked all day on it, but actually did not. I love those kinds of meals!

  3. 3

    Liz S. — October 14, 2013 @ 5:23 AM

    Perfect, comforting dish! Love the whole-wheat version.

  4. 4

    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — October 14, 2013 @ 5:41 AM

    What a great recipe Lori! I always have pasta on hand for those last minute moments. I’ll need to check this one out sometime ;)

  5. 5

    Maegan @ The BakerMama — October 14, 2013 @ 6:47 AM

    This is such a great go-to dinner idea since I almost always have these ingredients on hand! My boys would gobble this up!

  6. 6

    Marie @ Little Kitchie — October 14, 2013 @ 6:52 AM

    Yep, I could eat this every day. Looks amazing!!

  7. 7

    DeLallo Foods — October 14, 2013 @ 7:25 AM

    So glad that you and your family enjoyed our pasta! :) Recipe looks delicious!

  8. 8

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — October 14, 2013 @ 9:22 AM

    I always try to have a box of pasta on hand for easy dinners. This baked pasta looks fabulous! I will try it this week and see how my family likes it. I love WW past and I will be on the look out for Delallo!

  9. 9

    Allia — October 14, 2013 @ 11:05 AM

    This is really similar to a pasta bake my best friend and I have been making for the past 12 years (or at least until we were allowed near the stove without parental supervision)! Super delicious and easy! A few updates I do in order to get my husband to eat more veggies:

    – add 1-1.5 cups diced mushrooms: saute it with the garlic and onions
    – add squash/zucchini (as desired) and saute it with garlic and onions till softened
    – toss in some spinach towards the end for a quick wilt before baking

    Additionally, for a slightly creamier taste, add 3-4 tablespoons of heavy cream to the sauce before you add the pasta.

  10. 10

    amanda — October 14, 2013 @ 1:31 PM

    Love it girl! Love that it’s quick and easy! And looks yummy!

  11. 11

    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen — October 14, 2013 @ 3:51 PM

    Pasta bakes are my favorite, probably because of all the cheese melted on top, this one looks like I would fall in love ;) Excited to try the whole wheat pasta, haven’t tried any whole wheat versions in years!

  12. 12

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — October 14, 2013 @ 6:40 PM

    Oh, girl…your Baked Pasta looks soooo good! Perfect fall and winter…or, anytime meal. LOVE DeLallo pastas! The best part is they have an exceptional gluten-free pasta in their line. Thanks for sharing, Lori! Will be pinning. Kinda missed pinning tonight…trying to help Heather Christo with her little sweet pea, Pia. xoxo

  13. 13

    The Healthy Apple — October 14, 2013 @ 8:00 PM

    This sounds great Lori! Everyone loves trying a new baked pasta recipe and this one sounds fabulous. Going to try to make it gluten-free! Thanks for the idea. oxox Hope you are well.
    Miss you!!!

  14. 14

    marcie — October 14, 2013 @ 8:30 PM

    This pasta looks so cheesy and delicious! This is the perfect, comforting dish for a chilly fall evening!

  15. 15

    Krysten — October 14, 2013 @ 10:53 PM

    I love pasta bakes! I am definitely going to have to try this soon!

  16. 16

    Kevin (Closet Cooking) — October 15, 2013 @ 1:56 AM

    What a nice and tasty pasta bake!

  17. 17

    Sue — October 15, 2013 @ 10:54 AM

    Looks good…can you share what brand of flavorful Monterey Jack you used?

  18. 18

    Lori Lange — October 15, 2013 @ 10:57 AM

    Sure- I used an organic Monterey Jack from Whole Foods- I think just their store brand. It was great!

  19. 19

    amani — October 15, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

    What is marinara sauce? :) greetings from Denmark!

  20. 20

    BitsyBet — October 15, 2013 @ 2:28 PM

    Looks yummy. I’d have to use lean ground beef in place of the turkey since my family and I don’t care for ground turkey. I’ll be on the look out for the Delallo whole wheat shells, too. Thank you for the tip.

  21. 21

    Karen — October 15, 2013 @ 9:58 PM

    I have a stupid question.

    Did you cook your pasta first?

    (I agree about the WW pasta, that’s the only brand I can stomach!)
    Thank you.


  22. 22

    Deborah — October 15, 2013 @ 11:39 PM

    This is such a great weeknight meal! I always need great last minute ideas.

  23. 23

    Lori Lange — October 16, 2013 @ 7:56 AM

    Yes, in the recipe you’ll see that it calls for cooked pasta. Enjoy!

  24. 24

    Lori Lange — October 16, 2013 @ 8:00 AM

    It’s funny- we don’t really care for ground turkey much either, but it worked in this recipe.

  25. 25

    Ashley@BakerByNature — October 16, 2013 @ 10:15 AM

    This looks like total comfort food! And I need it in my life asap.

  26. 26

    Bev @ Bev Cooks — October 17, 2013 @ 7:30 AM

    I can’t even move right now.

  27. 27

    Lori Lange — October 17, 2013 @ 1:12 PM

    spaghetti sauce.

  28. 28

    Sarah — October 17, 2013 @ 4:54 PM

    I made this for dinner tonight using organic ground beef. My husband had two servings – and he rarely takes seconds.

  29. 29

    Marsha — October 19, 2013 @ 2:06 PM

    I bought some Delallo whole wheat pasta as a result of your comments and cooked it today. It is delicious. It’s the brand I will use from now on. I actually like it better than “regular” pasta.

  30. 30

    Louise — October 21, 2013 @ 6:25 AM

    Made this bake last night, very easy and really really good! Good one for an informal dinner party too. To keep!!

  31. 31

    Karen @ Sugartown Sweets — October 21, 2013 @ 10:20 AM

    This is a recipe I can get behind! The only way i can eat ground turkey is in Italian dishes. Hubby and I like it as much or better than beef! this looks like a great recipe. :)

  32. 32

    Nutmeg Nanny — October 21, 2013 @ 6:00 PM

    I loved baked pasta dishes :) this looks delicious!!

  33. 33

    Rebecca — October 23, 2013 @ 4:12 PM

    What is the nutritional info? Weight watchers points?

  34. 34

    Lori Lange — October 24, 2013 @ 8:21 PM

    Not sure- but you can put the ingreds into a recipe calculator to figure it out- I like to use Spark People Recipe Calculator.

  35. 35

    Sharon — October 27, 2013 @ 6:04 PM

    This looks excellent! My only question is that you seem to have left out the step for when to add the parsley (unless I’m totally blind). I’m assuming you’d add it at the same time as the pasta and marinara sauce, correct? I’ll definitely be making this soon!

  36. 36

    Lori Lange — October 28, 2013 @ 10:51 AM

    Thank you for spotting that- I added it in the directions. Appreciate the heads-up!

  37. 37

    Lyn Langenberg — November 12, 2013 @ 2:45 PM

    I made this with regular pasta and turkey. I didn’t tell my husband and son until after they’d taken a few bites and said they really liked it that it had turkey in it. They aren’t big fans of ground turkey usually but in this dish it’s really good. I used an Italian Cheese Blend for the cheese that comes already shredded in a package. I’m sure this dish would be really good with ground beef or sausage as well. Easy to prepare and very tasty!

  38. 38

    Kari — February 20, 2014 @ 12:29 PM

    This turned out great – thanks! I used 1/2 lb. ground beef instead of the turkey because that is what I had in the freezer. This is great for cleaning out the freezer & pantry!

  39. 39

    Nicole @ Max P. Productions — April 3, 2014 @ 2:27 PM

    I tried this recipe the other night and it was scrumptious. It was easy to make and all the ingredients were readily available being that I make turkey meatballs and spaghetti all the time. Definitely a regular on the menu. Thank you!

  40. 40

    Shannon — April 5, 2014 @ 12:34 PM

    My family will love this. Thank you for sharing.

  41. 41

    Em — July 19, 2014 @ 7:03 PM

    This was delicious and so easy to put together! I followed the recipe to a T except for I used Penne (Couldn’t find whole wheat shells) and I subbed Colby Jack cheese for the montery jack. I couldn’t find that either, but I guess that’s what you get when the grocery store has a sale on cheese. :P

    Anyway, my family enjoyed this very much and I can see it being quite a versatile recipe as well!

  42. 42

    nancy — August 18, 2014 @ 5:15 PM

    this looks good. I can’t tell you how easy it is to have a simple meal that fills everybody up and keeps us going until the next morning.. it’s also important to diabetics to have s omething like this to avoid a drop in blood sugar.. thank you.. nms.

  43. 43

    Linda H — November 22, 2014 @ 1:41 PM

    Thank you for this delicious recipe! The only thing I changed was reducing the “1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes” to an 1/16 teaspoon (heaped). My 2- and 4-year old boys appeared to detect the spiciness at a couple of mouthfuls, but they still finished off their plates. Next time I won’t include the pepper flakes as it was still very tasty. Definitely a keeper!

  44. 44

    Hima — December 13, 2014 @ 6:09 AM

    I made this last night for dinner for me and my parents. It was delicious! Thank you so much. :)