This Baked Pasta recipe utilizes whole wheat pasta, ground turkey and plenty of cheese. Watch the short video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.
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.
This simple recipe was created by checking out my refrigerator to see what was available so I didn’t have to get in my car and drive to the store! I spotted some ground turkey in the freezer (score!), and I decided to try using shredded Monterey Jack since I didn’t have any mozzarella cheese.
What’s the best kind of pasta?
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. Delallo carries a lot of varieties of pasta, but I chose the shells since it’s nice for the meat and melted cheese to be able to sneak inside the shell cavities while baking.
What’s a good dish for baking pasta?
You don’t need anything fancy for making a baked pasta dish. If you have one of those 9×13-inch pans (a deeper one works best), then that should work just fine. Homegoods and Target carry good, inexpensive options for prettier casserole dishes. I’m always picking those kinds of things up when I see a good deal!
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. I recently found that Delallo makes a pretty decent gluten-free pasta too.
If you’re looking for more pasta recipes, I have a bunch of recipes to recommend for you to try:
- Chicken Pasta Primavera
- Sundried Tomato Pasta
- Creamy Gruyere and Shrimp Pasta
- BLT Pasta
- Tomato- Beef Pasta
- Greek Chicken Pasta Toss
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Skillet Pasta Carbonara
- Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 12 ounces ground turkey (90% lean)
- 4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta shells (see Recipe Notes below)
- 2½ cups marinara sauce (bottled or homemade)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- 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.
- 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!)
Thank you soooooo much for this recipe. It is so quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. And thanks also for telling us about Delallo whole wheat pasta. My husband won’t eat whole wheat, but I’m trying hard to keep us healthy in our old age ( 72 and 75 yrs.).
Pasta dinners like this never disappoint. So GOOD!
The ground turkey is perfect in this! Love that it’s so comforting but a little lighter.
It was so good! A new favorite meal in my house!
Such a delicious dish! Definitely a keeper!
This cheesy pasta was a huge hit with my family! I loved using whole wheat pasta as it worked well and was super tasty!
Love this recipe. I’m preparing freezer meals for post baby and wondering if this would freeze well?
I haven’t tried freezing this one!
You’re a savage for this ? i had everything in the fridge/freezer and I DID NOT want to go to the store.. thank you ?? You are why I go on Pinterest haha
The pasta bake recipe was delicious I made it last night and my husband loved it , I enjoyed it thank you so much ???
The pasta bake recipe was delicious I made it last night. My husband loved it. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks so much.
Great recipe! Add cottage cheese for a great taste!!
I have made this recipe twice now and absolutely love it. The only thing I did differently was sautéed more veggies.. love this, thanks!
Terrific- happy to hear!
Just had this for dinner and it was fantastic!!! Only thing I did different was added more veggies.. green pepper and spinach. Thanks so much, how do I sign up for your website?!!?!
Terrific! In the right sidebar, you can sign up to subscribe – you’ll get an email each time a new recipe is posted (2 to 3 times per week).
Great dish, turkey tasted fantastic in this
This came out delicious. I did modify it. I used half spaghetti sauce and half Alfredo sauce, didn’t have she’ll nodes used a different kind and added spinach. Husband loved it!
This looks delish. I am doing Weight Watchers so am wondering if you could post the nutritional information so I can figure out the Smart Points. Thanks in advance.
For this one I do not have the nutritional information. You can go on WW website though and put all of the ingredients in their recipe builder to figure out points.
Giving this one a go tonight myself, everything smelled and tasted great great right up to throwing it in the oven! Can’t 18 more minutes! Can’t wait!
This may be a silly question but, if I put it all together the night before and put it in the fridge, do you think it’d still be fine for my husband to throw int he oven the next day or do you think the pasta would get soggy?
I’m not sure I’d do that. You might face the issue of the pasta starting to fall apart.
Made it tonight. Quick and easy and loved it!
Made this pasta for dinner and everyone loved it! I used a garden medley marinara instead of original and I think it worked very well!
I made this for my teenage kids and they love it! They even take it to school for lunch. I used mozzarella because I didn’t have the other cheese on hand. I used Costco’s “Victoria” all natural marinara sauce. Thank you for sharing such a simple and delicious recipe:)
Gluten free pasta works wonderful in this. My husband & Son have celiac so they have to eat GF diet
how many points per serving
I made this last night for dinner for me and my parents. It was delicious! Thank you so much. 🙂
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!
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.
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. 😛
Anyway, my family enjoyed this very much and I can see it being quite a versatile recipe as well!
My family will love this. Thank you for sharing.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Thank you for spotting that- I added it in the directions. Appreciate the heads-up!
What is the nutritional info? Weight watchers points?
Not sure- but you can put the ingreds into a recipe calculator to figure it out- I like to use Spark People Recipe Calculator.
I loved baked pasta dishes 🙂 this looks delicious!!
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! ..plus this looks like a great recipe. 🙂
Made this bake last night, very easy and really really good! Good one for an informal dinner party too. To keep!!
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.
I made this for dinner tonight using organic ground beef. My husband had two servings – and he rarely takes seconds.
I can’t even move right now.
This looks like total comfort food! And I need it in my life asap.
This is such a great weeknight meal! I always need great last minute ideas.
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!)
Yes, in the recipe you’ll see that it calls for cooked pasta. Enjoy!
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.
It’s funny- we don’t really care for ground turkey much either, but it worked in this recipe.
What is marinara sauce? 🙂 greetings from Denmark!
Looks good…can you share what brand of flavorful Monterey Jack you used?
Sure- I used an organic Monterey Jack from Whole Foods- I think just their store brand. It was great!
What a nice and tasty pasta bake!
I love pasta bakes! I am definitely going to have to try this soon!
This pasta looks so cheesy and delicious! This is the perfect, comforting dish for a chilly fall evening!
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.
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
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!
Love it girl! Love that it’s quick and easy! And looks yummy!
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.
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!
So glad that you and your family enjoyed our pasta! 🙂 Recipe looks delicious!
Yep, I could eat this every day. Looks amazing!!
This is such a great go-to dinner idea since I almost always have these ingredients on hand! My boys would gobble this up!
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 😉
Perfect, comforting dish! Love the whole-wheat version.
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!
Love this pasta – such a great and hearty meal!