Baked Pasta

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.

Baked Pasta

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.

Baked Pasta

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!

Pasta Bake - Baked Pasta with ground turkey and cheese

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:

5 from 5 votes
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Baked Pasta

Here's an easy Baked Pasta recipe with ground turkey and plenty of cheese.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword baked pasta, baked pasta recipe, easy baked pasta recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 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)
  • 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 freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  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.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • 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!)
More Dinner Recipes to Bake...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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Comments

  • Sam wrote:

    Pasta dinners like this never disappoint. So GOOD!

  • Beth wrote:

    The ground turkey is perfect in this! Love that it’s so comforting but a little lighter.

  • Toni wrote:

    It was so good! A new favorite meal in my house!

  • Sommer wrote:

    Such a delicious dish! Definitely a keeper!

  • Liz wrote:

    This cheesy pasta was a huge hit with my family! I loved using whole wheat pasta as it worked well and was super tasty!

  • Amber wrote:

    Love this recipe. I’m preparing freezer meals for post baby and wondering if this would freeze well?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried freezing this one!

  • Mary wrote:

    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

  • Gillian Lowe wrote:

    The pasta bake recipe was delicious I made it last night and my husband loved it , I enjoyed it thank you so much ???

  • Gillian Lowe wrote:

    The pasta bake recipe was delicious I made it last night. My husband loved it. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks so much.

  • Jamie wrote:

    Great recipe! Add cottage cheese for a great taste!!

  • Lisa wrote:

    I have made this recipe twice now and absolutely love it. The only thing I did differently was sautéed more veggies.. love this, thanks!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Terrific- happy to hear!

  • Lisa wrote:

    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?!!?!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      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).

  • Debbie wrote:

    Great dish, turkey tasted fantastic in this

  • Yvette wrote:

    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!

  • Tina wrote:

    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. 

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      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.

  • Ted wrote:

    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!

  • Sari wrote:

    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?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure I’d do that. You might face the issue of the pasta starting to fall apart.

  • Melody wrote:

    Made it tonight. Quick and easy and loved it!

  • Sara wrote:

    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!