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.

Yield: 4 generous servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Cheesy Turkey Baked Pasta


  • 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!)

61 Responses to “Baked Pasta”

  1. postedOct 14, 2013 4:57 AM

    Love this pasta – such a great and hearty meal!

  2. postedOct 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. postedOct 14, 2013 5:23 AM

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

  4. postedOct 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. postedOct 14, 2013 6:47 AM
    Maegan @ The BakerMama

    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. postedOct 14, 2013 6:52 AM

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

  7. postedOct 14, 2013 7:25 AM

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

  8. postedOct 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. postedOct 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. postedOct 14, 2013 1:31 PM

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

  11. postedOct 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. postedOct 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. postedOct 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. postedOct 14, 2013 8:30 PM

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

  15. postedOct 14, 2013 10:53 PM

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

  16. postedOct 15, 2013 1:56 AM

    What a nice and tasty pasta bake!

  17. postedOct 15, 2013 10:54 AM

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

    • postedOct 15, 2013 10:57 AM

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

  18. postedOct 15, 2013 11:30 AM

    What is marinara sauce? 🙂 greetings from Denmark!

    • postedOct 17, 2013 1:12 PM

      spaghetti sauce.

  19. postedOct 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.

    • postedOct 16, 2013 8:00 AM

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

  20. postedOct 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.


    • postedOct 16, 2013 7:56 AM

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

  21. postedOct 15, 2013 11:39 PM

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

  22. postedOct 16, 2013 10:15 AM

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

  23. postedOct 17, 2013 7:30 AM

    I can’t even move right now.

  24. postedOct 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.

  25. postedOct 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.

  26. postedOct 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!!

  27. postedOct 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. 🙂

  28. postedOct 21, 2013 6:00 PM

    I loved baked pasta dishes 🙂 this looks delicious!!

  29. postedOct 23, 2013 4:12 PM

    What is the nutritional info? Weight watchers points?

    • postedOct 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.

  30. postedOct 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!

    • postedOct 28, 2013 10:51 AM

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

  31. postedNov 12, 2013 2:45 PM
    Lyn Langenberg

    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!

  32. postedFeb 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!

  33. postedApr 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!

  34. postedApr 5, 2014 12:34 PM

    My family will love this. Thank you for sharing.

  35. postedJul 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. 😛

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

  36. postedAug 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.

  37. postedNov 22, 2014 1:41 PM
    Linda H

    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!

  38. postedDec 13, 2014 6:09 AM

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

  39. postedApr 23, 2015 6:39 PM

    how many points per serving

  40. postedSep 10, 2015 8:49 AM
    Mrs. Beasley

    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:)

  41. postedSep 23, 2015 3:58 PM

    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!

  42. postedSep 29, 2015 5:26 PM

    Made it tonight. Quick and easy and loved it!

  43. postedOct 24, 2015 1:45 PM

    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?

    • postedOct 26, 2015 4:05 PM

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

  44. postedFeb 11, 2016 5:52 PM

    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!

  45. postedApr 12, 2016 1:57 PM

    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. 

    • postedApr 16, 2016 3:12 AM

      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.

  46. postedJul 5, 2016 5:45 PM

    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!

  47. postedAug 4, 2016 5:51 PM

    Great dish, turkey tasted fantastic in this

  48. postedOct 18, 2016 3:52 PM

    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?!!?!

    • postedOct 23, 2016 7:44 AM

      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).

  49. postedNov 1, 2016 4:11 PM

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

    • postedNov 1, 2016 5:15 PM

      Terrific- happy to hear!

  50. postedDec 13, 2016 1:32 PM

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

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