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

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


  • 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


  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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  • Karen wrote:

    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.


    • Lori Lange wrote:

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

  • BitsyBet wrote:

    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.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

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

  • amani wrote:

    What is marinara sauce? 🙂 greetings from Denmark!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      spaghetti sauce.

  • Sue wrote:

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

    • Lori Lange wrote:

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

  • Kevin (Closet Cooking) wrote:

    What a nice and tasty pasta bake!

  • Krysten wrote:

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

  • marcie wrote:

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

  • The Healthy Apple wrote:

    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!!!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen wrote:

    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

  • Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen wrote:

    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!

  • amanda wrote:

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

  • Allia wrote:

    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.

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet wrote:

    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!

  • DeLallo Foods wrote:

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

  • Marie @ Little Kitchie wrote:

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

  • Maegan @ The BakerMama wrote:

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

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel wrote:

    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 😉

  • Liz S. wrote:

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

  • Tieghan wrote:

    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!

  • Kathryn wrote:

    Love this pasta – such a great and hearty meal!