Nothing screams comfort food louder than pasta bake & this vegetarian version is no exception. Easy Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake – your new favourite dinner ready and waiting!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got an entire vegetable garden sat in your fridge which is on the verge of dying a sad and wasted death. It’s a far too common occurrence, but that’s exactly what veggie pasta bakes are for. For real, I’m yet to come across a vegetable that doesn’t taste delicious in a pasta bake. But I’m sure somebody will raise one to my attention in the comments 😋
The offenders most spotted in the back of my fridge and coincidentally the ones I used in this recipe are:
But like I said, go wild with whatever you fancy. As long as it’s not actually grown legs and walking out your fridge, because then it’s bin time. Other welcomed additions to a vegetable pasta bake are sweetcorn, asparagus, broccoli, carrot and baby sweetcorn.
The other great thing about a veggie pasta bake besides being an awesome way to use up leftovers, is the fact it’s so freakin’ easy to make. Literally, no/little cooking ability needed. Promise.
How to make a vegetable pasta bake
- Boil pasta until al dente.
- Fry up your veg then pour in your sauce. Here I make a tomato based one.
- Stir in your pasta, pour into a suitably sized baking dish, top with infinite amounts of cheese and bake until bubbly.
As someone who’s made enough pasta bakes to feed the 5000, I have picked up some tips that really enhance the finished product.
Tips for the perfect veggie pasta bake
- Al dente pasta – You only want to cook the pasta until it’s just about done, so take a few minutes off of the packet instruction. If you fully cook the pasta, it’s going to come out broken and sloppy after it’s baked.
- Stir fry veg – Same with the veg, you don’t want it too soft and sloppy when it comes out the oven. When frying, make sure you quickly fry over high heat, enough to caramelize the veg, but not get it too soft.
- Cheese – Because really, is a pasta bake a pasta bake if it’s not bombarded with cheese!? I put cheese inside and on top, you know, just because a six pack has never appealed to me..
Can I freeze pasta bake?
Absolutely! That’s what’s so perfect about this recipe, the fact you can bake in bulk and pop the leftovers in the freezer until the craving calls again. As there’s no meat you also don’t have to worry about reheating it to a specific temperature.
What cheese should I use for pasta bake?
I personally use mozzarella and I definitely recommend adding some in the pasta itself so it goes gooey in the oven. Mozzarella also works well to top, as does a classic cheddar. I’ve even crumbled feta which works great as well.
What seasoning should I put in a vegetable pasta bake?
For a tomato base I keep it simple with dried oregano, basil and chilli flakes. I also pop in a vegetable stock cube to give it a deeper flavour, which really works wonders!
So, for an easy bulk cooking dinner look no further than this vegetable pasta bake! Bursting with flavour and an awesome way to use up leftover veg, this pasta bake is the perfect mid week dinner ready and waiting!
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How to make a Veggie Pasta Bake (Full Recipe & Video)
Easy Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake
- 12.3oz / 350g Penne Pasta (or other short-cut pasta)
- 3x 14oz/400g cans of Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 cup / 100g shredded Mozzarella (optional)
- 3oz / 100g Mushrooms, sliced
- 2 small Peppers (yellow & red)
- 1 medium Onion (red)
- 1/2 Eggplant/Aubergine, diced
- 1/2 Zucchini/Courgette, diced
- 1 tsp Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Basil
- pinch of Chilli flakes
- 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
- Cheese of choice for topping (see notes)
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil (see notes)
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Parsley, to garnish
- Heat up your oil over high heat in a large saucepan or wok and stir fry your veg. I usually start with the firmest veg, then start adding in the softer veg. Fry until the veg softens and starts to char, ensuring you keep the high heat and continuously shake/stir the pan.
- Lower to medium then stir in your garlic. Allow garlic to brown then season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in your chopped tomatoes, then add in your stock cube, oregano and basil. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally until it slightly thickens. Test for seasoning.
- Meanwhile cook your pasta in salted boiling water until just cooked. You want the pasta to only be al dente so it doesn't go sloppy in the oven.
- Drain and combine with your sauce, stir through your mozzarella then pour into a suitably sized baking dish. Top with extra cheese then bake at 200c/390f for 20mins or until golden and crispy on top.
Quick 1 min demo!
Tips for the best vegetable pasta bakea) Stir fry veg - To ensure the veg doesn't turn too soft and sloppy in the oven, quickly fry your veg over high heat to ensure it takes on some colour, but stays slightly firm before you add the sauce and bake. If the heats too low the veg will steam and struggle to caramelize properly. b) Oil - Because you're stir-frying over high heat, you want to use an oil with a high smoking point like vegetable, canola or rapeseed oil. Not olive oil. c) Cheese - I love mixing through mozzarella so it goes gooey and stringy in the oven, completely optional. To top I usually use mozzarella as well, but cheddar works great too. d) Al dente pasta - To avoid the pasta becoming sloppy and breaking up in the oven, you want to under-boil it by a few minutes. You only want it to just be cooked before you add it to the sauce. c) Calories - Based on using 2 cups of shredded cheddar to top and divided between 6 people.
After more vegetarian pasta bakes? Check out my Broccoli Pasta Bake!