Cheese/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Easy Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake

September 4, 2018 (Last Updated: March 14, 2020) by Chris Collins

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!

*This recipe has been updated for extra deliciousness! Tasty before, even tastier now*

overhead shot of scooping out pasta bake on white background with props

The BEST Leftover Vegetables Recipe!

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. You can truly go wild with what veg you want to add into the pasta bake, but here’s the offenders most spotted in the back of my fridge:

Best Vegetables for Pasta

  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Aubergine/Eggplant
  • Courgette/Zucchini
  • Mushrooms

Carrots, Asparagus, Sweet Corn and Broccoli all work perfectly too! 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 food waste time.

You can of course buy fresh vegetables for this pasta bake too 😁

How much Veg to put in Pasta Bake?

For this recipe I recommend 1lb/500g, 3.5oz/100g of each. I find this bulks out the pasta perfectly enough to feed 5-6 people.

closeup shot of scooping pasta bake out of oven dish

Easy Vegetable Pasta Bake

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. Vegetable pasta bakes are supposed to be stress free, and that’s exactly what this one is.

With the same token, I have made more pasta bakes than I care to admit, so along the way I have picked up some top tips For the best Pasta Bake:

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.
  • Herbs – Always good to take the flavour up a notch! Here I use dried oregano and basil, then fresh parsley to serve.
  • Cheese – Because really, is a pasta bake a pasta bake if it’s not bombarded with cheese!? More on this in just a sec.

How to make Vegetable Pasta Bake (quick summary)

  1. Heat oil until smoking hot.
  2. Add veg and stir fry.
  3. Stir in tomato puree/paste.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, veg stock, seasoning.
  5. Simmer to thicken.
  6. Add pasta.

How to make a vegetable pasta bake - 6 step by step photos

Can I roast the veg instead of stir fry 🤔 – You sure can! I just recommend grouping together the veg that will cook at the same rate i.e root veg like carrots potatoes etc will take longer. A good drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper, big oven tray and roast at 200C/390F. 

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Okay, put quite simply, a pasta bake isn’t a pasta bake unless there’s cheese. Sorry, I don’t make the rules!

Best Cheese for Pasta Bake

In my opinion there’s two you can’t compete with: Cheddar and Mozzarella. I add mozzarella through the middle of the pasta bake, you know, just for that classic cheese pull. Cheddar goes perfectly on top because it goes golden and crispy.

Can you make pasta bake ahead of time?

You can, it’s just more important than usual to undercook the pasta, otherwise it’ll bloat and absorb the sauce as it rests. I also tend to cool the sauce before combining with the pasta for the same reason. Just make as instructed, with those two points in mind, then cover and store in the fridge until ready to bake. Full transparency I do prefer it freshly baked!

How to Bake Vegetable Pasta Bake

Serving Vegetable Pasta Bake

Once it’s out the oven, I let it sit for a few mins, or at least until it stops spitting at me. From there I love a good sprinkling of fresh parsley.

What to serve withVegetable Pasta Bake?

Can I freeze pasta bake leftovers?

Absolutely! Just let the pasta cool then cover and pop in portions in the freezer. I usually defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave.

And there we have it! An easy cheesy veggie pasta bake is yours for the taking. If you’re looking for more pasta bake recipes then definitely check out my Broccoli Pasta Bake, Taco Pasta Bake and Meatball Pasta Bake!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe shall we?

overhead closeup shot of pasta bake being scooped out of baking dish

How to make a Vegetable Pasta Bake (Full Recipe & Video)

closeup shot of scooping pasta bake out of oven dish

Easy Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake

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!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 5
Calories: 380kcal
Cost per serving: £1.50 / $2

Equipment:

  • 9x13" Baking Dish (or similar size)
  • Pot & Colander (for pasta)
  • Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Cheese Grater

Ingredients (check list):

  • 10.5oz / 300g Penne Pasta (or other short-cut pasta)
  • 3x 14oz/400g cans of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1.5 cups / 150g Cheddar, grated (or more as you like)
  • 1 cup / 100g Mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup / 250ml Vegetable Stock
  • 3.5oz / 100g EACH: sliced Red Onion, sliced Peppers, sliced Mushrooms, diced Eggplant/Aubergine, diced Zucchini/Courgette (1lb/500g Veg in total)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 heaped tsp EACH: Dried Oregano, Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • Fresh Parsley, to garnish

Instructions:

  • Heat up 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add in all 1lb/500g of your veg and begin to stir fry. Shake the pan frequently so the veg doesn't steam itself, you want the veg nicely browned and still a little firm. The veg will cook through properly as you simmer the sauce and bake in the oven, so don't worry too much if it's browned but not completely cooked through.
  • Add 1 tsp garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper, continue stir frying for another 1-2mins until the garlic browns.
  • Turn heat down to medium and stir in 2 tbsp tomato puree. Fry the puree for 1-2mins, then add 3x 14oz/400g cans of chopped tomatoes. Add a drizzle of water to the cans and shake out all the tomato juice.
  • Pour in 1cup/250ml vegetable stock, then add 1 heaped tsp oregano & basil, 1/2 tsp sugar and chilli flakes (or to taste) and salt & pepper (to taste). Give it a good stir then simmer for 15mins, or until it starts to thicken slightly.
  • Meanwhile, add 10.5oz/300g pasta to salted boiling water and boil until al dente. You want it still a bit hard otherwise it'll go soft and mushy in the oven. Drain and combine with sauce. Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
  • In a suitably sized baking dish, spoon in half your pasta, top with 1cup/100g mozzarella, spoon over the rest of your pasta and top with cheddar (to you hearts content). Bake in the oven for 20mins or until golden and bubbly on top.
  • Allow to cool for a few mins then serve with an extra helping of fresh parsley!

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) What Vegetables to use? - You can really use any you want, I just recommend using 1lb/500g's worth! I usually go for whatever is lurking about in the fridge, and the above veggies are the usual suspects. Broccoli, sweetcorn, asparagus and carrot all work great too!
b)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 heat is too low the veg will steam and struggle to caramelize properly.
c) 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.
d) Cheese - I love adding mozzarella through the centre for a nice bit of cheese pull, but this is optional. Cheddar on top is a classic, I always go for a nice strong cheddar for a punch of flavour. Could also use parmesan.
e) 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.
f) Leftovers - Allow pasta to cool, then cover and pop in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, I usually allow to thaw in the fridge over night then reheat in portions in the microwave.
g) Serving/Calories - Serves 5 big portions of 6 with a side of Garlic Bread. Calories based on sharing between 5 with no side.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Easy Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 184
% Daily Value*
Fat 20.47g31%
Saturated Fat 9.893g49%
Trans Fat 0.411g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.942g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.304g
Cholesterol 52mg17%
Sodium 377mg16%
Potassium 932mg27%
Carbohydrates 33.42g11%
Fiber 7.6g30%
Sugar 10.32g11%
Protein 18.68g37%
Vitamin A 3281IU66%
Vitamin C 67.6mg82%
Calcium 387mg39%
Iron 1.71mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
Tried this recipe?Show me how you got on by tagging @dontgobaconmyheart_ on IG and #dontgobaconmyheart!

If you loved this Vegetable Pasta Bake then be sure to Pin it for later! Already made it or got a burning question? Give me a shout in the comments below and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily Hill
    September 4, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    5 stars
    This looks like a super yummy vegetarian dish that doubles as comfort food!

    • Reply
      Chris
      September 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      You’re not wrong there!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie@ApplesforCJ
    September 4, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    5 stars
    You had me with Easy & Cheesy but then with all those veggies & pasta this sounds like the ultimate bowl of comfort food. And I’m sure would be wonderful leftover as well.

    • Reply
      Chris
      September 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Yep, so perfect for leftovers! Just polishing some off now as we speak

  • Reply
    Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites
    September 4, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    5 stars
    I am so ready for alllll the comfort food! This recipe looks delicious – I love all the veggies in it!

    • Reply
      Chris
      September 4, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Lauren!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Valentina
    September 4, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    5 stars
    I love super hearty vegetarian dishes for wall and winter. This looks like such a good one. A comfort food, for sure!

    • Reply
      Chris
      September 4, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Total comfort food! Thanks Valentina 🙂

  • Reply
    EA The Spicy RD
    September 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    5 stars
    I know what I’m making for dinner tonight! And, I love recipes that use up “past their prime veggies”-this looks perfect. With extra cheese of course 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris
      September 4, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Allll about the extra cheese

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