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!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
- 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.
Tips for the best vegetable pasta bake
a) 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.
Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 29.77g | Protein: 18.59g | Fat: 20.44g | Saturated Fat: 10.191g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.555g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5.187g | Trans Fat: 0.456g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 719mg | Potassium: 635mg | Fiber: 7.5g | Sugar: 9.39g | Vitamin A: 4450IU | Vitamin C: 76.7mg | Calcium: 430mg | Iron: 2.5mg