This vegetarian pasta bake recipe is one of the most versatile — and perhaps the easiest — dish ever. With barely any prep and almost no clean-up, it’s perfect for busy families and university students who are short on time. It’s an easy and healthy recipe that doesn’t require any boiling of the pasta. Frozen vegetables are used to create a fuss-free dish with 3 spices that help bring out the flavours in this delicious savoury meal. Under $2 per serving!

a white rectangular casserole dish with pasta bake made with mixed vegetables topped with melted cheese on - close up shot
Healthy Vegetarian Pasta Bake

If meal prep is on your mind, then this easy and healthy recipe is for you! Actually, it’s inspired by Miss R., who’s off to university in a few weeks. Together, we’ve been crafting hearty, comforting and scrumptious recipes to help her be on top of her game.

This oven baked pasta is bursting with veggies, is budget-friendly and fuss free. Not to mention, there’s no aggravation that it’ll come out dry! I love the fact that it’s an all-in-one meal – that’s perfect as a crowd pleaser, too!

And oh, you’ve got to look at this creamy vegan pasta – with an Indian twist – it’s a nourishing meal that isn’t completely exhausting to make. Fun pasta bake pairings, you ask? Try this satisfying kale and quinoa salad and this colourful 15-minute easy salad is epic and takes your pasta bake to the next level. Find heaps more salad inspiration here!

Ingredients

infographic showing pasta bake ingredients - with accompanying labels
Oven Baked Pasta Ingredients

To craft a tasty baked pasta, you’ll need to have the right proportion of liquid to pasta and spices. Here’s what you need to make this healthy vegetarian pasta bake:

  • Pasta – we’re using a durum wheat semolina penne rigate. From experience, I find the sauce absorbs beautifully with this type of pasta to create a tender baked pasta – that isn’t a mushy Hodge potch.
  • Mixed vegetables – frozen because they’re perfect for long-term convenience and simplicity. A bag of mixed frozen vegetables is readily available, lighter on the wallet and you can cut your prep time significantly. Of course, you don’t have to worry as much about food waste either. Frozen vegetables are also a great way for vegans or vegetarians (or anyone!) who wants to get creative in the kitchen without any meat (hello meatless Monday!).
  • Okra – an ingredient that often gets overlooked in the kitchen despite its nutritional benefits. It has been proven to be rich in fibre as, making it a perfect way to bulk up your meal. it’s so much easier using frozen pre-cut okra. I always have several bags stashed in my freezer – ready to be thrown into all sorts of dishes.
  • Pasta sauce – This is the perfect way to add flavour and moisture to your pasta bake. We use a simple store-bought tomato and basil sauce. Feel free to select your favourite and remember that tomato sauces that have basil, oregano and garlic are wonderful picks for heaps of flavour. If you’re trying to cut down on your salt intake or are following a low-sodium diet for type 2 diabetes and heart disease management – then it’s important to choose your pasta sauces carefully as they can be a big source of sodium.
  • Stock – It’s a wonder ingredient that can make the difference between your pasta being bland dry and tasteless or lip-smacking. Stock is so versatile too, as it can provide natural flavour to soups, sauces and more while reducing sodium intake at the same time. We use a broth with no added salt.
  • Spices – dried oregano, cumin powder and black pepper do a fine job to help bring out the flavours to create the best pasta bake recipe.
  • Salt – season to taste.
  • Cheese – For that perfect creamy cheesy mixture, 1 cup of Tex-Mex cheese is the way to go to create the best pasta bake. It’s a mix of shredded mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese along with jalapenos – for a spicy kick.
a plate with pasta bake made with penne pasta, okra and mixed vegetables. Garnished with cilantro. Styled on top of a floral plate on a straw mat with a casserole dish in the background and a green plant
The Easiest Vegetarian No-Boil Pasta Bake

Instructions

You’ll be pleased to hear that prep for this easy comfort food recipe takes barely 15 minutes. And the method couldn’t be easier! Check out the step by step below:

step by step preparation images of how to make oven baked pasta in a casserole dish using frozen vegetables
Step by Step Preparation Steps for Pasta Bake

Do you cook pasta before making pasta bake?

The pasta cooks from the moisture inside of the dish, meaning that you don’t need to boil it first in salted water and wait for it to cool down.

You don’t need to pre-prep any of the ingredients either for ease and simplicity.

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C / 380°F
  2. In a large oven-proof casserole dish (12″x8″x3″), add pasta, sauce, stock, mixed vegetables (no need to thaw first), spices. Season with salt (Images 1-6).
  3. Mix well (Image 7) and cover to seal the dish. Cook time is 45 minutes – the middle shelf in your oven.
  4. Once cooked (Image 8), top with cheese (Image 9) and send to broil uncovered for 3 minutes to achieve a golden crispy top (Image 10).

Substitutions

  • You can also add any other vegetables that you might have in your fridge or pantry: bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onion, mushrooms, pumpkin and even broccoli would be delicious additions!
  • If you’re a meat-eater, ground beef, chicken, turkey or sausage
  • Feel free to use vegan cheese to create a 100% vegan pasta bake
  • If you’re watching your intake of saturated fat, you can omit the cheese and instead add 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast to the mixture, before sending it to bake.
  • Try marinara tomato sauce and add your favourite fresh or dried herbs
a white rectangular casserole dish with pasta bake topped with melted cheese on a black stovetop with a green plant in the background
Vegetarian No-Boil Baked Pasta

Variations

  • Add some vegetarian meatballs, chickpeas or kidney beans for a protein-rich dish.
  • You can use any spices you like, including curry powder, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, Italian seasoning and cinnamon
  • Try a different cheese (like ricotta cheese) to change the flavour profile.
  • Try adding fresh basil at the end of cooking or sprinkle with parmesan cheese (if you fancy more cheese!)
  • Besides penne, experiment with pasta shells or even spirals

Equipment

  1. A large oven-proof casserole or baking dish (12″x16″x13″)
  2. Spatula or spoon to mix up the pasta and vegetables.
  3. Cheese grater – if you’re topping with cheese before broiling.
a plate with pasta bake made with penne pasta, okra and mixed vegetables. Garnished with cilantro. Styled on top of a floral plate on a straw mat with a casserole dish in the background and a green plant
Easy & Healthy Vegetable Pasta Bake

Storage & Food Safety

How long does pasta bake last in the fridge?

Ideally, this family friendly pasta bake recipe will last about 3 days. The best way to store it is in an airtight container in the refrigerator that’s covered tightly and sealed. It’s important to store this in the fridge so that it does not spoil – make sure all parts are sealed tightly and avoid storing at room temperature as bacteria can grow quickly when the food is warmer.

Top Tips

How do you make pasta bake better?

  • Make sure the frozen vegetables are not clumped together; separate them to ensure even cooking.
  • Pick a pasta sauce that does not have added salt or is reduced in salt. You could use less salt in the preparation to counteract it.
  • Stir the uncooked pasta bake mixture thoroughly to the ingredients are combined well.
  • You’ll want to increase the amount of stock if adding more vegetables – especially if you are using fresh vegetables.
  • Do not overcook pasta bake as this will result in mushy dry pasta – it should be tender and moist when you take it out of the oven.
  • Do not stir the pasta while it’s cooking in order to avoid breaking it up – after 45 minutes, you may need to gently fold them over or shake the dish for even cooking if they are sticking together. It should be a wet and saucy mix with no penne pieces of dry pasta left at the bottom of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the cheese – it’s a must to complete the dish.
  • Make ahead of time, cool, then cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
a white rectangular casserole dish with pasta bake topped with melted cheese on a brown straw mat with a green plant in the background
The Best Pasta Bake Recipe

Nutrition Information:

A serving of this creamy stress free vegetarian baked pasta is:

  • An excellent source of vitamin C
  • An excellent source of vitamin A
  • An excellent source of fibre
  • An excellent source of iron
  • An excellent source of calcium

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Wondering if pasta is healthy? Learn all about the different types of pasta and their associated health and nutritional benefits.

What are your favourite meatless meals? Let me know in the comments below!

If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos. 

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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a plate with pasta bake made with penne pasta, okra and mixed vegetables. Garnished with cilantro. Styled on top of a floral plate on a straw mat.
5 stars (1 review)

Get the Recipe:

Vegetarian No-Boil Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 10 mins
bake time and broil time: 48 mins
Total Time: 58 mins
Yield: 5 servings
This vegetarian pasta bake recipe is one of the most versatile — and perhaps the easiest — dish ever. With barely any prep and almost no clean-up, it's perfect for busy families and university students who are short on time. It's an easy and healthy recipe that doesn't require any boiling of the pasta. Frozen vegetables are used to create a fuss-free dish with 3 spices that help bring out the flavours in this delicious savoury meal.

Ingredients
 

  • 5 cups pasta, penne, durum wheat semolina mix
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, a mix of chopped carrots, peas, green beans and corn. No need to thaw
  • 1 cup okra, frozen, ready chopped
  • 650 ml pasta sauce, just under 3 cups, tomato and basil mix
  • cups vegetable stock, no added salt
  • 4 tsp oregano, dried
  • ½ tbsp cumin powder
  • tsp salt, sea salt
  • ½ tbsp black pepper, coarse
  • 1 cup cheese, Tex Mex

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 190°C / 380°F
  • In a large oven-proof casserole dish (12"x8"x3"), add pasta, tomato sauce, stock, mixed vegetables, spices. Season with salt. Mix well to combine.
    5 cups pasta, 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, 1 cup okra, 650 ml pasta sauce, 2½ cups vegetable stock, 4 tsp oregano, ½ tbsp cumin powder, 1½ tsp salt, ½ tbsp black pepper
  • Cover to seal the dish and cook for 45 minutes – middle shelf of oven.
  • Once cooked, top with cheese and send to broil uncovered for 3 minutes to achieve a golden crispy top.
    1 cup cheese

Notes

  • Make sure the frozen vegetables are not clumped together; separate them to ensure even cooking.
  • Pick a pasta sauce that does not have added salt or is reduced in salt. You could use less salt in the preparation to counteract it.
  • Stir the uncooked pasta bake mixture thoroughly to the ingredients are combined well.
  • You’ll want to increase the amount of stock if adding more vegetables – especially if you are using fresh vegetables.
  • Do not overcook pasta bake as this will result in mushy dry pasta – it should be tender and moist when you take it out of the oven.
  • Do not stir the pasta while it’s cooking in order to avoid breaking it up – after 45 minutes, you may need to gently fold them over or shake the dish for even cooking if they are sticking together. It should be a wet and saucy mix with no penne pieces of dry pasta left at the bottom of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the cheese – it’s a must to complete the dish.
  • Make ahead of time, cool, then cover and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
  •  

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 230kcal (12%)Carbohydrates: 31g (10%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 9g (14%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 24mg (8%)Sodium: 2246mg (94%)Potassium: 1106mg (32%)Fiber: 9g (36%)Sugar: 14g (16%)Vitamin A: 5165IU (103%)Vitamin C: 29mg (35%)Calcium: 269mg (27%)Iron: 5mg (28%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: Main
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.