Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta

Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta -  Sarcastic Cooking

My hibernation has reached an all new level thanks to little Andy. I seriously only leave my house once a week. The funny thing is, I don’t really care all that much because it is so flippin’ freezing outside. Luckily, I packed my freezer with meals months in advance in preparation for my antisocial new mom laziness.

I had fully intended upon eating all these soups, stews, chilis, and pastas right when we got home from the hospital. I was thinking it would be so easy and so cheap. And in reality it would have, but Mike and I were livin’ it up with take-out and fast food almost every night. The reason we did that was, well, no clean up!

Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta -  Sarcastic Cooking

In addition to Mike being my personal fast food and coffee gofer, his family and my friends brought over a ton of prepared meals and snacks. So, why would I bust open my supply in the freezer if their food was already defrosted and/or cooked?

So, now, finally, after a month and a half of being home with Andy, we have started to break into my freezer foods, starting with this dish!

Don’t let this cheesy masterpiece fool you; it is loaded with all sorts of good for your vegetables like tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, spinach, and zucchini. It is the perfect meal for the new mom who is looking for something fast yet healthy. I wish I had another dish of it left in the freezer.

Alas, on to my next frozen dish!

Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta - Sarcastic Cooking

Veggie Loaded Baked Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Roughly Chopped Onion
  • 2 Carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 Stalk Celery chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper seeds and stem removed and chopped
  • ¾ Cup Diced Zucchini
  • 2 Cups Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 26 Ounce Jar of Marinara
  • 1 Pound Cooked Medium Whole Wheat Shells
  • 4 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Balls / Ciliegine halved
  • 2 Cups Low-Fat Shredded Mozzarella
  • Olive Oil
  • ½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano


  1. Add onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and zucchini to a food processor. Pulse a few times until very finely chopped.
  2. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat for a minute. Add the finely chopped vegetables and sauté for ten minutes until tender and cooked through. Stir in the marinara, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and spinach. Cook for five minutes over low heat.
  4. Add pasta and sauce to a large baking dish, mix well. Press the halved mozzarella balls into the pasta, distributing evenly. Top with shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle oregano over the cheese and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes uncovered in the oven. Let cool for five minutes before serving.
  6. If freezing: Bake pasta as usual and then freeze. To reheat, thaw out pasta morning of and then cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes until heated through. Frozen pasta will last for a month.

You Might Also Like

  • Stephie @ EYHO
    January 18, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    This looks so perfect. I think I will add some smoked sausage to please the carnivore, and it’s going on the menu this week!

  • Julia
    January 18, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Yeeeah! Between your baked pasta and my lasagna roll-ups, we can have ourselves a carbolicious carb fest. Should we invite over the 49ers for a pasta feed before they play this weekend? Anything for a chance to sit next to Kaepernick while he enjoys a carberriffic meal 😉 Where was I going with this? Your veggie loaded baked pasta is bonkers delicious, and I want it, that’s where! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend, lady!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    January 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I want to eat that entire layer of cheesy goodness! SO good.

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    January 16, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I’m making baked pasta tonight, what a coincidence! Except mine is just with spinach, wah wahhh. Love the idea of making this as a freezer meal, though… especially knowing all that cheesy topping goodness is on there. YUM.

  • julia
    January 15, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    You know I am all about freezer meals at this point! I’ve been trying to stock my freezer. That is so nice to have family/friends bringing you food over. It is so hard to find time to cook anything the first few months so it is a big help. This dish looks so comforting–perfect for these freeeezing temps. Hope things are going good over there!

  • Melissa {Persnickety Plates}
    January 15, 2014 at 9:08 am

    This will probably sound stupid but I’ve never made any frozen dishes before, so I’ll ask it anyway. I hope to make some freezer meals for us during my maternity leave (& this one looks awesome). At what point do you freeze it – do I bake then freeze? Or freeze before baking? & how long do you need to defrost/bake from frozen? Humor me. haha

    • Stefanie
      January 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Sorry I forgot to include those instructions in the recipe before! This baby is making me lose my mind. I bake it first then on the day I want to eat it, I take it out of the freezer first thing in the morning to thaw. Then just bake covered in foil for 20-25 minutes until heated through.

  • Sophia @ NY Foodgasm
    January 15, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Hooray for a pasta dish loaded with veggies! I need my veggies and overall this is pretty healthy! Great job!

  • Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    January 15, 2014 at 8:49 am

    This sounds awesome! I love dishes like this that sneak a lot of veggies in.

  • Lindsey
    January 15, 2014 at 8:03 am

    This pasta looks excellent. This would be something my husband would love. Hearty but healthy. I am all the time looking for recipes that fit both bills!