This creamy vegetable pasta bake is easy and delicious! No need to boil the pasta! Just dump everything into the baking dish, cover, and bake. Minimal prep and done baking in about 45 minutes, this vegetarian dinner is filling and easy to make gluten free.
No-boil pasta bake
An easy vegetarian pasta recipe is one of my favorite go-to dinners. Simple to make, loaded with flavor, and the perfect veggie-loaded comfort food that my family is always excited about eating. Plus, pasta bakes are typically all made in one dish, so it makes clean up easy breezy. Something I am always game for.
And I just made dinner a little easier with this NO BOIL pasta bake!!
Unlike most pasta bakes, you don’t need to boil the pasta beforehand. Nope! You just dump the pasta with veggies and liquid into the casserole dish, cover and bake! This dish is made creamy and protein packed from cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. And, of course, this dinner recipe is veggie-loaded with 3 different kinds of vegetables: cauliflower, spinach, and peas. Quick to throw together and pop in the oven while you do other things, this creamy vegetable pasta is vegetarian and easily gluten free when you use GF pasta, and is done and ready to enjoy in about 45 minutes.
Did you make this pasta bake—and now you have leftover spinach? Check out How to Store Spinach (and keep it fresh all week long).
Frequently asked questions
What kind of pasta is best in this creamy vegetable pasta?
Small pasta, like elbows or shells, works best in this recipe.
You can use whole wheat, bean-based, or any pasta for this dish. Depending on what type of pasta you use, baking times may vary. To make sure your pasta is cooked though, taste a piece of pasta after the 35-minute cooking time. If it is still underdone, place the foil back over the top and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
What kind of cottage cheese and yogurt should I use?
You can use any kind as long as it is plain, flavor-free cottage cheese and yogurt. Dairy with a higher fat content such as whole milk or 2% will make a pasta with a creamier sauce. However, if you only have fat-free dairy on hand or prefer it, that will still work.
Can I make this creamy pasta bake gluten free?
Yes, this bake works great with your favorite gluten free pasta! Some GF pasta takes longer to bake, so be sure to check that your pasta is cooked through. If needed, add on an extra 5 minutes of baking before enjoying.
Can I use frozen vegetables in this creamy pasta bake?
Yes! I already used frozen peas and riced cauliflower in this recipe, but you can also used frozen spinach. I would defrost it and squeeze out most of the excess liquid before stirring it into the pasta.
What other veggies can I use?
Most vegetables will work in this dish as long as they are chopped small and will cook through in the bake time. Frozen or fresh broccoli should be chopped into very small florets so the liquid in the casserole dish will cover everything in the pan.
Can I make this pasta bake ahead of time?
This pasta bake is best enjoyed fresh from the oven. The leftovers are still delicious, but the pasta tends to absorb the sauce as it sits and the leftover bake will be dryer than it was when fresh.
Can I freeze this vegetable pasta bake?
I would not recommend freezing this pasta bake or any cooked pasta. I find it gets quite mushy when defrosted and does not hold its shape well.
To make this gluten free, use your favorite gluten free pasta.
Use frozen spinach. Just defrost it and squeeze out most of the excess liquid before stirring it into the pasta.
Replace the spinach with chopped kale.
Load it up with more veggies. Grated carrots, chopped bell peppers or sautéed mushrooms would be an awesome addition to this creamy vegetable pasta.
Add in your favorite protein. Cooked chicken, cooked shrimp or cooked chickpeas would be a delicious addition to this vegetarian dinner recipe. I would suggest stirring in the cooked protein when you add the peas and spinach to the bake.
Other veggie-loaded pasta recipes to add to the dinner menu
- Spinach Chickpea Baked Feta Pasta
- Baked Pasta with Eggplant
- Baked Spinach Artichoke Pasta
- Pesto Veggie Pasta Salad
- Quick & Easy Creamy Broccoli Pasta
Loving this creamy pasta recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
No-Boil Creamy Vegetable Pasta Bake
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound small-shaped pasta * such as shells, penne, or fusilli (use gluten free if needed)
- 2 cups riced cauliflower fresh or frozen
- 1 ½ cups cottage cheese
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups hot water
- 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas
- Preheat oven to 425℉. Grease the inside of a 9-by-13-inch casserole/baking dish with the olive oil.
- Pour the uncooked pasta into the casserole dish then sprinkle the cauliflower rice over the pasta.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, parmesan, ½ cup mozzarella, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta then pour the hot water over the top. Use a spoon to gently mix and spread out all the ingredients in the dish. Make sure the pasta is mostly covered with the sauce.
- Tightly cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil. Bake until pasta is cooked through, 40-50 minutes. See notes for why there is a broad time range.
- Carefully remove the foil using an oven mitt (there will be lots of steam). Check to see if pasta is done cooking. If it is not done, re-cover and place back in oven to bake for 5 more minutes before checking again.
- Preheat the broiler. Stir in the spinach and peas into the pasta then spread the pasta back out into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with remaining cup of mozzarella. Broil until the cheese is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve and enjoy warm.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!