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This Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake is a wonderful easy recipe that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes, with oozes of creamy, cheesy flavour and utterly satisfying.
This pasta dish is ideal for a midweek vegetarian family meal – there’s zero fuss here. Just hearty goodness and delicious vegetarian dinner. You don’t even have to make a sauce!
Are you ready for your new favourite pasta dish? Enter.. Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake of dreams.
I LOVE Ricotta and Spinach cannelloni or stuffed pasta shells, but honestly? Who has got time to faff about stuffing a pasta shell on a weeknight (or possibly any time?)
Always looking for a shortcut, I tried just flinging everything in and it is blooming DELICIOUS. Add a cheat tomato mixture on top (no tomato sauce cooking needed) and here it is… my dream midweek veggie meal.
I love the combo of spinach and ricotta so much that I also created a slow cooker version – Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne (really worth a try if you love the convenience of slow cooking!)
Why you’ll love this Spinach and Ricotta Pasta recipe
⭐️ All. That. Cheese!
⭐️ Super easy and no sauce cooking required.
⭐️ Vegetarian and features 2 of your 5 a day
How we came up with this recipe
I have made this recipe with rigatoni but you can choose whichever pasta you prefer.
I love serving up vegetarian pasta dishes throughout the week because they’re a nice way to reduce meat intake, are such good value for money and help us to be a little more creative with flavours.
Creamy pastas are a thing of wonder, and they often taste so much more special than the effort reflects. This is especially true if you’re turning it into a pasta bake too, which involves the ability to prep it ahead of time, and not having to make an elaborate sauce.
Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Ingredients
- Pasta – I like rigatoni in this recipe but choose your favourite or what you have in.
- Spinach – I use frozen LEAF (not chopped, it changes the texture) and add it to the pasta to cook. If you’d prefer to use fresh, just add it to the pasta about 1 or 2 minutes before you drain it, to wilt.
- Tinned tomatoes
- Garlic powder – Be sure to use garlic POWDER not garlic SALT. Very different!
- Dried oregano – You can use fresh if you prefer, but you will need to double the amount.
- Honey – You can use a bit of sugar if you don’t have any.
- Dried chilli flakes – Please add this even if you think you don’t like spice, it just adds a lovely warmth.
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Ricotta cheese – You can use low fat ricotta if you prefer but the sauce may be a little less creamy.
- Mozzarella – I used that pre grated Mozzarella for this (rather than buffalo mozzarella) as it’s quick and easy to sprinkle. You can use whichever you have.
- Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese is optional, but I try to use it if we have it available as it adds a lovely flavour. Grana Padano is a good, slightly cheaper alternative to Parmesan.
- Fresh basil – To garnish
How to make Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake
1. Boil your pasta with the frozen spinach until only just cooked. (Be sure not to overcook the pasta as it will cook a little more in the oven.) Drain and mix up with the cheeses.
2. Meanwhile, mix up the ingredients for the tomato topping and spoon over the pasta mixture.
3. Add more cheese and bake for 15 minutes until golden and bubbling.
4. Sprinkle with fresh basil to serve.
- Vegan – If you’d like this as a vegan pasta recipe, use a dairy-free alternative to the cheeses.
In the fridge You can keep this recipe in the fridge in a sealed container for 3 days.
Can you reheat Spinach and Ricotta Pasta? Reheat fully in the microwave or on the hob with a dash of water before serving.
Can you freeze Spinach and Ricotta Pasta? I’m not a big fan of pasta from the freezer, but all that said, it’s still edible when defrosted and reheated fully. It can just go a bit squishy and overcooked, so it’s down to your personal preference.
Cooking the pasta
Check the pasta and spinach pack cooking instructions in case either say less or more than 10 minutes.
If you’re using fresh spinach, do not boil it for 10 minutes. Just add it to the pasta in boiling water for 2 minutes before draining.
To get creamier sauce
If you would like a wetter, creamier sauce, you can use two packs of ricotta instead of one (so 500g).
Keep some water
When you drain the pasta and spinach, allow a little water to remain. This tasty, starchy water will make a sauce with the ricotta. To do this, I tend to just drain it in a sieve very quickly to get the majority, but not ALL, of the water out.
Really this is a one-stop-shop easy recipe that’s a full meal on its own, so requires no further effort.
However, if you want to add a few extras to make it go further or because you’re entertaining, you could serve this with a side salad or garlic bread.
Yes, my recipe does involve pre-boiling the pasta beforehand. I know some pasta bake recipes don’t but trust me on this one.
I have tried and tested this recipe to make sure it’s just right, and this way gets the best results by far.
Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.
Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).
Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake Recipe
- 250 g Dried pasta
- 450 g Fresh spinach, See notes.
For the tomato sauce:
- 800 g Tinned tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Tomato puree
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Dried oregano
- 1 tbsp Honey, Or sugar if you prefer.
- 0.5 tsp Dried chilli flakes, Or more, to taste.
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the ricotta sauce:
- 250 g Ricotta cheese, See notes.
- 100 g Mozzarella , Grated.
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 50 g Parmesan cheese, Grated (optional).
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 150 g Mozzarella, Grated.
- 20 g Fresh basil
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 10 minutes.
- IF USING FROZEN SPINACH: Add spinach in with the pasta for 10 minutes.IF USING FRESH SPINACH: Add fresh spinach 2 minute before the pasta is cooked and allow to wilt in the water before draining everything.
- Meanwhile, open the tinned tomatoes and drain the liquid from them using a sieve.
- Add all of the other tomato sauce ingredients to the drained tomatoes and stir well.
- When the pasta and spinach are cooked, drain the majority of the water (see recipe notes).
- Add the cheese sauce ingredients and stir thoroughly, but gently. Pour into a casserole dish.
- Top with the tomato mixture and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Pop into the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.