I’ve had this Veggie pasta bake in my sights for a very long time now. It is packed with vegetables – zucchini, spinach, carrots, peas, corn, onions and bell peppers PLUS I threw in a little Tofu for good measure! Despite how complex it looks, it was basically a breeze to make. And the vegetables make a very good excuse for the carbs and the cheese! Once in a while, it’s OK to loosen up people!
If you had read my post on the best (spicy) 5 minute pizza sauce + marinara – you’ll know how delicious this pasta bake is going to be. This sauce is magic, really! Turned me around on marinara.
I used Rotini, but feel free to use any of your favourite pasta shapes. Just remember to chop the vegetables to about the same size. Keeps cooking even.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but remove from heat about a minute earlier. The rotini needs 7 minutes to cook al dente but I took it out at 6 minutes. Throw in the peas, corn and carrots and let it cook in the warm pasta water. Drain them all together.
In addition to the peas, carrot and corn, I also used spinach, tofu, zucchini, onions and bell peppers (capsicum). Have these ready as the pasta cooks.
Sauté these vegetables (except spinach) in a little butter until slightly cooked. Season with salt, garlic powder and maybe a little fried red chilli flakes. Turn off heat and add in the spinach. Then comes the fun part. Toss in the cooked pasta and vegetables and douse everything in my special marinara sauce. Seriously guys, this sauce is the magical component of this dish.
Stir in half of the cheese into the pasta and transfer to a casserole. Then top with a lot of cheese. Seriously. A lot!
Bake for about 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and the marinara is bubbling underneath. Your Veggie Pasta Bake is done! Serve hot!