30 Minute One-Pot Pasta Bake


pasta bake

Sometimes it is difficult to find a meal that is healthy, everybody loves, and won’t break the bank. This stove-top spinach and pasta bake is a home run because it meets all three of these qualifiers. And here’s the kicker, you can make it in 30 minutes! This is one of my top “go-to” meals during the week because it is an easy recipe to remember. I also find it is a convenient dish to leave on the stove if your family members eat at different times. Let me show you how to make it:

Start by boiling water in a saucepan and preparing 8 oz of noodles according to the instructions. I use penne and elbow noodles in this dish, depending on what I have on hand. (You can be working on this while continuing with the following steps to save more time). If you want to make sure your pasta comes out perfect everytime, see these 4 simple tips.

While the water is boiling, dice an onion. Then pour out a 5 oz bag of spinach and pull off the stems. When your pasta is finished, set it aside in the colander, reserving a cup of the pasta water for later.

Using your cast iron skillet or oven-safe saute pan, drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat the onion and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic in the oil until the onion becomes translucent. It will probably take about 5 minutes.

Now add 1 pound of ground beef or turkey and break it apart into small chunks.

While the meat is browning, add in 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. It is important to add spices to meat as it is browning because they adhere better to the meat during the heating process. The sauce will have a more robust flavor this way.

When the meat is browned, add in 1 1/4 cup of low sodium chicken broth.

Pour in a can (14.5 oz) of unsalted diced tomatoes and stir it altogether. Bring it to a boil.

Grab the pasta water you reserved earlier and pour it over the penne while it is still in the colander. This will loosen the noodles but keep the flavor. Add them to the skillet and stir.

In small batches, add the spinach and stir while it wilts. If you don’t have spinach, you can use robust lettuce (like romaine), cabbage leaves, or bok choy. When there is more room, add the rest.

Now stir it all together until everything is combined. Is your mouth watering yet?

Just to kick it up a notch, sprinkle some mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top and put the whole skillet into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts. Sometimes I skip this step because I don’t need the extra calories from the cheese, but my husband and kids love this part!

pasta bake

Here is the finished product where I used elbow noodles! Imagine the look on your family’s faces when you pull this out of the oven!

pasta bake

Don’t you just want to scoop that into your mouth?!?

pasta bake

Here is my bowl! What a simple, healthy dinner that only takes 25-30 minutes to make! Each bowl (about 1.5 cups) is about 460 calories and 16 grams of fat, even less if you use turkey meat and leave out the cheese. (Nutrition facts come from Cooking Light where I adapted this recipe). You can’t feel guilty about that! This one-pot dish also works well for leftovers because the flavors have a chance to meld together. Is this pasta bake a dish you would use for your family? What sort of healthy meals do you like to prepare? And just incase you want to spend the calories you saved from dinner or dessert, check out these 5 Ingredient M&M Peanut Butter Bars. You might also like this simple Crockpot Peach Cobbler. Don’t worry, I won’t judge you! ::Wink, wink::

Think you might try this recipe? Here’s a pretty pin to save for later or feel free to share it on Facebook. If you need more quick and easy meal ideas, you may want to follow my 30 Minute Meal Madness and One-Pot Wonders Boards on Pinterest. Happy Cooking ya’ll!


Stove-Top Spinach and Pasta Bake

Heidi Davison
This one-pot spinach pasta bake is made in less than 30 minutes and has less than 500 calories per serving.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 -5
Calories 457 kcal


  • 8 oz penne or elbow pasta cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 5 oz bag spinach or other leafy vegetable
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp each kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • Optional: shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  • Dice onion and remove stems from spinach.
  • Add oil to skillet and cook onion and garlic until translucent.
  • Add beef and brown the meat.
  • While meat is browning add the oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Once the meat is finished, add in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Rinse pasta with reserved pasta water.
  • Add in the tomatoes and pasta. Stir to combine.
  • Add spinach in batches, adding more as it wilts
  • Optional: Top with cheeses and bake in oven until melted.


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