This light, healthier and vegetarian pasta bake recipe is a yummy treat! My Mediterranean Pasta Bake will have everyone at the table coming back for seconds.
Well hello friends!
It’s pre-Friday coming up on a holiday weekend. That requires some dancing in my book…
… and pasta.
A Mediterranean Pasta Bake, to be exact.
I’m not sure why it involves pasta but basically I’ll use any excuse to make a good pasta dish.
Especially holiday weekends.
The good news is I’ve health-i-fied this one so you can eat if without as much guilt.
I’ve packed it with fresh herbs and healthy Mediterranean veggies…
..a giant pile of spinach…
(just like popeye…)
… and chickpeas.
The chickpeas take the place of some of the pasta (more protein!) and the pasta itself is a nutty whole grain variety.
I mix in reduced fat mozzarella and top it with salty (reduced fat) feta cheese.
The end result comes out of the oven as a delicious vitamin packed meal… totally disguised as a boring old pasta bake.
The trick is going to be only eating one serving- it’s just that good!
Mediterranean Pasta Bake
- 1/2 box whole wheat penne pasta, about 7 1/2 ounces
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 cloves
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 6 oz jar marinated artichokes, chopped
- 1 16 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ladle of pasta water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 9 oz package of fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded mozzarella
- 6 ounces of crumbled or cubed feta
- optional: 1/4 cup olives
- garnish: additional basil leaves
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 425 and spray an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray
- Cook pasta according to directions on box. Cooking for 1 minute less than package says. You want a slight bite still in the pasta.
- Drain, reserving one ladle of pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until tender (Approx 3-5 minutes.) Add the garlic but be careful not to burn. Sautee until fragrant for about 2 minutes.
- Add the artichokes, garbanzo beans, basil, oregano, tomato paste, pasta water, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until well combined.
- Add the spinach to the mixture. It will look like a ton at first, but carefully stir with the other ingredients and it will wilt down.
- As soon as the spinach is wilted mix the veggie mix with the pasta. Add the all of the mozzarella and half of the feta.
- Pour the mixture in the casserole dish and top with the rest of the feta.
- Cover with foil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Remove the foil and cook for another 5.
- If desired you can turn on the broiler for a few minutes to get a brown crust on the cheese.
Have a glorious day friends!
Tomorrow is Fashion Friday and I’m sharing an adorable maxi dress that you can wear almost anywhere!
I’m sharing this recipe for Foodie Friday, Meatless Monday with Tina and Deborah, Meatless Monday with Annmarie. Also the Weekend Potluck and Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen. Thanks so much ladies for the link up parties!
What is your favorite excuse to eat pasta?