With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and healthy Lightened Up Pasta Pizza Bake recipe that the whole family will love. This dish is packed with nutritious vegetables and lean protein, making it a perfect weeknight meal. And, it’s lightened up so you can enjoy it without feeling guilty. So, go ahead and indulge in this delicious and healthy dish!
Lightened Up Pasta Pizza Bake
If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your pasta dish, this recipe is the perfect solution! With a few modifications, you can enjoy all the flavors of pizza in a healthier and more affordable way. This bake is simple to follow and only requires a handful of ingredients. Plus, it’s perfect for any occasion – from weeknight dinners to potlucks and beyond.
Often, when we crave comfort food, we automatically assume that means we have to sacrifice our diet. But this Lightened Up Pasta Pizza Bake recipe is the perfect example of how you can have your cake and eat it too – Delicious AND nutritious! This dish is packed with veggies, lean protein, and whole grain pasta – but still has all the savory, cheesy flavors that make pizza so satisfying. So go ahead and indulge in a big bowl of this Lightened Up Pasta Pizza Bake… your taste buds (and waistline) will thank you!
What is Pizza Pasta Bake
Pizza pasta bake is a dish made by layering cooked pasta, sauce, cheese, and toppings in a baking dish. It is then baked in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This dish is popular among families because it is easy to make and can be customized with your favorite toppings.
What are the Benefits of Eating a Pasta Pizza Bake?
There are several benefits to eating a lightened up pasta pizza bake. This dish is packed with nutritious vegetables and lean protein, making it a perfect weeknight meal. And, it’s lightened up so you can enjoy it without feeling guilty.
What Kind of Sauce is Best for Pizza Bake
Can I use pizza sauce for pasta? This is a really popular question. Yes. You can use pizza sauce for pasta bake. In fact, we recommend it!
Pizza sauce is a type of tomato sauce that is used as a base for pizza. It is usually made with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and basil. Pizza sauce is typically red in color and has a slightly sweet taste.
If you are looking for a more flavorful sauce to use in your pasta bake, we recommend using pizza sauce. It has a rich and savory flavor that will compliment the other ingredients in your dish. Plus, it is easy to find in most grocery stores.
If you do not have pizza sauce on hand, you can also use marinara sauce or tomato sauce. However, we recommend adding additional spices to these sauces to give them more flavor.
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What is the Best Cheese for a Pasta Pizza Bake?
There are several types of cheese that can be used in this dish. However, we recommend using mozzarella cheese for its creamy texture and mild flavor.
If you are looking for a more flavorful cheese, you can also use cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese. However, keep in mind that these cheeses will add more calories and fat to your dish.
What are Some Healthy Toppings for a Pasta Bake?
There are many healthy toppings that you can use to top your pasta pizza bake. Some of our favorites include:
- Sautéed vegetables– Onions, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, peppers. Adding in veggies can help make this recipe less points. Leafy greens give you points back.
- Lean protein– I am using Italian Chicken Sausage, but you can use any type of protein. You can use chicken, ground or shredded, turkey, or even shrimp. Ground beef or leftover steak can alo be used.
- Fresh herbs – In addition to the seasoning I use, you can use whatever other herbs you like, such as basil or oregano.
- Spices– Add in things like crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, or garlic powder.
- Healthy condiments – Something like balsamic vinegar or hot sauce can be a nice addition.
What is the Best Pasta to Use for a Pizza Pasta Casserole?
The best pasta to use for a pasta pizza bake is whole grain pasta. I like the ones that have extra fiber and protein. This type of pasta is packed with fiber and nutrients, making it a healthier option than white pasta. Plus, it has a slightly chewy texture that pairs well with the other ingredients in this dish.
If you are looking for a gluten-free option, you can also use quinoa or brown rice pasta. However, keep in mind that these options will change the flavor and texture of your dish.
What to Serve with Pizza Bake
This dish can be served as a main course or side dish. If you are serving it as a main course, we recommend pairing it with a salad or roasted vegetables. My favorite is Air Fryer Asparagus, Roasted Brussel Sprouts or Green Beans and Bacon.
If you are serving it as a side dish, it pairs well with grilled marinated chicken or fish.
How to Store Leftover Pizza Pasta Casserole
Leftover pasta pizza bake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave until hot. You can also freeze this dish for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat before serving.
Can Rotini Bake Be Frozen?
Yes. This dish can be frozen after it has been baked and before. It makes a great freezer meal. I love to freeze the leftovers in smaller portions so I can take out a serving at a time.
It can also be frozen before it bakes. This is great to make a double batch. Then you have one for tonight and one for another night.
To freeze Leftovers, place the cooled pasta bake in a freezer-safe container or bag. Label and date the container, then place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To freeze before baking, follow the recipe through combining the ingredients and putting the casserole together. Then place the unbaked casserole in a freezer-safe container or bag. Label and date the container, then place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator overnight. Then bake according to the recipe instructions.
Pizza Bake Recipe Variations
Change the Filling. Use your favorite pizza toppings to change up the filling. Olives, pepperoni, bacon, ground beef, chicken or turkey, and ham are all great options.
Try a different sauce. You can use alfredoo sauce, pesto, or a vodka sauce. Just make sure to adjust the seasonings accordingly..
Switch up the pasta. Use a a different type of pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or shells.
Add in some veggies- chopped broccoli, zucchini, or yellow squash would be great additions. You could also try adding in some frozen spinach or kale. Just make sure to thaw and squeeze out the excess water before adding it to the dish.
Make it a meatless meal. Omit the sausage and add in extra veggies.
Add a layer of cheese. Mozzarella, provolone, or Parmesan would be great options. Cheddar cheese would also be delicious.
Make it spicy. Add in some crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce. Add in pickled jalapenos for a kick.
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Lightened Up Pizza Pasta Bake
This dish is easily adaptable to fit your dietary needs. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the perfect lightened up pizza pasta bake:
To make this dish gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and sausage. You can also use a gluten-free pizza sauce.
For a lower carb option, use a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles. You could also use a vegetable peeler to create thin strips of zucchini or summer squash. Spaghetti squash or butternut squash noodles will work too.
If you are looking for a dairy-free option, omit the mozzarella cheese. You could also replace it with a dairy-free cheese such as Daiya or Follow Your Heart.
Deconstructed Pizza for a Crowd
Looking for a meal that will feed a large family or a crowd. This is perfect. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or more. Just make sure you have a larger pan or use multiple pan to bake it in.
This is also a great option for potlucks or large gatherings.
How Many Weight Watchers Points in a Pasta Bake
This recipe comes in at 7 on my personal plan. I am using the lowest point versions that I can find, including fat free cheese. If you are using low fat or reduced fat, the point value will change. Also, if you are using a different pasta the point count will be different.
With the new personal points plan from WW, your points might be different than mine. In that case, here is the direct link to the recipe in the WW recipe builder app. You can see how many points Lightened Pizza Pasta Bake is for you. This only works for WW members in the US. If you are outside of the US, you will need to enter it manually.
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Get the full list of ingredients, with measurements, and step-by-step instructions at the bottom of the post in the printable recipe card.
- Italian chicken sausage or Jennie-O Italian Turkey sausage or Isernio’s chicken sausage are both great low point choices.
- Yellow onion
- Turkey pepperoni
- Marinara sauce
- Reduced fat or fat free mozzarella cheese
- Fresh parsley
- Black olives
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Lightened Up Pizza Pasta Bake
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 3 quart baking dish dish.
Cook te pasta according to the box. Make sure to have them al dente or a little undercooked. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage. Break it into small pieces and cook until brown.
Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and then season with salt and pepper.
Next, add the sauce to the sausage and heat the sauce. Remove from the heat.
Then, add the cooked pasta and stir well. Then add half of the cheese.
Add the pasta mixture to the baking dish and top with the test of the cheese.
Add the pepperoni, olives and parsley.
Bake for 25 minutes until it is heated through and the cheese is bubbly.
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Lightened Up Pizza Pasta Bake
- 12 oz. pasta
- 1 lb Chicken Sausage Isernio's Italian chicken sausage or Jennie-O Italian Turkey sausage
- 1/2 cup yellow onion finely diced
- 20 slices turkey pepperoni diced or 1 oz. Hormel mini pepperoni
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3 cups marinara sauce Use a low point sauce
- 1 cup fat free mozzarella cheese shredded, or reduced fat
- 2 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped-optional
- 2 Tbsp diced black olives optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 3 quart baking dish dish.
- Cook te pasta according to the box. Make sure to have them al dente or a little undercooked. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the sausage. Break it into small pieces and cook until brown.
- Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and then season with salt and pepper.
- Next, add the sauce to the sausage and heat the sauce. Remove from the heat.
- Then, add the cooked pasta and stir well. Then add half of the cheese.
- Add the pasta mixture to the baking dish and top with the test of the cheese.
- Add the pepperoni, olives and parsley.
- Bake for 25 minutes until it is heated through and the cheese is bubbly.