I’ll fight anyone who disagrees, but there’s no comfort food like a good old pasta bake. The warmth on a rainy day, a perfect side to a summer barbecue, or simply, a student dinner after a busy day of work. Pasta bake is so versatile, nutritious and easy to make – you just have to try it if you haven’t already. My recipe is vegetarian friendly (is vegan if you use a dairy free equivalent cheese) and is packed with protein. Low in fat, minimal oil used and is packed with veggies!
I like to make this for dinner, then have enough portions for lunch times during the week – please feel free to reduce the quantities as you wish to suit your lifestyle or add or take away any ingredients you please!
This dish makes 8 portions: each portion contains 372 kcals, 34g carbohydrates, 15.8g fat and an amazing 25.8g of protein. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals and taste – what more could you want!?
What you need:
• 600g of dried pasta
• 1 (400g) tin of chopped tomatoes
• 15g squirty garlic (or 2 fresh gloves)
• 2 red onions
• 2 bell peppers (colour of your choice)
• 400g mushrooms
• 200g soya mince
• 4 Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages (Cooked)
• 2 balls (125g) of fresh, low fat mozzarella
• 60g mature cheddar
• 1 tbsp English mustard
• 2 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 vegetarian stock cube
So, shall we get started?
Firstly, pop your pasta in a pan and coat with hot water. Pop on the heat and leave to cook to 12-15 minutes.
First with the veg, it’s the onions. Finely chop them into little squares.
Now to heat up a pan ready to fry them off. I swear by Frylight sprays, 1 kcal per spray and cooks things perfectly.
Add in your squirty/fresh garlic and mix!
Now to add in the chopped Tommy’s, to prevent the onion mix from sticking. Here add the basil and the paprika.
Time to chop and mix in the peppers. I chose red and green, but it’s completely down to you what you use.
Mix baby, mix!
Time for the mushrooms. Finely slice them and add to the pan.
Mix these in well, ensuring that they’re all fully coated.
Crumble in the stock cube and stir in well.
Now it’s time to add in the soya mince!
And the pre cooked sausages! Chop them up in to little bits and mix well.
Now time for the mustard. Again, mix well then turn the heat off.
Transfer the pasta sauce to the cooked pasta. Ensure it is mixed well and all pieces are coated.
Transfer to a large baking tray and flatten equally. Tear up the mozzarella balls and then mix through the pasta.
Top the pasta with any remaining mozzarella and the cheddar cheese (who can either crumble this or grate it).
Place in the oven at 200c / gas mark 6 for 25/30 minutes or until the pasta bake is looking crispy and delicious!
Voila!!! Serve immediately to consume for din dins or leave to cool and set aside for meal prep or consumption at a later date (make sure to leave it in a sealed container in the fridge).
Make sure you tag me in all your creations using the hashtag, #emmasfoodstories on instagram.
Emma is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.