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Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake

Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake

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A lazy meal for midweek that tastes like spinach and ricotta stuffed shells or cannelloni – but without all the labour! Feel free to use your favourite store bought pasta sauce if you prefer. Reheats well and freezes well too!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 55 mins


300g / 10 oz ziti pasta, uncooked, or other short pasta of choice
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese , shredded (or more! For topping)

1 lb / 500 g ricotta (Note 1)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese , grated
2 garlic cloves , crushed
350g / 12oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess liquid pressed out
1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
3/4 tsp salt & pepper

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves , minced
700g / 24oz tomato passata (1 standard bottle) (Note 2)
1 tsp EACH onion and garlic powder
2 tsp dried Italian Mixed Herbs (Note 3)
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes , to taste (optional)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper
2 tbsp water (if needed)

Parmesan cheese , grated


Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Pasta Sauce: Pour out about 1/4 cup of the passata (to make room to add flavourings). Add the remaining Pasta Sauce ingredients into the bottle, screw the lid on and give it a shake.

Cook pasta for time per packet MINUS 1 minute.

SCOOP OUT 1 mugful pasta cooking water, drain and set aside.

Ricotta Mixture – Mix Ricotta Mixture ingredients in a very large bowl. Use a splash of pasta cooking water if needed to make it creamy.

Add pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a heatproof baking dish.

Top with Pasta Sauce, top with cheese. Loosely cover with foil.

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve while hot and fresh!

Recipe Notes:

1. Ricotta – Some ricottas are soft and creamy, others are a bit drier and more crumbly. Use pasta cooking water to loosen ricotta so it can be tossed through the pasta (see video for consistency).
Spinach – or use 1 large bunch of fresh, shredded.

3. Mixed Italian Herbs is a dried herb mix you can get from the supermarket which costs the same as other herbs. You can substitute with a mix of other dried herbs – basil, parsley, oregano and thyme go particularly well.

4. Tomato passata is strained pureed canned tomatoes. Readily available in supermarkets nowadays, usually alongside pasta sauces, same price as canned tomatoes. US/Canada best sub – what you know as Tomato Sauce (eg. Hunts)

5. Storage - Keep leftovers in the fridge and reheat in microwave. To freeze, assemble but do not bake, then freeze. Thaw then bake per recipe.

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