Curly Pasta & Zucchini Bake

This is the time of year when we really need easy one-dish dinners, and that’s exactly what this is! I’ve also been loving dinners like this that people can reheat at different times (hello, evening sports!). And it seems like I am always on the hunt for more hearty vegetarian meals I can add to the rotation.

I try to only have meat as the focus about half the time when I am mapping out dinners for the week. It’s good for your health and your budget (and the environment)! And for those meals that I make with meat, I try to make sure that it’s high quality from somewhere like Butcher Box or our farmers’ market.

How many days a week do you try to eat meatless meals? How about meals that use just a little bit of meat for flavoring (instead of being the focus of the meal)? You can get most of the same benefits by just cutting back rather than giving it up altogether.

Curly Pasta and Zucchini Bake on 100 Days of Real Food

Can you put uncooked pasta in the oven?

I mean, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it! Unless it’s specifically a “no-boil” thin lasagne noodle, I would recommend boiling your pasta, at least until it’s al dente (i.e., almost done), before you add it to any casserole that you plan to bake in the oven. I used curly pasta in this recipe, mainly because my kids like it, but a similar sized substitute (such as penne) would work just as well!

Curly Pasta and Zucchini Bake on 100 Days of Real Food

Curly Pasta & Zucchini Bake

A cheesy pasta and veggie bake that tastes just as good when reheated.
4.7 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 22 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 8


  • 1 16 ounce bag whole-grain pasta curly
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini ends trimmed and cut into 1" chunks, can also sub eggplant
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese plus extra for garnish (optional)
  • 1 large handful fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Boil the pasta and drain a few minutes before the recommended time on the package (al dente). Set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the zucchini while stirring occasionally until it is tender when pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl mix together the crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, cheeses, basil, salt, and pepper then stir in the pasta and zucchini.
  • Pour into a large rectangular baking dish. Garnish with dollops of ricotta cheese (if desired) and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  • Flip the oven to the broiler setting and cook until the cheese on top is golden brown, about 1 to 2 more minutes. Serve warm.


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Curly Pasta & Zucchini Bake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 208 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Cholesterol 60mg20%
Sodium 361mg16%
Potassium 169mg5%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 709IU14%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 192mg19%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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11 thoughts on “Curly Pasta & Zucchini Bake”

    1. I would bake this ahead of time and then just reheat for the best outcome. It reheats great. – Nicole

  1. 4 stars
    This recipe is delicious but it is NOT a one pot meal as advertised. I used no less than 4 dishes when making this meal… the pasta pot, the skillet, a bowl for mixing, and the dish to bake it. Would love some truly one pot meals for busy weeknights.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for the first time last night. Everyone loved it! Wouldn’t change a thing!! Thanks for sharing such yummy, family friendly meals!

  3. We probably have meat twice a week at most, because humanely raised meat from the farmers market is expensive and raising meat uses a lot of resources. I also tend to stretch a pound of meet to make it last 2 meals by portioning it out, using meat in things like spaghetti carbonara and adding black beans to my taco meat, etc. Honestly, we are so busy eating seasonal produce in summer and fall we rarely miss meat.

  4. Lisa,
    This sounds great! Does it really only have 4 carbs in it? I was surprised by that due to it being a pasta dish, even for whole grain pasta.

    1. I just made this the other day, and I wouldn’t eliminate the ricotta, as I think that really gives it the flavor. Maybe try one of the others, or just don’t put the extra ricotta on the top. – Nicole

      1. This looks really delicious. Can’t wait to try it! Can we freeze the leftovers .and reheat easily without any changes to the consistency/texture?

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