If you love a cheesy pasta, this recipe is for you. With just seven ingredients, you are just steps away from a pasta that has all of the flavor and none of the guilt. Ooey gooey layers of cheese and fresh marinara sauce are the key to making this delicious and healthy baked pasta dish. Serve this for a dinner the whole family will enjoy. This recipe uses simple and healthy ingredients so it’s easy to keep in your weeknight dinner rotation. This Healthy Baked Pasta with Cottage Cheese will change the way you think about cheesy baked pasta.
What you will need to make this Healthy Baked Pasta with Cottage Cheese
- Penne pasta
- You may opt to use the pasta shape of your choice, but I think penne works best for this recipe.
- Marinara sauce
- Try my homemade marinara sauce recipe linked here.
- You can buy jarred marinara sauce, but when you make your own, you are in control of the ingredients. It takes only minutes to make, and tastes great too.
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Cottage cheese replaces the traditional ricotta used in baked pastas. Not only do they taste pretty identical, but cottage cheese is a great way to get protein into this dish.
- Part skim mozzarella
- You can also use low fat, fat free, or whatever you have on hand; just make sure to adjust the macros and points accordingly.
- Grated pecorino Romano cheese (or grated parmesan cheese)
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh basil
How to make this Healthy Baked Pasta with Cottage Cheese
To start, preheat your oven to 350F. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, but only for 5 minutes. It will continue cooking in the oven.
When the pasta is done cooking, toss it in about 1 cup of marinara sauce to coat. Place a layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, and then pour the pasta on top in an even layer.
In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of the mozzarella, the pecorino romano and the herbs.
Dollop the mixture on top of the pasta layer and spread it in an even layer. Top with the remaining sauce, followed by the remaining mozzarella.
Cover with foil, bake for 25 minutes. Uncover the foil and bake for a few minutes if you prefer a crispier topping.
Marinara sauce: the most simple, traditional, tomato sauce. Marinara sauce doesn’t need much, just let the tomatoes shine.
This sauce is an Italian staple, but a lot of people are intimidated by the idea of making their own and resort to buying pre-made jars of marinara for convenience. I am all about making things easier in the kitchen, but jarred sauces often have hidden sugar and ingredients that marinara sauce does not traditionally have.
To be honest, I find myself asking, “how do you explain something so simple to make?” Marinara is one of those things that doesn’t take a long time to make, and only a handful of ingredients are used. It’s fresh, its versatile, and can be made your own with the use of any preferred added spices (Italian seasoning, dried oregano, onion).
I can promise you, marinara sauce also only takes 20 minutes (tops) to make from start to finish and requires under 5 ingredients. You can use canned crushed tomatoes, or you can use fresh tomatoes. I have made marinara sauce with cherry tomatoes that were about to go bad in my fridge and it came out great also!
Cottage cheese–my new favorite ingredient!
Cottage cheese has gotten a bad rap. Forget everything you know and have heard about cottage cheese. Recently on the blog, I’ve used it to create some of my most mouthwatering recipes. My Viral Cottage Cheese Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream inspired by other viral videos utilizes cottage cheese to a delicious frozen treat that’s high in protein and naturally sweetened. Then, there’s my Healthy Sous Vide Egg Bites that are fluffy and flavorful. Cottage cheese is the perfect secret weapon when it comes to healthy eating. It adds protein, texture and a mild flavor.
Healthy Baked Pasta with Cottage Cheese
- pasta pot
- baking dish
- 8 oz pasta, measured dry, I used penne
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2/3 cup 2% low fat cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup part skim mozzarella , divided
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, but only for 5 minutes. It will continue cooking in the oven.
- When the pasta is done cooking, toss it in about 1 cup of marinara sauce to coat.
- Place a layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, and then pour the pasta on top in an even layer.
- In a small bowl, combine the cottage cheese, 1/4 cup of the mozzarella, the pecorino romano and the herbs.
- Dollop the mixture on top of the pasta layer and spread it in an even layer. Top with the remaining sauce, followed by the remaining mozzarella.
- Cover with foil, bake for 25 minutes.
- 8 WW points for 1/4 recipe (all plans)
More pasta, please.
Pasta can easily be part of a healthy diet. Check out some of my pasta recipes here: