This easy meatball pasta bake is a quick dinner recipe that is made simple by using a bag of frozen meatballs. This recipe is easy to make gluten free, is family friendly, and will make enough to feed the whole crew. The meatball casserole is a perfect dinner option and since it reheats well, it is also great for meal prep. It can be layered ahead of time and popped into the oven for 35 minutes for a quick meal.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy: The meatball pasta bake is super easy to make with simple, staple ingredients, and not much prep.
- Family friendly: The whole family will be on board with pasta and meatballs and even more so in an easy to manage casserole form.
- Fulfilling: This is one of those recipes that will hit the right spot for a weeknight dinner or satisfy for a meal prep lunch as well.
- Not too heavy: As far as pasta bakes go, this is not one of the heavier ones. It fills you up and satisfies without weighing you down too much.
Meatball Pasta Bake Ingredients
To make this easy pasta bake you need 16 ounces of shellbow pasta cooked to al dente and drained. Of course, you can use whichever style you prefer. You also need a pound and a half of Italian meatballs (24 ounces); you can use frozen or homemade, whichever you prefer.
Beyond that, you’ll require 24 ounces of red sauce or pasta sauce, 10-12 ounces of ricotta cheese, 1 diced red bell pepper, 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, and one cup of shaved parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish or to taste).
How to Make Meatball Pasta Bake
Start the meatball pasta bake by par boiling the noodles (al dente) if you haven’t done so previously and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Don’t cook them all the way as they will finish cooking in the oven.
Next, in a casserole dish, spread one fourth of the sauce (1 cup) in an even layer across the bottom. Arrange the meatballs in the dish and dollop in the ricotta. Sprinkle in the diced red pepper over the top of that.
Once your first layer is done, sprinkle on half of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese, as well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the par boiled noodles and the rest of the sauce.
Spread the noodle and sauce mixture into the casserole dish into an even layer and then spread the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella cheese evenly across the top.
Cover your casserole dish with tin foil and place into the oven for 35-40 minute or until the meatballs are cooked through and the cheese is bubbly on top. If you prefer a more done cheese, remove the tin foil and place back into the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese browns to your liking.
Making Gluten Free Meatball Pasta Bake
To make this recipe gluten free you’ll first want to ensure the meatballs you’re using are gluten free. You will then just swap out the regular noodles for a gluten free variety. I like Barilla and Jovial for gluten free brands but you can use your favorite.
Cook the gluten free pasta according to the instructions on the box to al dente (not completely soft) and drain and make the recipe as you normally would.
Serving and Storing Instructions
Garnish this recipe with a sprinkle of chopped parsley or a light dusting of grated parmesan cheese or red pepper flakes.
Serve your meatball pasta bake with breadsticks or a fresh side salad of your choosing. I like to keep it simple with this one and serve a quick garlic toast with it.
To store this recipe let it cool to room temperature and place into an airtight container and refrigerate. This recipe is perfect for individual meal prep containers since its such an easy one to reheat for a leftover meal at any point. It will keep well in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
Other Simple Pasta Recipes You’ll Love!
- Creamy Pesto Gnocchi
- Slow Cooker Chicken Carbonara
- Instant Pot Bruschetta Chicken Pasta
- Southwest Ground Beef Casserole
- Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
PS. If you’ve made this recipe, don’t forget to rate this recipe and let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- 16 ounces shellbow pasta
- 24 ounces red sauce
- 24 ounces meatballs
- 10–12 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 diced red bell pepper
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup parmesan cheese (plus extra for garnish)
- boil noodles to al dente (par boiled, not completely soft)
- add 1/4 of the sauce (1 cup) to the bottom of the casserole dish and spread meatballs across the dish
- add red peppers and dollops of ricotta evenly across casserole dish
- sprinkle on half of the mozzarella and the parmesan evenly across the casserole dish
- mix the noodles and the rest of the sauce and add the to the top of your casserole dish
- spread the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan over the top of the noodles and sauce
- cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and cheese is bubbly on top.
For Gluten Free: Simply swap out the regular noodles for your favorite gluten free variety and cook to al dente according to instructions on the package. Make sure the meatballs you’re using are gluten free.
Keywords: meatball bake, meatball pasta bake, easy meatball bake, pasta bake with meatballs, meatball casserole
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