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Five Minute Cheesy Baked Pasta Casserole

With just 6 ingredients, this deliciously cheesy baked pasta casserole is honestly one of the easiest meals you will ever make!

This is honestly one of the easiest meals I have ever made.

You can prepare the entire dish in under 5 minutes with just a few basic ingredients that might already be in your pantry. And cleanup is a breeze, which gives you more time for other things… such as deciding on a dessert to go with your easy-to-make dinner. (If you want to continue the “quick and easy” theme, I suggest going with my One Minute Chocolate Mug Cake.)

penne pasta

baked pasta

The recipe came about as one of those “clean out the pantry” creations.

True to my Italian heritage, I always keep a well-stocked supply of tomato products on hand; however, this supply sometimes becomes too well-stocked and threatens to expand past its designated shelf. (Yes, I have an entire shelf of tomato products… I also have one for chocolate… okay, two shelves for chocolate… or maybe three shelves for chocolate… who’s counting?)

penne pasta casserole  chocolate covered katie

(And speaking of chocolate… those are Oil-Free Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bars in the background.)


An easy weeknight dinner using pantry staples, there's a very good chance it will become your new favorite go-to pasta dish:

5 Minute Cheesy Baked Pasta Casserole

(serves 4-6)

  • 6 oz penne (2 cups), whole-grain or gluten-free if desired
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 6-8 oz cheese shreds, such as Daiya (Substitution: Although I haven’t personally tried this, a reader used 1/2 cup nutritional yeast in place of the cheese-type shreds and reported it as a success.)
  • optional: 3 tbsp parmesan (such as vegan Parma) or nutritional yeast

(If you want to save even more time, you can cook the pasta the day before.) Cook penne six minutes in salted boiling water. Drain fully, but do not rinse. Grease an 8-inch pan and preheat oven to 400 F. Add all ingredients to the drained penne, transfer to the prepared pan, and bake 30 minutes.

View Nutrition Facts


Link Of The Day:

oatmeal (1)

Cookie Dough Baked Oatmeal


Published on January 27, 2015

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
featured on The 
Today Show, CNN, 
Fox, The 
Huffington Post, and 
ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

Learn more about Katie

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  1. Lauren says

    Just a question, not a complaint. I though your were doing an entire month of breakfast recipes. I love all your recipes, so I’m never disappointed. I’m more just curious. Thanks.

  2. Jessica says

    There’s always cans of beans and vegetables as well as pasta and rice in my pantry. But if I’m rushed, I’m usually only making meals for myself. Then it’s a sandwich, smoothie, bowl of cereal.

  3. Mo says

    My go-to easy dinner is pad thai – whip together powdered PB, soy sauce, rice vinegar and some chili flakes and toss that with whatever veggies I have in the freezer and rice noodles (or rice or quinoa if I have some cooked in the fridge).

    • Rae says

      Kendra, thanks for asking the question about if the 2 cups of pasta was measured before cooking or after. The ingredients list say 2 cups, but doesn’t note if it’s cooked or uncooked. Then the directions say you can cook the pasta a day ahead. So I’m thinking cook 2 cups of dry pasta. Anyway good to know. Thanks

  4. Jill @ Champagne for Everyday says

    This is SO easy, I can’t even believe it!! My bf always makes fun of me for not being able to cook, but I think I’ll whip this up for him on the weekend and prove him wrong 😉 Also – I am OBSESSED with Daiya, in my opinion it tastes way better than actual cheese!

    xx Jill

  5. Jules @ WolfItDown says

    Mmm this looks delicious Katie! 😀 Such a simple ingredient list, although the herbs packs it full of flavour, and cheese and pasta – you can’t really beat that 😀
    As for my quick go-to meals, sometimes noodles, or carbonara fits the bill, I might just have to try this casserole though 😀 x

  6. net says

    Hi Katie,
    Looks yummy! I received your book in the mail yesterday and had a read through. It is fantastic! I just had a question in regards to the nutritional calculations. At the start of the book it states that the nutritional information is calculated for the smallest serving size. Does that mean for example if the recipe serves 2-4 people that you mean the smallest numerical serving size which would be 2 OR the serving size which is the smallest volume which would be 4?
    I hope my question makes sense. I look forward to the clarification.

    • Carly says

      I think it means four main or six side dish servings. And I don’t think one man would eat an entire 8×8 pan by himself lol!

      • Vicki Jamison says

        I like this recipe; sounds like a good one for a potluck. But for the lady who said no one would eat a whole 8″ x 8″ pan — she doesn’t know my husband. He’s a huge fan of pasta with cheese & tomato products, and no sense of portion control …

    • Em says

      We made this last night, and with a salad it happily served four people as our main dish, so I’d say the serving size listed is accurate. I think that unless someone was doing high intensity training or trying to gain weight, eating this in one serving would be excessive. That’d be 1200 calories before even adding anything like a drink or salad to the meal. As a society, we are used to certain portions like that, thanks to extreme restaurant servings these days, but it’s not healthy to eat 1200 calories of a pasta dish as a regular person who isn’t doing a lot of exercise or has special higher calorie needs for some reason.

    • T says

      ….and this comment right here..this mindset is why obesity is such a huge problem. Thank you Katie for providing healthy, delicious recipes with proper portion sizes.

  7. Carly says

    Thanks for the recipe. I got it in my inbox this morning and when I realized I had everything to make it, I knew it would have to be dinner. It was just as easy to make as you said, and it was delicious! Love your recipes, but I do wish you would post more savory ones.

  8. Anne says

    Definitely do! I always have noodles around the house and stir fry sauce (not the healthiest option, I know, making it myself would be healthier, but I feel like my meal is still healthier than other fast options like frozen meals or pizza because I only add fresh food to it!). I buy some protein (usually chicken, lean beef, lean pork or tofu) and stirfry it, add vegetables (pepper, onion and mushrooms being one of my favourite combinations), boil noodles, throw everything together, add some sauce, done! food within 15 minutes.

  9. Cynthia says

    Thanks Katie! I made this last night and it was a hit. So easy and delicious. I used a combo of Daiya cheese, vegan parm and nutritional yeast all together and it was so good. I’m going to make this my new standby meal.
    You are the best !

  10. Julia says

    I love your dessert recipes the most of course, but I must say I also ADORE it when you post savory/main dish recipes!! Thank you & yum 🙂

  11. Tracy says

    should the pasta be undercooked before baking? most of the pastas I buy say to cook 10-12 minutes and you say to cook 6, so if I only cook for 6 minutes it would be undercooked. not sure if it softens up in the oven. Thanks.

  12. Just Plain Marie says

    Looks good! Pasta is usually my choice when it’s 4:45pm, children are hungry and I haven’t made dinner. Except I’m more inclined to warm it up on the stove for five minutes if I really need to make it fast.

    Must go check out those zucchini brownies.

  13. Chely says

    I made a half recipe tonight with a few alterations. Added a couple of tbps of TVP to the boiling water. Then used fennel seeds, oregano, a tiny bit of smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp of Daiya and some spaghetti sauce (needed to be used), omitted the diced tomatoes.
    It was excellent, I regret not making the full recipe.

  14. LRM says

    I made this recipe using
    – 12 ounces of jovial GF pasta (because I am too lazy to use half the box later, hah)
    – one can of tomato sauce like Katie
    – Two cans of diced tomatoes
    – 2 cups large nutritional yeast flakes
    Put it all in my long baking dish (greased) and sprinkled GF bread crumbs mixed with non-dairy heart-healthy “buttery” spread” on top.. And baked as directed. It turned out amazing! I really wanted a lot of cheesy flavor and love nutritional yeast so I used a lot. I would still describe the nutritional yeast flavor as mild. My sauce mix did not come out thick, it was spread thinly with the pasta. Thanks Katie for this great recipe!

  15. Diana says

    This was very tasty. I used 1 tsp Italian seasoning in place of the spices listed, 1 can of basil, garlic, & oregano diced tomatoes, and one chopped up glove of garlic. I probably would add even more garlic next time. It was very easy to make.

  16. Pongodhall says

    I do the mooch, and it is gorgeous. It is drying though so I mix it with some of my unsweetened rice milk and mix in, just right. Keeps it cheap, easy, quick and tasty i.e. Just right.

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