Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

I’ve created the recipe for this pasta bake for my daughter. When I cook for her, I always try to think of delicious meals that include more vegetables and whole grains. She loves all types of pasta and she doesn’t mind when I prepare whole wheat or lentil pasta for her. I realize that not every child would be happy to replace the white, refined pasta for a whole grain, but you’ll never know until you try. Sometimes kids need to try one food several times in different varieties in order to approve it.


Why Should You make it?

This dish is an example for a complete meal. It contains protein, carbohydrate, dairy and many vegetables. One serving provides plenty of essential nutrients and fiber. The pasta bake with ground beef and marinara sauce is great for growing kids and their parents.

It is also very delicious! I haven’t met a child who doesn’t like a cheesy tomato pasta bake. Many kids will most likely request more than one serving. If you use whole grain pasta to prepare the recipe, you will be happy to fill their plates over and over again. That way you know that they consume many nutrients that are essential for proper growth and development. If you make the recipe with pasta that is made with white wheat flour you are feeding your family with mostly empty calories.

Another reason to make this recipe is that is made from ingredients that most of you already have in the fridge and pantry. I usually have some type of pasta and marinara sauce in the pantry. Also, if you are like me and you cook for your family every day then you should always have onions, garlic and carrots in your kitchen.

Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

Helpful tips

What pasta should you use for this recipe?

You can use whatever you like or have available. Any pasta shape will be good, but I strongly recommend using whole grain. Also, make sure to cook it according to the package directions. To take the pictures for this blog post I used red lentil rotini pasta.

Can you use other type of cheese?

Yes! You can use cheese you have on hand, or blend of many different cheeses.

Can I use lean meat instead of beef?

When I prepare recipes that include ground beef, I usually use a mix of beef and pork. I like that flavor combination, but you don’t have to do this. Any ground meat will work fine, but lean meat requires less cooking and it may dry out. You can entirely omit the ground meat if you want to make this dish vegetarian.

Please Note: I’m not a doctor or a dietitian. Everything written in my blog post is my own opinion. I’m not qualified to give medical advice!

Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: healthy pasta bake, italian pasta casserole, whole wheat pasta bake, whole wheat pasta recipe


  • cup dry whole grain rotini I use lentil pasta
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground meat that you prefer
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • 2 cups good quality Marinara sauce I used Rao's
  • 1 garlic clove chopped finely
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil leaves divided
  • 1 cup shredded Mozarella


  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Boil the pasta according to the package directions to al dente (firm to the bite).
  • In a deep pan heat up the oil to medium high. Then add the chopped onion and cook until slightly soft and translucent. Next add the ground meat and break it to small chucks. Stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Then add the shredded carrot, chopped garlic, salt and pepper and the dry oregano to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring.
  • Finally add the marinara, the drained pasta and half of the chopped fresh basil.
    Veggie Loaded Healthy Pasta Bake
  • Then stir and transfer it to oven safe dish (I used a dish that was 13 x 9 inches). Top it with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
    Veggie Loaded Healthy Pasta Bake
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Allow the pasta to cool down slightly before serving.


Any type of pasta can be used for this recipe. Make sure to adjust the cooking time according to the instructions on the box.
This pasta bake can be stored in the refrigerator 3-5 days. Do not keep it at room temperature for more than two hours.  
Pasta Bake with Ground Beef and Marinara Sauce

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