This Healthy Vegetarian Pasta Bake with Fennel is the perfect mid-week dish, easy to make and based around only a handful of ingredients – full of flavour but low in calories.
This vegetarian pasta bake recipe ticks so many boxes – it’s delicious, easy to make, and healthy! Come to think of it, there aren’t really any other boxes to tick, at least as far as everyday cooking, so well done me:)
What makes this vegetarian pasta bake an easy dinner idea?
First of all, this pasta bake with beans takes only about 40 minutes to make! This includes boiling the pasta, chopping and cooking the vegetables as well as the time needed for the dish to bake in the oven. I think that’s not bad for a recipe that’s made from scratch!
The list of ingredients is also reasonably short and I’ve kept the extras (i.e. spices) to the minimum. Apart from some oregano sprinkled over the dish just before you pop it in the oven the only other ‘spice’ are onion granules. I rely quite a bit on this ingredient in my everyday cooking when there is no time to chop the onions or when I want a more intense onion flavour in a dish.
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Why is this recipe also a healthy dinner idea?
Two main reasons. First of all, it is packed full of vegetables and also includes beans – all healthy ingredients.
Secondly, there is no cream so the dish is light and lets you really appreciate all the flavours. I find that creamy sauces don’t always work in pasta dishes, and can be a bit of an unnecessary distraction. As for the cheese, it is up to you to decide exactly how much cheese you want to sprinkle on your pasta with fennel. I didn’t use too much on mine. It just didn’t need it.
So this is a low fat pasta recipe!
I hope you enjoy this Healthy Vegetarian Pasta Bake with Fennel. Do get in touch if you’ve got questions or comments:)
Fan of fennel?
- 2.5 cups uncooked pasta I used fusilli
- 1 large fennel
- 1 x 400g tin butter beans drained
- 450 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2/3 teaspoon onion granules a little more than half a teaspoon
- 4 tablespoons white wine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- A little oregano 1.5 teaspoon and finely grated parmesan (2 tablespoons) for sprinkling on top
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bay leaf
Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6. Prepare a large, moderately shallow casserole dish.
Cook the pasta with the bay leaf in salted water al dente. Drain and reserve the water (approx. ½ a cup). Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the fennel into quarters and slice thinly.
In a large frying pan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, add the garlic and fennel and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add the wine, 250g of the tomatoes (a little more than half), onion granules, season to taste and cook for further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and stir through.
Tip the cooked pasta and vegetable mixture into the casserole dish, add the water from cooking the pasta, stir well and dot with the remaining tomatoes, open side up. Sprinkle a little oregano and grated parmesan over the top, drizzle with olive oil (2-3 tablespoons) and bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with more cheese (optional) and freshly chopped parsley, as a vegetarian main dish.
Pin this healthy vegetarian pasta bake recipe so you can always find it!