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Baked rigatoni pasta casserole with Parmesan and a salad on the side.

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach: Cheesy Italian Pasta Bake Casserole

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  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen – Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes (plus 10 minutes cooling time)
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian


This vegetarian pasta bake with spinach and cheese is one of our favorite comfort food meals. A meatless casserole with Italian flair!


Units Scale


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drizzle a coating of olive oil into a 13x9-inch baking pan, place it on top of a large, rimmed sheet pan, and set aside.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes more. Add both cans of tomatoes and dried oregano. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 1-2 tablespoons of kosher salt and stir in the rigatoni. Cook according to the package instructions until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes, reducing the heat as necessary to keep the water from boiling over. Drain well and place the pasta back in the pot.

  4. In a food processor or blender, add the drained tofu, egg, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and the nutmeg. Process until smooth, stopping and scraping down the sides with a spatula or spoon as needed.

  5. Small dice 1/4 to 1/3 of the fresh mozzarella and add it to the pot of cooked pasta, along with the tofu mixture and most of the tomato sauce (reserve around 1/2 cup for the top of the pasta bake. Squeeze the liquid out of the defrosted spinach, and add the spinach to the pasta mixture, along with 1⁄2 cup of the grated Parmesan. Gently stir together until combined.

  6. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared 13x9-inch baking dish. Dot the top with the remaining tomato sauce. Slice or tear the remaining fresh mozzarella and scatter over the top, along with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and another 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

  7. Place in the preheated oven and bake until golden and bubbling, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving, garnishing with fresh basil if desired.


Feel free to use canned tomatoes that have garlic and/or herbs already in them for an extra flavor boost.

See notes about Parmesan cheese in my post above if following a strict vegetarian diet.

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