While some nights I’m happy to dance around the kitchen cooking a super elaborate meal, some nights I simply cannot be bothered. I want something quick, easy, delicious, and simple. That’s how this Healthy Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake came to be. It’s a combination of a bunch of things that I always have on hand (pasta, chicken, shredded cheese, etc) and it really couldn’t be simpler. It’s also a great make-ahead meal because it yields a big tray that stores and reheats well. It’s got veggies, meat, cheese, and is super customizable. The best part? It’s WW friendly.
Making Healthy Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake
This recipe requires minimal prep, and then you just mix everything together and bake. You’ll cook your chicken, your sauce, then mix, add cheese, and pop it in the oven. It’s perfect to make ahead and store in the fridge, reheating all week long as a tasty meal (or side dish).
First, you’ll want to cook your chicken. I cook mine in the air fryer – it’s hands off and quick, and always yields perfectly juicy chicken. Next, you’ll cook your pasta. I use this low carb pasta, which is just 2 WW SP per serving, making this point super WW friendly. Then, you’ll make your sauce. The sauce is made of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, fresh garlic, fresh spinach, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. It’s creamy, flavorful, and delicious slathered all over the pasta and chicken.
The last step is to mix it all together – in an 8×8 baking dish, combine chopped chicken, pasta, and sauce. Add 3/4 cup of shredded fat free mozzarella and mix it all together. Top it with 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese and pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes to get all melty. Garnish with some fresh basil or parsley, a bit of grated parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
Substitution ideas and storage
There are a number of ways you can mix up this healthy cheese chicken pasta bake. First, you can omit the chicken completely and just have a vegetarian cheesy pasta bake, or you can use it as a side dish to your protein of choice. It would be great alongside some salmon! You could also add ground beef instead of chicken for a delicious meaty meal.
This dish can easily be made gluten free by swapping out the pasta for a gluten free version, like Banza. You could even swap the cheese for a dairy free option to make this dish totally dairy free and vegan. Mix it up as you please – the results are still sure to be delicious!
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven and enjoy!
Healthy Cheesy Chicken Pasta Bake
- Medium saucepan
- 9×13 baking dish
- 8 oz. pasta I used great low carb bread co rotini which is 2 pts / serving 2 oz
- 16 oz. canned crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated
- 1 cup fat free mozzarella 3/4 cup mixed in, 1/4 cup on top before bake
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach 1 6 oz bag
- 1 lb chicken breast chopped, cooked
- Garnish with parmesan, basil, parsley
- Preheat oven to 350F. Cook chicken breasts however you wish and chop into roughly 1 inch chunks.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Your pasta of choice and cook according to the directions on the box.
- In a medium saucepan add the canned tomato, tomato paste, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and add to the sauce. Stir occasionally until the cream cheese is melted and incorporated throughout.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and spinach. Cook for 3 more minutes, until spinach has begun to wilt.
- In a baking dish, add pasta and sauce and stir together. If sauce needs to be thinned, add a bit of chicken stock. Mix in 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella. Top with additional 1/4 cup cheese and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes to melt the cheese. Top with fresh basil or parsley and grated parmesan and enjoy!