You know how some people love vegetables and consume them with every meal and crave them and eat entire meals made up of them?
I’m not one of those people. And I think those people are kind of bonkers. Don’t worry, veggie lovers; I still love you. Just keep your soggy zucchini away from me. Unless you bake it into buttery and sugary bread, but that’s a whole other story.
For me, vegetables can get quite gaggy. I get weird food aversions where things like broccoli make me want to throw up into my mouth. During these aversion periods, broccoli smells like stinky gym socks, spinach tastes like styrofoam, and zucchini feels like squishy vom in my mouth. I could go on, but I won’t.
Way to go, Carly! You’ve just successfully scarred all of your readers for life! Nice work!
Anyway, this meal is perfect for picky toddlers and vegetable-hating, meat-loving husbands.
And grown women who still throw fits when nasty steamed broccoli is placed on their plates. Can we all agree on the fact that steamed veggies are Nast to the Ay? Nasty. Furthermore, can we all agree on the fact that deep fried veggies are always Amaze to the Ing to the Perfect to the Shun to the HolyHellThisIsStupidGoodIThinkI’veDiedAndGoneToHeaven? Yeah…
Hidden Vegetable Pasta Bake
13.25-oz (about 7 cups)Whole Wheat short pasta (I used rotini)
12 oz lite shredded mozzarella
29oz canned, diced tomatoes
~20oz ground turkey breast
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
5 cups spinach, roughly chopped
½ Tbsp olive oil
Garlic (I used 6 cloves), pressed or minced
Fresh basil, chopped
Dried Italian herbs
S & P
Boil the pasta until al dente. It will continue to cook a bit in the oven. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, add the olive oil, the onion, and the garlic and season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Cook until translucent. Add the carrots and spinach and cook until soft. Add in the turkey meat, season, and brown. When the meat is either almost cooked through or completely cooked through, add in the tomatoes and the tomato paste. Continue cooking until the meat is no longer raw. Add in some fresh basil and continue to season to taste. (I used tons of salt, pepper, garlic, dried basil, and dried oregano.)
Add your pasta into the tomato mixture and stir. Then add in about 1/3 of the cheese and mix.
Put the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish (or two smaller ones, as I did) and top with the rest of the cheese.
At this point, you can either bake it right away or stick it in the fridge for later use. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and then broil for another few minutes until the top is bubbly and brown.
Per 1/10 of recipe: 301 calories; 37g carbs; 6g fat; 26g protein
The spinach totally melts into the dish- I didn’t even notice it was there! The carrots become so soft that they just work as flavorers. And the tomatoes cook down to create a saucy delight. See? Hidden veggies! I would have loved to add shredded zucchini to this, but I didn’t have any. Next time.
Kids, this should get you excited about veggies. Especially since they’re coated in a bubbly, golden, cheesy, crunchy top.