Meatless Dinner Recipe Idea: Easy Cheesy Baked Spaghetti

Baked spaghetti is a classic comfort food that is easy to make and is always a crowd-pleaser. This recipe is for a simple version that is perfect for a weeknight meal. This recipe is my go-to Meatless Monday dinner when I need something quick and easy or a dish that can be made ahead and popped into the oven to bake at dinner time! While I am sharing a meatless, vegetarian version of this dish, it can be customized with your favorite ingredients, such as ground beef, sausage, or other vegetables that you have on hand!

baked spaghetti topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheese

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A Little Baked Spaghetti Background

Baked spaghetti is a dish of cooked spaghetti noodles layered with meat sauce, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients, such as cottage cheese or eggs. It is typically baked in a casserole dish until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Baked spaghetti is believed to have originated in Italy, but it became popular in the United States in the early 1900s.

Ingredients for my Easy Cheesy Baked Spaghetti

  • 1 pound Spaghetti, Broken into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Seeded and Chopped--red, yellow or orange work equally well! 
  • 8 oz. Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar Marinara Sauce--I love Dei Fratelli sauces
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 cups small curd Cottage Cheese or Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

pinnable recipe for oven baked spaghetti

Instructions for my Easy Cheesy Baked Spaghetti

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil until hot.
  4. Add onion, peppers, mushrooms and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes minutes.
  6. In a large bowl, combine spaghetti, sauce, cottage cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  7. Pour the mixture into a nonstick 9x13 inch baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Cover pan with aluminum foil.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


Customize this Easy Cheesy Baked Spaghetti

  • Add extra vegetables. I love to load this with veggies!  Feel free to saute shredded carrots, zucchini, spinach, white mushrooms, green peppers, etc.  If you add more than a cup of extra vegetables, you may need to add another 1/2 jar of marinara sauce to thin the sauce mixture.
  • Use different cheeses. Mozzarella cheese is the traditional choice for baked spaghetti, but you could also use cheddar, or provolone cheese or an Italian or Pizza blend.
  • Add meat if desired.  Adding a pound of ground beef, Italian sausage or cooked and diced chicken works well in this recipe

Tips and Tricks for the BEST Easy Cheesy Baked Spaghetti 

  • Use a good quality pasta sauce. I love Dei Fratelli Pasta Sauces.  My go-to sauce is this Dei Fratelli Fire Roasted Vegetable pasta sauce.  This will make a big difference in the flavor of the dish.
  • Don't overcook the pasta. It should be al dente, or slightly firm to the bite. Remember, it will continue to cook in the sauce as the casserole dish bakes.
  • Don't overbake the baked spaghetti. The cheese should be melted and bubbly, but not browned.
  • Serve with a green salad and garlic bread!  Here is the garlic butter spread recipe I use for homemade baked garlic bread!

No matter how you customize it, baked spaghetti is sure to be a hit with your family and friends. So gather your ingredients and get cooking!

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