Veggie pasta bake

With sweet leeks & garlicky crumb topping

Veggie pasta bake

Veggie pasta bake

Serves Serves 8
Time Cooks In1 hour
DifficultyNot too tricky
Nutrition per serving Plus
  • Calories 529 26%
  • Fat 14.8g 21%
  • Saturates 4.6g 23%
  • Sugars 13.1g 15%
  • Salt 1.4g 23%
  • Protein 22.9g 46%
  • Carbs 98.8g 38%
  • Fibre 3.1g -
Of an adult's reference intake
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  • ½ x 170g loaf of garlic bread
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil , (30g)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 500 g dried pasta , such as orecchiette, conchiglie or gemelli
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese , plus extra to serve
  • 8 cubes of frozen spinach
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Tap For Ingredients


  1. Tear the garlic bread into a blender and blitz into fine crumbs, then mix in a little olive oil and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Peel and finely slice the garlic and trim, wash and finely slice the white part of the leeks (save the green tops for tasty cooking another day – they work great in soups or stocks).
  3. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil into a large shallow casserole pan over a medium heat and add the garlic. Finely slice the basil stalks, then add them to the pan, along with the dried oregano and gently fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the chopped leeks to the pan, season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and cook gently for 10 minutes, until softened, stirring regularly and adjusting the heat to low if they start to colour.
  5. Tip in the tomatoes, breaking them up with the back of your spoon, then half-fill each tin with water, swirl around and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to low and leave to tick away for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes, then drain, reserving a mugful of starchy cooking water.
  7. Tip the sauce into a blender with most of the basil leaves (reserving a few to serve) and whiz until smooth (you may need to work in batches), then season to perfection. Return the sauce to the casserole pan, stir through the cooked pasta, loosening with the reserved cooking water if needs be.
  8. Finely grate over the cheese, then nestle the frozen spinach into the pasta. Sprinkle over the garlic breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden, the pasta is tender and the sauce is blipping.
  9. When it’s cooked, let it sit for a couple of minutes, then sprinkle over the reserved basil leaves, and finish with a final grating of Parmesan. Delicious served with a crisp green salad.


Pep up any droopy-looking herbs by refreshing them in cold water.

Whenever making a pasta bake, undercook the pasta when first boiling it, so that when it finishes cooking in the oven, it’s perfect.

Blitz up the other half of the garlic bread into crumbs, then freeze them – it’s so handy and can be used on roasted fish, salads, lasagnes or stews.

This spinach idea is perfect for families: if kids don’t like the spinach then they can easily eat around it.