Creamy bean and spinach pasta bake

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Cheesy pasta bake in a pyrex dish with a portion removed

Cheesy pasta is always a winner – I could quite happily eat pasta simply coated with a bit of butter and some grated cheese every single day of the year. I do usually try to get a bit of extra nutrition into my cooking (pasta and cheese does not a balanced diet make), but I don’t like to detract from the enjoyment of having cheesy pasta for dinner. This creamy bean and spinach pasta bake is the perfect solution – it still feels indulgent, like a real treat, but there’s actually a lot of goodness hidden inside too!

Cheesy pasta bake in a pyrex dish with a portion removed, shot from above

The creamy sauce is really quick and easy to whizz up – as usual, I tried to avoid creating any unnecessary cooking steps, so the sauce doesn’t need any kind of pre-cooking. Just add a big handful of fresh spinach, a leek, ricotta cheese, fresh parsley and garlic to a food processor, and get your blend on.

There’s also one other secret ingredient that adds heaps of protein to this pasta bake – beans! One batch contains two whole tins of beans. I used cannellini beans and haricot beans, but any kind of tinned white bean (butter beans, for example) will work just fine. You could even use non-white beans, but the sauce will end up a bit less pretty!

The end result is a thick and creamy sauce – perfectly irresistible, but full of goodness.

Collage showing creamy spinach sauce and uncooked cheesy pasta bake

Just mix the cooked pasta with the creamy spinach sauce, and pop it in a baking dish.

I also added some tomato sauce, and plenty more cheese on top (obviously). It’s like pizza on a pasta bake – it doesn’t get much more tempting than this.

Cheesy pasta bake in a pyrex dish with a portion removed

I made a pretty big batch of this creamy bean and spinach pasta bake, because I knew I would love it (how could a pizza-topped creamy pasta bake ever be bad?!). The recipe will serve about 6 people. But if there’s only one or two of you, and you don’t fancy eating the same meal several days in a row, it will freeze nicely too! Just cut it into portions, freeze, then reheat in the microwave or oven.

Portion of creamy pasta bake on a plate with garlic bread

Add a couple of slices of garlic bread and some salad, and this creamy bean and spinach pasta bake makes an amazing people-pleasing dinner!

Cheesy pasta bake in a pyrex dish with a portion removed

Creamy bean and spinach pasta bake

An irresistibly creamy, cheesy pasta bake with lots of hidden goodness!

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

4 from 8 votes
Print Pin Comment
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 500 g (~ 17 1/2 oz) pasta (I used spirali)
  • 1 small leek, roughly chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 400 g tin cannellini beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
  • 400 g tin haricot beans, drained (240g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
  • Few sprigs fresh parsley
  • 250 g (~ 1 cup) ricotta cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 200 g (~ 3/4 cup) passata or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 ball fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into chunks
  • 50 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1/2 cup when grated)


  • Cook the pasta in plenty of water until cooked al dente, then drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, add the leek to a food processor, along with the spinach and garlic. Blitz until well chopped. Add the two tins of beans and the fresh parsley, and blitz again thoroughly. Finally add the ricotta and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and blitz one last time.
  • Add the sauce to the cooked pasta, and mix to combine. You can add a dash of water or vegetable stock to thin it out a little, if needed.
  • Add the pasta to a large baking dish, and pour over the passata or tomato sauce. Top with some fresh mozzarella and grated cheddar, and bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 30 minutes, or until the cheese has crisped up to your liking.


Nutrition Facts
Creamy bean and spinach pasta bake
Amount Per Serving (0 g)
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 0g0%
Vitamin A 0IU0%
Vitamin C 0mg0%
Calcium 0mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

Tried this Recipe? Leave a Comment!Comments and star ratings really help support the site – thank you!

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/6 of the recipe.

Here’s another of my favourite cheesy pasta bakes with plenty of protein – chickpea bolognese pasta bake:

4 from 8 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. This was a great recipe, Becca, thank you! I love how much protein is in this pasta dish from the beans. Great way to sneak more protein in! Nicki5 stars

  2. Got to agree with other comments here.
    I cooked this with raw Leek as per the instruction but sweating those leeks off in a pan for 10minutes first will take this dish to a 5 star and give it a delicious mellow, sweet flavour.3 stars

  3. Loved this, and I’m making it for the third time. I wouldn’t have thought of using pulses as a sauce base. As you suggest, I freeze half , but before it is baked.
    I didn’t have any problem with the leeks tasting raw, perhaps because they are home grown and very fresh, but also I used Arrabiata tomatoes on top, so perhaps the chilli overcame it.

    I did find the sauce was very thick, and needed to be let down with some of the pasta water.4 stars

  4. This looks just our sort of dish! I made it yesterday, but the leek really does need sauteing, after licking the spatula I had my reservations, the mix was a bit sharp & bitter. Gave it a good 50 mins in oven, but it tasted raw & we could all still “taste”leek a couple of hrs later. Will def make again it again though.2 stars

    1. Yes, I had the same experience after using raw leeks! I baked the dish for extra time too, but the leeks still had that sharpness and it really detracted from the overall taste.

      When we had the leftovers the next night, I put the dish back in the oven at a lower temperature for maybe half an hour – and that did mellow the flavour somewhat. But yes, next time I will definitely saute the leeks first.3 stars

  5. You’re talking my kind of meal hear. Cheese and pasta is a wonder. Let’s face it, cheese and pretty much anything is my kinda food. But like you, I do like to get a few greens and other good stuff in, so this looks like the perfect solution.