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Nothing beats a Gluten Free Pasta Bake recipe for an easy midweek meal. Gluten free pasta is cooked in a rich tomato and pepper sauce, topped with cheese and then baked to gooey, cheesy perfection. A great vegetarian, gluten free budget meal idea.

gluten free pasta bake recipe
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I absolutely adore making gluten free pasta bake – it’s seen me through many a dinnertime from my childhood, through my student years and into adult life.

For me simplicity is best when it comes to gluten free baked pasta and this tomato pasta bake is as easy as it gets.

You only need a few ingredients for the tomato sauce, along with your gluten free pasta of choice. Penne, fusilli, or something fancier – it’s up to you!

If you love batch cooking meals for ease the tomato sauce can be made in bulk and frozen, ready to defrost and bake your favourite pasta in.

And while this recipe is vegetarian, you can easily add chicken, bacon, chorizo or even tuna to create whatever gluten free pasta bake you like.

The recipe is super adaptable and I’ll pop some ideas for variations – as well as my favourite gluten free pasta brands – below.

gluten free pasta bake recipe

Ingredients and Substitutions

There’s a printable recipe card below with the full recipe but here are the main ingredients you will need as well as ideas for any substitutions:

  • Gluten Free Pasta – Any type of gluten free pasta will work in this recipe – the best shapes for it I think are gluten free penne, fusilli, conchiglie (shell), bows or ziti pasta. In the UK I tend to use the supermarket own brand pastas (Sainsbury’s is cheapest at the time of writing) but I also love Garofalo’s gluten free pasta and the Napolina pasta.
  • Peppers – I use one red and one yellow pepper in this recipe but you can use any variety or colour you like. You can swap this for a different veg if you don’t like peppers – courgette, mushrooms or aubergine all work really well.,
  • Garlic – I use frozen chopped garlic but you could use four cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed) or garlic paste instead.
  • Tinned Tomatoes – Tinned chopped tomatoes are super cheap. To save a few more pennies, but whole tinned tomatoes and chop them yourself. For a splurge, the Cira Pulpa finely chopped tomatoes are my absolute favourites.
  • Passata – This helps to loosen the pasta sauce and make it super saucy so it doesn’t dry out in the oven too much.
  • Basil – Fresh basil lives on my kitchen windowsill and it makes the kitchen smell divine! You can omit this, replace with parsley if you don’t like basil, or use dried basil.
  • Oregano – I always love dried oregano in a pasta sauce. Again, omit this if you don’t like it or even switch it up with fresh, chopped oregano.
  • Sugar – I know it can seem weird to add sugar to tomato pasta sauce but trust me! A tiny spoonful of sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes, it works a charm!
  • Mozzarella – I use a ball of light mozzarella but you can use shredded mozzarella cheese, full-fat mozzarella or pre-grated. Whatever works best for you. Swap for Cheddar or a different cheese if you prefer.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Adding grated parmesan or a similar dried hard cheese just helps add a lovely flavour to the cheesy top in the oven.
gluten free pasta bake recipe ingredients pasta peppers tomatoes basil and cheese

Pasta Bake Variations

This gluten free pasta bake recipe is really a blank canvas to get creative with your meal!

Once you’ve tried the original recipe, here are some ideas for different gluten free pasta bake variations:

  • Fry some diced chorizo with the peppers and add 1/2 tsp smoked paprika to the tomato sauce for a spicy, Spanish twist.
  • Add cooked, shredded chicken to the tomato sauce to up the protein content and make it go even further. Great for using up roast dinner leftovers!
  • Add extra vegetables including diced aubergine, courgette, spinach leaves, fresh tomatoes or mushrooms. Simply from off with the peppers.
  • To make the cheesy top even more special, add some gluten free breadcrumbs with the cheese for a bit of crunch. You can also add crushed gluten free crisps like I do with my tuna pasta bake.
  • For an even cheesier topping, add some extra varieties of cheese. Mexicana cheese add a fiery twist, or feta can add a lovely flavour.
  • Up the heat by frying fresh, diced chilli with the garlic and peppers, and add a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes onto the cheesy top.

There are tonnes of different ways you can customise this gluten free pasta bake so if you find a great combination please share it in the comments!

gluten free pasta bake recipe

How to make gluten free pasta bake

Making this easy gluten free pasta bake recipe is so simple – I’ve even included some step-by-step photos below to help you.

Firstly, bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C Fan / Gas Mark 7.

gluten free pasta bake ingredients on the worktop and in a large pan.

Thinly slice the peppers. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the peppers and garlic. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

fry the peppers then add the pasta bake sauce ingredients to the pan.

Add the chopped tomatoes, passata, basil leaves, oregano, sugar and salt to the pan and mix well. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.

Cook the pasta as per the pack instructions (usually about 10 minutes into boiling water) and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, at the same time.

mix the cooked gluten free pasta into the sauce then bake with cheese on top.

Once cooked, strain the gluten free pasta then add to the sauce, stirring well. If your pan is not oven-proof, transfer the pasta to an ovenproof dish.

Cover the top of the pasta with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve straight away with some extra fresh basil leaves torn on top.

Step-by-Step Photos below show: 1, the ingredients needed; 2, fry the peppers and garlic; 3, add the rest of the sauce ingredients; 4, fry for 5-10 minutes while the pasta cooks; 5, mix together and top with cheese before baking; 6, the finished pasta bake!

gluten free pasta bake recipe step by step photos

Frequently Asked Questions

Before we get stuck into making this Gluten Free Pasta Bake recipe, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions…

Is pasta gluten free?

Pasta is made using wheat flour so is not gluten free. However, you can find lots of free from pastas which are 100% gluten free and coeliac-safe! Most UK supermarkets have a gluten free pasta range, though shapes can be limited. Some brands of red lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, buckwheat pasta and brown rice pasta in the ‘normal’ aisles are also accidentally gluten free. It’s always worth checking! If you’re new to a gluten free diet, my gluten free diet FAQs may come in handy.

Can you make pasta bake gluten free?

Yes, you can make pasta bake gluten free! As long as you follow the pack instructions on how to correctly cook your gluten free pasta, you can simply just use this instead of normal pasta. This pasta bake recipe is 100% gluten free.

Is this recipe dairy free / vegan?

The sauce for my gluten free pasta bake recipe is dairy free and vegan – the only thing that is not is the cheese on top. To make a gluten and dairy free pasta bake simply use a vegan cheese replacement instead.

How do you cook gluten free pasta?

It’s not difficult to cook gluten free pasta when you know how! Firstly, always get your pan of (salted!) water to a rolling boil before adding the pasta.
This is vital if you don’t want to end up with sludge!
Second, add the pasta once the water is boiling, stir once then try to get it back to the boil as quickly as possible.
Stir it occasionally while it cooks, just to ensure it doesn’t stick together.
Refer to the pack times and as soon as you think it’s had enough time, taste a bit. Gluten free pastas can vary in their cooking times so keep checking it until it’s ready.
Lastly, always drain your gluten free pasta straight away! You can toss it in a little olive oil if it will be sat for a little while to stop it sticking.

Does gluten free pasta taste like normal pasta?

Personally I can’t remember what normal pasta tastes like – it’s been over two decades! My other half always eats gluten free pasta and can’t tell the difference. It’s come a long way as it used to be quite brittle and hard. Gluten free pasta doesn’t do as well when cold but when hot it’s pretty indistinguishable to me.

gluten free pasta bake recipe

This gluten free pasta bake with tomatoes and peppers is such an easy meal and guaranteed to become a family favourite!

It’s a great budget meal and easy to adapt to suit your tastes.

Plus at the time of writing this, gluten free pasta only costs 75p in some supermarkets.

That’s basically the same as normal pasta! So if you’re looking for an easy meal the whole family can eat, this is it.

Plus you can easily make it dairy free and vegan – or likewise add meat to it – so every diner round the table is happy!

This pasta bake recipe makes enough for four people but feel free to size the recipe up or down accordingly.

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gluten free pasta bake recipe
Yield: 4

Gluten Free Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This easy gluten free pasta bake recipe is a perfect budget meal. Gluten free pasta in a rich tomato sauce with peppers, baked with a cheesy topping. Perfect for feeding the whole family!

Ingredients

  • 300g gluten free pasta
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 4 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 x 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 250ml passata
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, (chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g ball light mozzarella (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 220C / 200C Fan / Gas Mark 7.
  2. Thinly slice the peppers. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the peppers and garlic. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, passata, basil leaves, oregano, sugar and salt to the pan and mix well. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Cook the pasta as per the pack instructions (usually about 10 minutes into boiling water) and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, at the same time.
  5. Once cooked, strain the pasta then add to the sauce, stirring well. If your pan is not oven-proof, transfer the pasta to an ovenproof dish.
  6. Cover the top of the pasta with the mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve straight away with some extra fresh basil leaves torn on top.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 298Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 544mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 13g
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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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