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Simple Pasta Bake

Claire Wright

In season now


Meat/veggie alternative, if using*

Pasta (about 50g dried per person)

Jar of sauce (usually tomato)

Grated cheese (a small handful per person)


Not made a pasta bake before, or not ready to try the next steps? Start here!


  1. Preheat oven to 190C/gas 5.

  2. Cook the meat/veggie alternative (if using) according to pack instructions (usually just a case of frying in a little oil until browned and cooked all the way through).

  3. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but for 1-2 mins less (usually just boiling for 8 mins or so) then drain.

  4. Add pasta to a casserole dish along with the meat (if using) and sauce, stir well and top with some grated cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins, until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling.

*You don’t need to add meat/fish or a veggie alternative to a pasta bake, but if you want to, you can use most here – perhaps try starting with chicken breast pieces, a few sausages chopped into bite-size pieces, a tin of tuna or sardines, or some beef or veggie mince

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step, but if you want to add some veg straightaway, see our tips below for ideas of where to start.

Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.



While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.



Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.



The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

Claire Wright

Editor: After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English Literature, Claire worked in various fields ranging from youth work and charities to publishing, before starting up a food-focused website when her first child was born. After being asked to project manage the publication of Veg Power's Crowdfunder book, Claire came on board as a fully-fledged team member in 2018 to take on the role of Communications Manager, then Editor, looking after Veg Power's website, content, recipes and social media platforms.

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