Do you ever have those times where you have all the ingredients for a new recipe, and then after a long day you don’t feel like putting in the effort? 

This dish was born that way. 

Zucchini Pasta Bake 1

I had planned to make a roasted-vegetable baked-polenta dish last week, but after a busy week of work and client meetings and an hour-long sweaty gym sesh, all I wanted to do was throw dinner together quickly so I could shower and lay on the couch and watch TV. 

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from the gym and picked up a box of rigatoni and a jar of four-cheese marinara sauce. I took the vegetables that the recipe called for that I had already bought (zucchini, yellow squash and spinach), stir fried them in some olive oil and butter, and combined them with the pasta and sauce. Topped it with spicy adobo pepper jack cheese and baked in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese melted! 

Much better than making creamy polenta from scratch. Not that there’s anything wrong with creamy polenta, but sometimes you’re just dang tired and need something easy. 

Zucchini Pasta Bake 3

Have you guys ever created a delicious recipe out of laziness? Tell me I’m not the only one! :)

Here’s the recipe: 

30-Minute Cheesy Zucchini Rigatoni Bake
Serves 8
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 2 zucchini, diced
  2. 1 yellow squash, diced
  3. 10-oz fresh spinach
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 Tbsp butter
  6. 1 box rigatoni pasta
  7. 1 jar four-cheese pasta sauce
  8. 8oz shredded spicy pepper jack cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to a large bowl.
  3. In a large pan, stir fry the zucchini and squash in the olive oil and butter until golden. Add to the bowl.
  4. Add the spinach to the pan and gently stir until wilted. Add to the bowl.
  5. Mix the pasta sauce into the bowl and stir well.
  6. Pour into a 9x13 dish and top with the cheese.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Zen & Spice


  1. Mmm, I love this kind of thing! Most of my favorite recipes are fairly simple to put together. The big winner is Honey Baked Lentils, which takes 10 minutes or less to put together from shelf-stable ingredients, and then you just stick it in the oven and go do something else for an hour, and it makes a hearty main dish with leftovers!

    1. Ohhh I’m totally going to check those lentils out! I’ve been looking for more ways to incorporate them into my meals. Thanks!

  2. ooh easy and yummy the best combo! Thanks so much for linking up with us for Meatless Monday. It would be great if you could also add a link back to our blogs or our MM button. Thanks hope to see you again!

    1. Oops I totally forgot!! I need to add that to my to-do list every time I post a MM recipe!

  3. This looks tasty! So simple and packed with veggies. Love it!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth!

  4. Haha…I am totally with you! Sometimes that’s how the best recipes come about. This looks delish and like the most comforting thing to eat at the end of a long week!

    1. Yep it was and it totally lasted almost 4 days!

  5. This is one impressive quick meal – usually my throw together pastas don’t have enough veggies by any means! Great reminder that it’s easy to veg up some yummy noodles.

    1. Thanks, Marisa! Zucchini tastes awesome with tomato sauce and cheese. A great way to sneak in those veggies! :)

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