Healthier Baked Penne

This healthier baked penne recipe has it all.  First and most importantly, it is delicious.  Second, it is healthy – or at least healthier than its traditional counterpart.  Third, it is kid friendly.  And last, but certainly not least, it is easy and fairly quick.  I had it on the table in just over an hour.  Ok, I was in a huge hurry, so if I went at my normal leisurely pace, it might have taken an extra fifteen minutes or so.


Healthier Baked Penne Recipe


This started out as trying to make baked ziti a little healthier, but the grocery store didn’t have any whole grain ziti.  They did have penne though, and there isn’t much difference, so penne is what I used.  Then, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef or sausage and low-fat ricotta and mozzarella.  



Healthier Baked Penne

  • Author: Michelle @ From Calculus to Cupcakes
  • Total Time: 75


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 2 28 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder (Or, use real onion. I just am not fond of onion.)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 15oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 5 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • 1 lb. whole grain penne pasta


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown turkey in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain.
  3. In a large pot, stir together tomato sauce, garlic, onion powder, oregano, basil, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer while you prepare the penne.
  4. Cook penne according to package directions, drain, and rinse in cool water.
  5. While penne is cooking, stir together ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
  6. Stir penne into the cheese mixture.
  7. In a deep 9″x13″ baking dish, ladle just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.
  8. top with half of the penne mixture and then half of the sauce. Repeat with remaining penne and sauce.
  9. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
  10. Bake until bubbly and some of the cheese on top is just beginning to brown (20 to 30 minutes).


  • Serving Size: 12
  • Calories: 492
  • Sugar: 7
  • Sodium: 494
  • Fat: 21
  • Saturated Fat: 11
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 40
  • Protein: 35
  • Cholesterol: 95
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