Cheesy Chicken & Peppers Pasta Casserole Recipe With a Protein-Rich Secret Ingredient by Elisa Schmitz

Cheesy Chicken & Peppers Pasta Casserole Recipe With a Protein-Rich Secret Ingredient

Is there anything more satisfying for dinner than a cheesy casserole right out of the oven? There's just something about a comforting casserole that warms us from the inside out. Inspired by this easy chicken and tomato casserole recipe, this cheesy chicken and peppers pasta casserole recipe is pure comfort food.

But this easy casserole recipe goes beyond comfort by adding plenty of nutrition, too. Onions, peppers and tomatoes join the chicken along with an unexpected ingredient to boost nutrition. What is the secret ingredient? Cottage cheese. Seriously!

Even though you can't taste it because it takes on the other flavors in this dish, cottage cheese adds protein and calcium, along with the other health benefits of cottage cheese. There's also Parmesan cheese to add flavor and a golden topping. This is a great meal-planning recipe that freezes well, too.

Here's your simple shopping list for this Italian-inspired pasta casserole recipe: short pasta (I used rotini), olive oil, onion, garlic, bell peppers, ground chicken, marinara sauce, cottage cheese, diced tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and oregano. Everything is mixed together, placed in a casserole dish then baked until golden.

Serve this cheesy casserole on its own, or with a salad or your favorite vegetable side dish. So easy and delicious!

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Cuisine: American / Italian 
Prep Time: 10 minutes 
Cook Time: 30 minutes 
Total Time: 40 minutes 
Servings: 10


  • 16 ounces pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce (I used Rao's brand)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

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Recipe Notes

  • I used gluten-free rotini pasta, but you can use any smaller type of pasta (regular or gluten-free).
  • Feel free to add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes if you like more heat.
  • I used yellow and green bell peppers, but you can use any color of bell peppers in this recipe.
  • I used ground chicken, but you could use ground turkey or even ground beef, if desired.
  • Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
  • Make ahead if you are meal planning, and refrigerate for up to four days.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave.

Here's how to make it:

  1. In a large pasta pot, cook the pasta to al dente. When pasta is finished cooking, drain the water and set pasta aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, add the oil, onion, garlic and peppers to another large cooking pot. Over medium heat, stir to combine.
  3. Add the ground chicken and oregano and stir to combine all ingredients. Sauté over medium heat until chicken is cooked through and onions are soft.
  4. Add the marinara sauce and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  5. Add the pasta and mix until incorporated.
  6. Add the cottage cheese and stir until incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  7. Pour the pasta and chicken mixture into a 13x9-inch casserole dish that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  8. Top with the Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place baking dish in a preheated 375-degree F oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until it's hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 554

Total Fat: 20.7g

Saturated Fat: 8.6g

Cholesterol: 44mg

Sodium: 1460mg

Total Carbohydrate: 68.5g

Dietary Fiber: 13.9g

Total Sugars: 28g

Protein: 28.9g

Vitamin D: 0mcg

Calcium: 656mg

Iron: 8mg

Potassium: 1504mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
Mmm, this is one of those recipes that I will be making again and again. Love stocking some away in the freezer, too!

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