What is Air Fryer Pasta Bake?
This baked pasta is reminiscent of old-fashioned baked spaghetti. My version drastically cuts the hour plus cooking time of the traditional version to a mere 16 minutes with the help of the air fryer. The dish is also a bit healthier by using cottage cheese and laughing cow wedges instead of heavier ricottas or cups of extra shredded cheese.
Can Air Fryer Pasta Bake be made Vegetarian?
Absolutely! Substituting your favorite meat alternative (such as Morningstar Crumbles). That is the only swap you will need and you will have a completely vegetarian-friendly dish that is perfect for make ahead.
What are the ingredients for Air Fryer Pasta Bake?
This dish uses common ingredients that are easy to find. Here is the simple list along with easy alternatives if you do happen to have trouble finding any of the things you will need:
- Dry spaghetti noodles. I used regular pasta; however, you could substitute wheat noodles if you prefer.
- Laughing cow cheese wedges. I used pepper jack by any flavor you like would work fine. If you can’t find these, you could substitute neufchatel or your other favorite light cream cheese.
- Cottage cheese. I used 2%, but again, any type you like will work fine.
- Lean beef or meat alternative.
- Grated parmesan cheese (this is the kind that comes crumbled in a, typically, green can).
- Mozzarella cheese. Italian would work just fine.
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic powder (you could substitute a minced clove of garlic if you prefer)
- Tomato sauce
- Crushed tomatoes
- Dried basil and oregano
How to make Air Fryer Pasta Bake?
This is one of those meals that is tough to mess up. Here are the simple steps:
- Prep your pie pan.
- Combine your cooked noodles with the laughing cow wedges, the cottage cheese, the parmesan and some of the mozzarella.
- Make the sauce by browning the beef (or meat alternative), adding the seasonings and the tomatoes and bringing to a simmer.
- Mix together the noodles with some of the sauce. Add to the prepared pie pan and top with a bit more of the sauce and the additional mozzarella cheese.
- Air Fry your pasta and you are DONE!
Can I make Air Fryer Pasta bake in advance or store leftovers?
Yes, to both!
To make the pasta dish in advance, you have two options:
- Make the dish to the point of baking and stop. You can then save the dish to bake later that day.
- Otherwise, you can fully air fry the dish and save to serve later.
To store leftovers:
- Wrap air-tight (either the entire dish, if you are planning dinner in advance, gifting to a neighbor, etc. -or- individual slices to use for meal prep for lunches, etc).
What should I serve with Air Fryer Pasta Bake?
- This Spicy Cheese Bread is a delicious blend of fresh jalapenos and extra sharp cheese all together in a fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside loaf that could not be easier.
- What do kids love more than spaghetti? Breadsticks! These Copycat Little Caesars Cheesy Breadsticks are a delicious duplicate recipe you can make at home.
- You already love your air fryer so why not put it on double duty? These Air Fryer Garlic Knots are beyond simple to make at home and will pair perfectly with this baked pasta dish.
- Want to pair you pasta with some veggies but tired of the traditional side salad? These Lemon Roasted Mixed Vegetables are a perfect, fresh take on traditional roasted vegetables that serve, and store well, just like this baked pasta.
Air Fryer Pasta Bake
- 10 ounces dry spaghetti broken in half
- 4, .75 oz wedges laughing cow cheese
- ⅓ cup cottage cheese
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- ¾ 1 b lean beef or meat alternative
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 15 oz crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon basil
- Spray a pie pan with olive oil spray and set aside.
- Cook the noodle according to directions. Drain. While hot, add the cubed laughing cow cheese, the cottage cheese, the parmesan cheese and ¼ cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir well and set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, begin on the sauce. Add the beef and onion to a small skillet and cook until browned. Add the seasonings and stir for one minute. Stir in the tomato sauce and the crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and lower heat to low for about 10 minutes.
- Stir two cups of the sauce into the prepared noodles. Set aside the remaining sauce.
- Press the spaghetti mixture into the prepared pie dish and flatten with a spatula.
- Spread some of the remaining sauce atop the pasta in the dish. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Pre-heat the air fryer to 350 degrees. Once heated, cook for 16 minutes.
- Allow to sit 5-10 minutes before attempting to slice.
- Serve warm with any remaining sauce on the side, if desired.