This dump and bake meatball casserole is exactly what it sounds like: throw your ingredients into a casserole dish and bake in the oven. That’s it! So simple! Your whole family will love this super easy and healthy dinner recipe!
Why You Need This In Your Dinner Rotation
- It uses simple ingredients that you probably already have stocked. This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights when you have no plan for dinner but you still want something quick, filling and healthy.
- It requires next to zero prep! You literally throw everything in your casserole dish, bake, and walk away. You don’t even need to boil the pasta ahead of time!
- All you need is a large baking dish or casserole dish. There’s no pots, pans or boiling pasta required!
- Pasta, sauce, meatballs, cheese- need I say more? This will quickly become a family favorite!
- It’s a balanced and delicious meal! As a Registered Dietitian, I’m all about serving well-rounded meals that have enough protein, fiber and nutrients to keep you full and satisfied. That means adding veggies to most meals, like broccoli in this meatball bake and opting for whole grains, like whole grain rotini. These easy, healthy additions are absolutely delicious in this recipe.
Whole Grain Rotini
You won’t even notice this whole grain rotini swap, but you will notice that it keeps you a little bit more full than traditional pasta! If you don’t have whole grain on hand or you don’t like it, you can use absolutely any pasta that you do like (any shape, too!).
Frozen Turkey Meatballs
Let’s be honest, sometimes there’s just no time for homemade meatballs. Keep a bag of frozen turkey meatballs in your freezer so that when a busy weeknight hits you, you’ve got them ready to go for this recipe!
I like to grab the bags of pre-washed fresh broccoli to make my life a little easier, and then just give them a rough chop from there. You can use frozen broccoli too, just make sure it’s thawed first.
Jarred Tomato Sauce
Choose a flavorful, yummy sauce that you love! In my opinion one of the best out there is Rao’s Tomato Basil sauce, but you can use any that you like.
You’re gonna top this delicious weeknight dinner with shredded parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese and broil until its nice and bubbly!
How to Make Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
- Add uncooked rotini pasta to a 9×13″ casserole dish or large baking dish.
- Top pasta with defrosted and fully cooked meatballs, chopped broccoli, jar of sauce, and 2 cups water.
- Gently mix (try to keep pasta on the bottom as much as possible).
- Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes (halfway through, mix pasta gently to prevent undercooked pasta).
5. Remove from oven and carefully remove aluminum foil. Top with cheese.
6. Broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!
- Omit meatballs and use a legume-based pasta like chickpea or lentil pasta for a vegetarian version.
- Use any meatballs that you and your family enjoy! Beef, plant-based, or pork meatballs work equally well here.
- Swap broccoli for peppers and onions.
- Use regular white pasta in place of whole wheat pasta if you prefer it.
- Change up the cheese! Top with sharp cheddar or even crumbled feta.
- Make sure your meatballs are completely thawed. If they’re still frozen, your meatballs and pasta may not cook evenly.
- Use a baking dish that’s large enough. A crowded dish will also result in unevenly cooked ingredients.
- Don’t be afraid to add seasonings! It’s still absolutely delicious without and I purposely omitted them to keep this recipe super super simple, but garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning are all delicious additions.
- Store leftovers in a well-sealed container for 4-5 days.
If You Need More Simple Recipes, You’ll Also Love:
- Inside Out Egg Roll (aka Egg Roll in a Bowl!)
- Ground Turkey Alfredo Pasta with Broccoli
- Loaded Bell Pepper Nachos
If you try and love this recipe, be sure to give it a 5-star rating and comment below!
- 1 9×13" Casserole Dish
- 16 oz Whole grain rotini
- 1 lb Turkey meatballs
- 4 cups Broccoli chopped
- 32 oz Tomato sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add uncooked pasta to large casserole dish (9×13").
- Add thawed meatballs, chopped broccoli, and tomato sauce on top of the pasta.
- Add 2 cups of water to the casserole dish.
- Gently mix the meatballs, sauce and broccoli. Try to keep the pasta as close to the bottom of the dish as possible. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, gently stirring halfway through to promote even pasta cooking.
- Remove from oven, carefully remove aluminum foil. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Broil in oven for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with additional cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
- Make sure meatballs are fully thawed before baking or meatballs and pasta may cook unevenly.
- If using frozen broccoli, make sure to thaw or microwave before adding to the bake or it may cook unevenly.
- Ensure your casserole is big enough (at least 9×13″) so that the dish isn’t crowded.