Meatball pepperoni pizza pasta combines your favorite pizza toppings, homemade tomato sauce, and whole grain pasta to make a delicious, healthier pasta dinner.
Usually I start these posts off with a little banter, but not today, my friends. Feel free to drool over the photo for a moment, and then dive into the kitchen to cook up some of this meatball pepperoni pizza pasta.
Take a look at what’s stuffed into this easy-to-make, kid friendly casserole:
I could easily have gone overboard with the fat and calories in this recipe, but fear of Trainer Joe is keeping me in line. 200 extra squats is a likely penalty if I try to pull that trick.
How can I make this pizza pasta recipe healthier?
So, there are a few healthy fixes in this meatball pepperoni pizza pasta recipe:
- Substitute ground turkey for ground beef in the meatballs.
- Use a little less cheese than normal, and make it low fat cheese if possible.
- Use organic, whole grain pasta instead of traditional semolina pasta.
- Sub out the pizza sauce for this slow cooker spaghetti sauce, which has no added sugar!
The inspiration for this recipe came from my dear friend, Nettie. Just yesterday morning, she posted her recipe for Pizza Pasta Bake. I have recipes come into my email that grab my attention enough that I make them within a week, but this was different. This was my first time seeing a recipe and wanting it in my belly as soon as possible. As in immediately.
I was so happy, realizing that all of the ingredients to make the pizza pasta were already in my kitchen!
Ground turkey in the fridge to make turkey burgers for dinner became ground turkey for the meatballs instead. An awesome decision on my part, if I do say so myself. YAY ME!
I think my very favorite part of this dish is Nettie’s vegetable tomato sauce. It’s not a traditional pasta sauce at all. It has freshly chopped veggies like carrots, celery, and onion, blended with some stewed tomatoes. It’s vegetarian, gluten free, and without a doubt, a tomato sauce recipe that I’ll make often.
Please give this meatball pepperoni pizza pasta recipe a try.
Meatball Pepperoni Pizza Pasta
- 1 lb penne or large shell pasta (I used organic whole grain penne)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 celery stalks finely chopped
- 3 carrots finely chopped
- 15 ounces whole peeled stewed, or diced tomatoes
- 8 slices part skim Mozzarella cheese or 1.5 cups shredded.
- 15 homemade or frozen ground turkey meatballs cooked
- 15 slices pepperoni
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) to help cut the acidity of the tomatoes
- Heat oven to 350
- Lightly great a 9 x 13″ casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Bring water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add pasta to boiling water and cook about 3 minutes less than package directions indicate. As pasta cooks, prepare the sauce.
- Without preheating the pan, put olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, and all herbs and spices into a large saucepan over medium heat; cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Drain the pasta and transfer into the prepared casserole dish. Add the cooked vegetable tomato sauce.
- Stir to combine pasta and sauce, then place meatballs evenly across the pasta. Place one slice of pepperoni on top of each meatball, and cover everything with cheese..
- Bake uncovered in oven for about 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!