This protein pasta is a delicious and healthy recipe that packs in over 35 grams of protein per serving! Cozy, comforting, and made in just ONE dish, it comes together in minutes!
If you’ve walked the pasta section of the grocery store recently, you’ll notice things look a little different. Gone are the days of just stock standard pasta offerings and now are plenty of varieties and options. From pasta made with legumes, pasta made with eggs, and pastas made without carbs.
Recently, though, shelves have been stocking pasta that have added protein to them.
Does pasta have protein?
Traditional wheat based pasta (made from durum wheat or a combination of durum wheat and eggs) does not contain very much protein in them. Per 1/2 cup serving, there is just 3 grams of protein. The new protein packed pastas have between 10-23 grams of protein per serving, and they taste just like normal pasta!
Now, this protein pasta recipe actually has even MORE protein added in it. Besides the protein from the pasta included, there is protein in the meat sauce, the cheese sauce, and the cheese on top. The combination of Greek Yogurt and cottage alone adds almost 30 grams of protein in it.
This dish is satisfying, creamy, cheesy, all balanced out will al dente pasta throughout. Layers of pasta, meat sauce, and a cheese sauce, all covered in melted cheese. It’s healthy and delicious, and each serving packs in over 40 grams of protein.
What I love about this recipe is that it completely dispels all the myths that pasta is nothing but a carb heavy dish. This proves that you can have pasta and have your protein too, and not only that- it tastes delicious too.
How do you make protein pasta?
- Protein pasta– Any high protein pasta can be used, including penne, rigatoni, and elbows. I prefer using penne, as it holds the flavors better.
- Olive oil– To saute the meat sauce.
- Onion and garlic– Key ingredients in any good pasta sauce!
- Lean ground beef– Adds the most amount of protein and the least amount of fat.
- Marinara or pasta sauce– Skip the expensive and sugar laden grocery store brands and make your own!
- Italian seasonings– What is a pasta or pizza without Italian seasonings?
- Eggs– Room temperature eggs.
- Fresh parsley– Adds some green to the filling.
- Greek yogurt– Adds creaminess and thickness to the cheesy layer, while providing 14 grams of protein.
- Cottage cheese– Non fat and smooth cottage cheese (unless you prefer a chunkier sauce!). This adds an extra 25 grams of protein.
- Parmesan cheese– Freshly grated, not the shelf stable kind!
- Mozzarella cheese– To cover the top of the pasta.
Start by cooking the protein pasta as per the boxed instructions and drain it once al dente. While it is cooking, prepare the meat sauce. In a non-stick pan, add the oil and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and onion and cook until fragrant. Add the lean ground beef, break it apart using a wooden spoon, and cook it until it is no longer pink. Add the marinara sauce and Italian seasonings and let everything simmer for several minutes.
Next, prepare the cheese filling. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, parsley, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and parmesan cheese. If desired, add some extra Italian seasonings.
Now, assemble the dish. Add a thin layer of the meat sauce to the base of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then, add half the cooked pasta, followed by half the cheese filling, then sprinkle half the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat the process, then sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
Finally, bake everything for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the edges are turning golden brown.
Protein pasta brands
There are several popular brands of protein pasta, and their protein content range between 10 grams per serving to 23 grams per serving. Here are my favorite options-
- Barilla Protein plus pasta– Comes in a variety of shapes, including penne, elbow, farfalle, and rotini. Each serving provides 10 grams of protein.
- Banza protein pasta– Made from chickpea flour, this brand packs in 23 grams of protein per serving.
- Modern table pasta– Made from lentils, each serving provides 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Storing, freezing, and reheating tips
- To store: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: Place the cooled protein pasta in an airtight container (or individual containers) and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Microwave the pasta for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a preheated oven until warm.
More high protein recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
This dish is a fantastic lunch or dinner option, as it is a good mix of protein, healthy fats, and slow releasing carbs. It will keep you energised and satisfied for several hours, so you won’t be reaching for a snack soon after eating it!
This protein pasta recipe is a good meal for any weight loss plan. The added protein and fiber will keep you fuller for longer, especially when compared to traditional pasta. However, just because it has added protein does not mean we should eat it in excess.
As this recipe shows, it is very easy to add extra protein on top of the pasta. This includes protein from the meat sauce (12 grams), the Greek yogurt (15 grams), the cottage cheese (20 grams) and the mozzarella cheese (8 grams).
- 14.5 oz protein pasta uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 24 oz marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt plain and non fat
- 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 lb cottage cheese
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set aside.
- Cook the pasta as per package instructions. Once cooked, drain it and set aside.
- In a medium pan, add the olive oil and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the lean ground beef and break apart and cook until no longer pink. Add the marinara sauce and Italian seasonings and and cook until the sauce is warm. Remove from the heat.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, fresh parsley, Greek yogurt, parmesan cheese and cottage cheese.
- Add a thin layer of the meat sauce onto the base of the baking dish then add half the cooked pasta, then half the cottage cheese mixture, then a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Add the remaining half of the cooked pasta, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mix. Pour the remaining meat sauce all over the top, then the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Bake everything for 35-45 minutes, until the cheese has melted and golden brown in spots. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley and slice and serve.