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Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Try this no-fuss recipe for chicken, spinach and mushroom pasta bake with tons of melty cheese. Serves 6 and heats up well.

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Days are shorter and chillier now so casseroles, stews and one-pot meals have made a frequent appearance at my table for obvious reasons. They’re easy to make, they last longer and give me more time to enjoy the dwindling hours of daylight.

This chicken, spinach and mushroom pasta bake is really perfect for days like these. It has six servings so for the two of us, that means lots of leftovers. But just because it’s a casserole for a lazy day, it doesn’t mean it skimps on yummy goodness. Au contraire, it has a lot of yummy goodness! I really love the combination of spinach, mushrooms and cheese in this and the crusty broiled cheese on top. So let’s start cooking!

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Let’s take a moment to drool over all that cheese.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

CHICKEN, SPINACH AND MUSHROOM PASTA BAKE RECIPE TIPS

Okay, let’s talk cooking method. With a previous unsatisfactory attempt at baked ziti (2015 update: finally got made a good one!), I’ve come to realize that pasta used in casseroles should be cooked to the point where it’s just before al dente, or it’ll end up a soggy mess.

This worked for me: If the instructions call for 12 minutes for rigatoni to al dente, cook it for 10 minutes instead. Then drain and rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process. It’ll finish getting to al dente in the oven.  Since everything is already cooked, you won’t have to bake the casserole too long. Just enough to melt the cheese. You can also broil it for a few minutes to get the golden-brown crust. I went with that of course. I’m sure you didn’t miss the golden layer of cheese. It’s hard to miss!

Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

The important thing about casseroles with pasta in them is to reach a good balance of moisture so it isn’t too dry but isn’t soggy either. There are three culprits here that can add too much moisture if not taken care of properly: the spinach, the mushrooms and the tomatoes.

So drain the spinach of water as best as you can and cook the chicken and mushroom mixture until all the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. The moisture needed for the entire dish can be borrowed from the liquid of the canned tomatoes. If there’s too much moisture it’ll be a soggy mess. So rely on those tomatoes and they should see you through!

And that’s it! Happy cooking and enjoy digging in 🙂

MORE PASTA BAKES TO TRY

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Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake

Chicken, Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x

Description

Try this no-fuss recipe for chicken, spinach and mushroom pasta bake with tons of melty cheese. Serves 6 and heats up well.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8 oz. rigatoni
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) chive and onion cream cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the rigatoni until just before al dente.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until fragrant.
  3. Add chicken and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning and toss to combine.
  5. Add mushrooms and simmer until the mushrooms cook down and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, chicken mixture, tomatoes with their liquid, spinach, cream cheese and sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake uncovered at 375°F for 15 minutes until cheese melts and is bubbly.
  10. Broil for 2-3 minutes to get a golden crust.
  11. Dish and serve hot.
  12. Enjoy!

Notes

To substitute fresh spinach for frozen, cook it down with the mushrooms until all liquid has evaporated.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
Chicken Spinach and Mushroom Pasta Bake
Slow cooker creamy tortellini soup in a white bowl.

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55 Comments

  • Reply
    Shirley
    August 24, 2020 at 7:19 PM

    I have to say, this casserole was one of THE bests I’ve had in a long time. My significant other had two helpings which is a rarity for him. I used fresh spinach which was one of the highlights of the dish, YUM!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 27, 2020 at 10:33 AM

      I’m so happy you both liked it, Shirley! Also, it’s not everyday someone loves the spinach in a casserole, usually it’s the meat they rave over 😉

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    August 6, 2020 at 2:39 PM

    Followed the recipe but still ended up with a soggy and bland bake. I would definitely change it to add drained tomatoes, definitely no extra fluid needed.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      August 27, 2020 at 10:32 AM

      Sorry this wasn’t to your taste but thank you for trying it!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    April 6, 2020 at 4:00 PM

    I haven’t made it yet but it looks and sounds amazing. I do not have cream cheese, will it be ok without it?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      April 13, 2020 at 10:41 AM

      Hmm, I’m not sure it will since the cream cheese is the ‘sauce’ or binder for all the ingredients. A pasta recipe usually has several components; pasta, protein, veggies and sauce. You could try Alfredo sauce instead though.

  • Reply
    jamie beighton
    September 27, 2018 at 6:25 PM

    I’ve made this before and it’s wonderful! I am making now for a friend who had a baby. Can i prep it all together the night before and then bake the next day? Or should I bake it right away and have them heat it up in the oven the next day…????
    Thanks!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 27, 2018 at 8:43 PM

      I always like things fresh because cheese is so much better when it’s fresh and stringy and melty. So I would try making it the night before then baking the next day. Just check the baking times, it might need it a little longer since it sat in the fridge overnight.

  • Reply
    Betty
    January 14, 2018 at 8:00 PM

    This was amazing! I used fresh tomatoes and spinach instead. Neufchatel cheese, added crushed red pepper, lemon pepper, broccoli. Mmm mmm that was just so good. I was just trying to get rid of a bit of leftover chicken!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 29, 2018 at 6:32 PM

      Congrats on making me Google what Neufchatel cheese is. I looooove cheese and this sounds amazing, made my mouth water. I love the addition of lemon pepper to this flavor profile too!

  • Reply
    Dawn
    July 19, 2017 at 2:04 PM

    can you use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for this recipe?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      July 19, 2017 at 2:25 PM

      Sure you can, just as long as it’s boneless and skinless. Cube it like you would a chicken breast and you’re good to go! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Claire
    November 24, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    Would this still taste good with a lb of ground sausage instead of chicken?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 28, 2016 at 9:50 AM

      I think it would. I just did a quick check of the ingredients and I don’t see any compatibility problems! The rest will just depend on your personal taste!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    November 8, 2016 at 6:19 PM

    Hi! I am throwing a simple baby shower for my sister, and I think this recipe would be perfect to serve to guests. Can this recipe be prepped a day or two in advance? Any tips would be appreciated- looking to not have to make it the day of the shower. Thank you!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      November 10, 2016 at 2:04 PM

      I would advise against prepping the whole thing and letting it sit for a day or two…the pasta could get soggy sitting in the juices! I wouldn’t want to ruin your baby shower! What you could do is cook the pasta in advance and once you’ve drained it, add a little olive oil and mix it up so it doesn’t stick together when you refrigerate it. Then you can prep the chicken and mushroom mixture in advance and then heat it up the day of. These are the things that can be prepped in advance. Then it’s just simply throwing in all the other ingredients together and baking it the night before or the day of. Good luck, Amanda!

  • Reply
    diem
    October 11, 2016 at 3:37 PM

    Hi. I just discovered your website and really want to try to make this recipe. ? for you though. Why sugar?

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      October 26, 2016 at 3:38 PM

      Hi Diem! I added sugar just to balance out the taste a little. You can leave it out, if you prefer. Have fun cooking!

  • Reply
    Summer
    September 15, 2016 at 2:35 AM

    Delicious recipe! I also used fresh spinach and sauteed it with the mushrooms. I did not have Italian seasoning, so substituted with oregano and basil. It turned out super yummy and my family gobbled it up. Thank you!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 19, 2016 at 2:34 PM

      I’ve gone ahead and added a note on how to substitute with fresh spinach since a lot of folks have tried it. Thanks for giving me the idea! Oregano and basil works just fine, it’s part of the makeup of Italian seasoning anyway! Glad to hear you guys enjoyed it, Summer.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    June 20, 2016 at 9:16 AM

    Hi,

    Can I substitude the chives and onion cream cheese?

    And if yes, what shall I make instead?

    Because I don’t like it..

    Thanks 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      June 23, 2016 at 2:23 PM

      Hi Rebecca! You could just leave it out or maybe try subbing some ricotta if you prefer that. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Angi Polando
    May 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM

    We Love this recipe. although I usually add the cream cheese and spinach to the pan with the chicken to incorporate it easier and we added a jar of marinated artichokes. YUM!!!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      May 23, 2016 at 4:01 PM

      That’ll work too! I’m happy you guys liked this. And wherever there’s spinach, artichokes can be snuck in as well. 🙂

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