Baked Spaghetti

4.95 from 19 votes

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This Baked Spaghetti is a higher protein, lower fat version of Million Dollar Spaghetti that still tastes amazing and will fill that pasta craving while keeping your eating habits on track. Or if you just want traditional Spaghetti, I have a recipe for that too!

baked spaghetti sliced in a baking dish

Baked Spaghetti | Million Dollar Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti, or sometimes referred to as Million Dollar Spaghetti, is a huge spaghetti casserole that is covered with sauce, cheese, and butter (!!!) and baked until hot and bubbly. It is pretty phenomenal, but since we’re all looking to be a bit healthier in the new year, I thought I’d create a lighter version with more protein and much less fat. Carbs, yes, but much more figure-friendly than the original.

If you love baked pasta dishes try these other recipes out: Classic Baked Ziti, Baked Rigatoni Pasta, The Best Lasagna Recipe, and Baked Ravioli with Brown Butter Alfredo.

Main Ingredients Needed

This ingredients might be long but it’s actually quite simple! Don’t be intimidated, here’s everything you’ll need to make Baked Spaghetti:

  • Protein Plus Spaghetti Pasta – this pasta is a spaghetti high in protein and fiber. You can replace this with regular spaghetti pasta if desired.
  • Parmesan Cheese – to be melted on top! Use the real stuff people, it makes a difference.
  • Parsley Flakes – used as a garnish and is optional.

For the Red Sauce

Of course, if you have a better tomato sauce you’d prefer than this one I used, feel free to use that instead. This or this are great options. Also, just using straight-up jarred marinara with a few veggies would work too. You do you, buttercup 🙂

  • Olive Oil – used to cook the onion and mushrooms.
  • Yellow Onion + Button Mushrooms – cooked together for maximum flavor!
  • Ground Beef (95% lean) – you could also use ground turkey if that is a healthier option for you.
  • Garlic – for flavor.
  • Basil, Oregano, Italian Seasoning, Bay Leaves, Salt + Pepper – all of the seasonings that elevate this sauce to the next level.
  • Marinara Sauce + Water – I used Rao’s brand of marinara sauce which I think is definitely worth the price. And some water to thin it out.

For the Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)

  • Butter + Flour – to make a roux which is the base of this sauce.
  • Milk (Low Fat) – added to then make a bechamel sauce. Be sure to turn the heat to low before adding the milk so it doesn’t curdle or separate.
  • Salt + Pepper – season to taste.
  • Nutmeg – for a bit of nuttiness.
spreading red sauce over cooked spaghetti in a glass baking dish

How to Make Baked Spaghetti

For full details on how to make baked spaghetti see the recipe card down below 🙂

Make the Sauce

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep pot. Saute onion and mushroom until tender, about 6 minutes. Add in ground beef and break apart as it browns. Stir in minced garlic and seasonings. Pour in sauce and water. Stir, cover, bring to boil then reduce to simmer, and cook 30 minutes to 1 hour, adding in a little water if the sauce gets too thick.

Cook Pasta

Cook the pasta according to pasta directions in salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.

Make the Bechamel Sauce

Melt butter over medium heat in a small pot. Sprinkle flour over top and whisk to create a paste. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly in three parts, allowing the sauce to thicken and bubble before adding in each additional splash. Stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Assemble + Bake

Pour cooked spaghetti into a lightly greased 9×13 glass baking dish. Top with pasta sauce evenly. Drizzle bechamel sauce overtop the red sauce and any pasta noodles that didn’t get covered. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until hot and bubbly.

Serve

Cut into 12 squared and serve hot.

scooping a slice of baked spaghetti out of a glass baking dish

Storing Instructions

Baked Spaghetti can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days, stored in an airtight container, of course. Which makes this a great make-ahead meal to enjoy for lunch for a couple of days.

Freezing Baked Spaghetti

Alternatively, you can freeze this dish for up to 3 months!

I’d recommend storing it in an aluminum baking dish to make things easier. Then to reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight, then either nuke it in the microwave or bake until heated through.

slice of baked spaghetti on a white plate

More Spaghetti Recipes to Try!

Printable recipe card below!

Enjoy!! xoxo

4.95 from 19 votes

Baked Spaghetti

This Baked Spaghetti recipe is a higher protein, lower fat version of the original Million Dollar Spaghetti that still tastes amazing and will fill that pasta craving while keeping your eating habits on track.
servings 12 servings
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins

Ingredients

For the Sauce–

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef 95% lean
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 32 oz marinara sauce I used Rao’s brand
  • 1 cup water

For the Bechamel White Sauce–

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 14.5 oz Protein Plus Spaghetti Pasta I used Barilla brand
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • dried parsley flakes for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep pot. Saute onion and mushroom until tender, about 6 minutes. Add in ground beef and break apart as it browns. Stir in minced garlic and seasonings.
    ground beef and other ingredients in a red cooking pot
  • Pour in sauce and water. Stir, cover, bring to boil then reduce to simmer, and cook 30 minutes to 1 hour, adding in a little water if the sauce gets too thick.
    adding marinara sauce to the ground beef in the red cooking pot
  • Cook pasta according to pasta directions in salted boiling water. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium heat in a small pot. Sprinkle flour over top and whisk to create a paste. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk slowly in three parts, allowing the sauce to thicken and bubble before adding in each additional splash. Stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
    Bechamel sauce in a cooking pot with a spoon scooping some of the sauce out
  • Pour cooked spaghetti into a lightly greased 9×13 glass baking dish. Top with pasta sauce evenly. Drizzle bechamel sauce over top the red sauce and any pasta noodles that didn't get covered. Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
    spreading red sauce over cooked spaghetti in a glass baking dish
  • Cut into 12 squared and serve hot.
    scooping a slice of baked spaghetti out of a glass baking dish

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 507mg | Potassium: 574mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 419IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: baked spaghetti

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Recipe Rating




34 Responses
  1. Michele {Delish Dishes From Michele}

    5 stars
    It’s awesome how quickly you put this recipe up! I was drooling over your Instagram stories lol. Carbs might be evil, but let’s be real, I still love them!!! I also love seeing a recipe that incorporates healthy ingredients but is realistic in what I really WANT to eat. It’s honestly refreshing not to see a salad recipe in January 😳😂 Thanks so much for the recipe! And stay safe and warm during that blizzard! Kind of wish Kentucky was getting some lol.

  2. Analida's Ethnic Spoon

    5 stars
    MMMMMmmmm! I’m drooling at this easy peasy crowd pleaser. Not only is this hitting the spot for winter, it’s healthy! Cannot wait to give this one a try.

    1. Shannon

      4 stars
      Yes you could

      If you need to make it dairy free you could use almond milk in place of milk and Daiya or Follow Your Heart “cheese” as well. This is how I made it since I have a dairy intolerance. It was delicious. I still was able to do the butter, lucky for me butter seems to be OK.

  3. Sheenam

    Really enjoyed watching your instagram stories and what a great time table you made for them :)) this spaghetti dish looks amazing!!

  4. Pat

    Was wondering about dinner tonight….. problem solved. Thank you….and praying for warmth and safety for all in the east that are in this blizzard.

  5. Dianne

    5 stars
    This was really good! My husband who really doesn’t like spaghetti, loved this! It made enough to feed an army, which was great because we had leftovers! The protein pasta was surprisingly good, too!

  6. Terri Rubenstein

    5 stars
    I was planning to make baked spaghetti for a family get-together this weekend so I am very excited to try your lighter version! Thank you!

  7. Jennifer Riggs

    We recently had a death in the family, so comfort food is of paramount importance. This looks as though it would fit the bill quite nicely.

  8. Healthy Recipes : Skinny Baked Spaghetti is a higher protein, lower fat version of the original Mi... - Fitness Magazine | Magazine numéro 1 fitness, mode de vie, santé, bien-être, workouts

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  9. Valerie Maples

    I wonder if you could try making a version with one of the vegetable pastas, like spaghetti squash or one of the other possible frozen alternatives. It would be a great recipe for diabetics!

  10. Lesley Stroud Jacksch

    5 stars
    What an amazing recipe. Thank you so much for it. Will be definitely be making it. My sons are going to love it!!!

  11. Greg Henson

    5 stars
    This is one of the best recipes I have tried from Lauren. I’m not a great cook and really just started cooking since retirement. So this recipe was a little intense for me. Saying that, my wife was still bragging about how good it was the next morning. Thanks Lauren for all the recipes you post.

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