healthy Baked Feta Pasta Recipe
After scrolling past TikTok’s famous new viral recipe for baked feta pasta about a million times online this past week, Barclay and I finally caved and brought home a package of feta to give it a try. And we both had to agree…
…this baked feta pasta is legit awesome. ♡
Somewhat similar to how I melt down a ball of burrata to make the sauce for this cheesy pasta recipe, the uunifetapasta trend — started by Finnish blogger Liemessa — simply bakes a block of feta until it is hot and melty to form the irresistibly creamy, cheesy, tangy base for this pasta sauce. Then once combined with a pan full of burst baked cherry tomatoes, chewy al dente pasta, lots of fresh basil and garlic, and a few simple seasonings, well, there’s a reason why the entire world seems to be losing their minds over this feta pasta recipe. It really is comfort food at its best!
That said, after initially trying out the original uunifetapasta recipe, there were a few small tweaks that we ended up making and loving in our home that I thought I’d share today with any of you who might be interested. First of all, both my husband and I agreed that the sauce could use way more tomatoes and fresh basil, so we more than doubled the quantities of both which added lots of extra fresh flavor (and also made the dish more saucy, yum). I also added in a generous splash of white wine which I love in a good tomato basil sauce, but it’s totally optional if you prefer not to cook with wine. I also wilted a bunch of fresh spinach into the pasta, and would love to add in some extra veggies (such as broccoli, asparagus or mushrooms) next time too. And finally, my husband and I both agreed that a generous sprinkling of salty, umami, aged Parmesan atop each serving really helped to balance out the fresh, creamy, tangy flavors of the feta, so I highly recommend using both cheeses here.
As always, feel free to also add in any meat, seafood, or other kinds of protein that you might like with this pasta. And of course, if you would like to make it gluten-free, just cook up your favorite kind of gf pasta and you should be good to go.
Arguably the best thing about this baked feta pasta recipe is that it only requires a few quick minutes of hands-on prep time, and then your oven and stovetop will do the rest of the work for you. So if you’re looking for a simple, indulgent, comforting new pasta recipe to try, grab a block of feta before it disappears from store shelves in your area and give it a go!
Baked Feta Pasta Ingredients:
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few important notes about the ingredients you will need to make this baked feta pasta recipe:
- Feta cheese: The original recipe for this pasta calls for a block of feta cheese which, here in Europe, is around 200 grams (or 7 ounces). That said, if only crumbled feta cheese is available at your local grocery store, feel free to just press it together into a pile in the center of your baking dish and it should still work just fine.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes: I ended up adding extra tomatoes to this dish, which also ends up adding a bit of extra liquid for the sauce as the tomatoes burst open in the oven — win-win! Fresh cherry or grape tomatoes definitely work best for this dish, so chose whichever ones look the most ripe at your grocery store.
- Olive oil: Which we will drizzle over the feta and tomatoes as they cook, and will also help to add a bit of richness to the sauce.
- White wine (optional): I also added a generous splash of white wine to the feta and tomatoes, whose flavor added a delicious note to the sauce. (That said, if you prefer not to cook with wine, you can just leave this out and add in a bit of hot starchy pasta water or a squeeze or lemon juice instead.)
- Crushed red pepper flakes: The original recipe called for using thinly-sliced fresh red chile peppers, which would also work well here. But since they can be more difficult to find in various countries, I recommend just sprinkling on some crushed red pepper flakes instead.
- Salt and pepper: This pasta will probably not need much added salt, since the feta itself is naturally so salty. But I do recommend adding in a generous amount of freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste.
- Pasta: Almost any kind of pasta shape will work for this recipe — noodles (bucatini, linguine, etc), tubes (rigatoni, penne, etc) or other small shapes (such as the orrechiette that I used). So choose whatever sounds fun!
- Fresh spinach: I added in a very large handful of fresh baby spinach to give the pasta a bit of extra nutrition and color, which I would highly recommend.
- Fresh basil: The original recipe also called for a small sprinkling of fresh basil, but I recommend amping that up big-time and adding in around 1 cup of loosely-packed chopped basil leaves. Its flavor really helps to balance out all of those flavors in the feta and also serves as the main seasoning for the sauce.
- Parmesan cheese: Finally, as much as we loved the fresh and tangy feta in this recipe, we still thought that it needed some of the nutty, aged, unami flavor of Parmesan to round out the flavors in the end. So I recommend sprinkling each serving with a generous amount of shaved or grated Parmesan.
How To Make Baked Feta Pasta:
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a brief overview of how to make my version of TikTok’s feta pasta recipe:
- Prep the tomato feta sauce. As shown in the photos above, simply place the block of feta in the center of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, surround it with cherry tomatoes, drizzle on olive oil and wine (and give all of the ingredients a little jostle to coat them in the oil), season with crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Then bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the tomatoes have burst and are nice and juicy.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta. While the tomatoes and feta are baking, heat your pasta water and then cook the pasta until it is just slightly shy of al dente. (The pasta will finish cooking in the tomato feta sauce.) Be sure to also reserve a cup or so of that hot starchy pasta water before draining the pasta, which you may need to use later.
- Put it all together. Then it’s time to combine everything! (You can either do this in the empty pot or, per TikTok, directly in the baking pan itself.) Immediately add the garlic and basil to the tomato-feta mixture and stir until the feta has melted into a creamy sauce. Add in the cooked pasta and spinach and toss until combined, adding in some of that reserved starchy pasta water if needed to thin the sauce. Give it all a taste and season with extra salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve. Then serve up the pasta while it’s nice and hot, sprinkle on lots of freshly-shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
Possible Recipe Variations:
Here are a few more ways that you can customize this baked feta pasta if you would like:
- Add a protein: Cook up some Italian sausage, chicken, shrimp, salmon or scallops on the side if you would like to add a protein to the pasta once it has been cooked.
- Add veggies: Likewise, you are also welcome to cook (roast, sauté, or however you prefer) some extra veggies to add to the pasta if you would like, such as broccoli, onions, asparagus, bell peppers, or mushrooms.
- Add extra herbs: Feel free to also toss in any other fresh or dried herbs that might pair well in this sauce, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary or fresh chives.
- Make it gluten-free: Just use your preferred kind of gluten-free pasta, or you could also serve this over spiralized veggie noodles (such as zucchini or sweet potato noodles).
- Make it spicier: And of course, if you would like to increase the heat, just add more crushed red pepper flakes or sliced fresh chiles.
- Use roasted garlic: Instead of (or in addition to) adding in the minced garlic at the end of the recipe, feel free to roast a head of garlic in the oven alongside the baking dish with the feta and tomatoes if you would like to add some deliciously sweet roasted garlic to this dish.
- Use a base other than pasta: In place of pasta, you could also easily serve this tomato-feta sauce with rice (or risotto), quinoa, farro, beans, lentils, or simply with a few big hunks of crusty bread.
My spin on TikTok’s famous baked feta pasta recipe is super-easy to make in the oven and tossed with the most irresistible, cheesy, garlicky tomato basil sauce. Feel free to add any extra proteins or veggies that you’d like too!
- 7 or 8-ounce block of feta cheese
- 1 1/2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta of your choice (I used orrecchiette)
- 3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 large handful fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh basil
- shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
- Prep oven. Heat oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Prep the tomato feta sauce. Place the block of feta in the center of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Arrange the tomatoes around the feta, then drizzle everything evenly with the olive oil and white wine. (I recommend giving the ingredients a brief toss so that they are evenly coated in the oil.) Sprinkle the crushed red pepper flakes evenly over the feta, and season the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Bake. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tomatoes have burst and are nice and juicy.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta. While the tomatoes and feta are baking, heat a large stockpot of generously-salted water until boiling. About 10 minutes or so before the tomatoes and feta are set to finish, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until it is just 1 minute or so shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and set it aside for later, then drain the pasta.
- Put it all together. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Immediately add the garlic and basil and stir the mixture together until the feta has melted into a creamy sauce. Add in the cooked pasta and spinach and gently toss until the pasta is evenly coated and the spinach has begun to wilt. If the sauce seems too dry, add in some of the reserved starchy pasta water 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Season. Taste and season with extra salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve. Serve warm, garnished with lots of Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!