Chicken caprese pasta bake is an easy freezer meal that can be baked up fresh or from frozen! Perfect for stocking up the freezer.
This chicken caprese pasta might be more of a wintery comfort food kinda meal, but it's so simple and delicious, I just had to share!
Not only is it simple and delicious, but this pasta bake is perfect to stock up the freezer.
I've been loving the freezer-friendly casseroles lately (stay tuned for a delicious freezer taco casserole coming your way soon), and this one is great because you can bake it from frozen!
That's right, you don't even need to remember to thaw out your casserole, just pop it in the oven and dinner is ready in just under an hour.
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
Reasons to love this chicken caprese pasta bake
- it has just 5 ingredients
- you can assemble ahead and freeze
- you can bake directly from frozen (no need to thaw first!)
How to make it
For this caprese chicken bake, you need just five simple ingredients:
- pasta- I tested with penne (have not tested whole wheat and have not had great experiences with freeze/thawing whole wheat pasta)
- marinara- I go for a simple jarred tomato basil marinara
- boneless skinless chicken thighs- I prefer them over chicken breasts as they are less prone to drying out
- cherry tomatoes- load it up
- mozzarella- regular pizza mozzarella works great for this. Save the fresh mozzarella for a caprese salad!
To serve- you're going to want to sprinkle with plenty of fresh basil, and some balsamic reduction to drizzle. I haven't included these in our ingredients list because they can't go into the freezer.
Can I swap the chicken? Sure, you could leave it out and make this caprese chicken bake vegetarian. Or you could swap for ground meat, however I'd cook and drain before baking everything up.
Can I add in more veggies? The best way to do this would be to cook them into the marinara sauce. Try sauteeing some onions, garlic, shredded carrots, even some spinach would be good cooked into the sauce.
Can I change the pasta shape? Do so at your own risk! I have picked penne because it is sturdy and holds up to freeze/thawing. Lasagna noodles would be another good choice. I have not tested whole wheat pasta and don't know how it would work in this recipe.
Serve it with
- Our Staple Kale Salad
- a garden salad drizzled with this Green Goddess Dressing
- one of these Broccolini 3 Ways recipes
- Grilled Broccoli with Lemon & Parmesan
- one of these Snap Peas 3 Ways recipes
Tips & Equipment
- make sure you use a metal baking dish if you are planning to put the casserole into the oven from frozen
- this recipe is so easy to double up and freeze one portion
- this 2-Ingredient Balsamic Reduction works great in this recipe (or skip it and use store-bought!)
- looking for more easy freezer meals? Check out this Eggplant Lasagna, these 5 Vegan Freezer Meals in 1 Hour, or this Portuguese Freezer Chicken Bake
Chicken Caprese Pasta Bake
- 2 ½ cups penne (uncooked; 7 ¾ oz; 225 g)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce (half a jar)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- fresh basil
- balsamic reduction
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with spray oil.
- Mix together the cooked penne, chicken, marinara sauce and cherry tomatoes. Spread it evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove cover and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and serve with fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
To assemble ahead and freeze
- Follow the steps above up to step 3. Cover with foil and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To bake from frozen- make sure to freeze in a metal baking dish (not glass). Place frozen pasta bake directly into the oven at 350°F. Cook covered for 50 minutes, and uncovered for 10 minutes.
- Serve with fresh basil and balsamic reduction.