This easy sheet pan pasta bake with chicken, kale, and tomatoes, and cheese is the perfect easy weeknight dinner! Everyone in the family will love this easy, cheesy pasta bake!
Easy Pasta Bake
I love making pasta for dinner because it is easy and everyone in the family loves it. I always get two thumbs up from the boys and Josh on pasta nights, especially when I make baked pasta. Baked pasta isn’t hard, but it makes the pasta extra special. You will love this pasta bake because it is made on a sheet pan! Genius, right?
I saw this Sheet Pan Pasta Bake with Chicken and Kale recipe in the book Cook90 (by David Tamarkin and Epicurious) and new it would be a hit at our house.
I love Cook90 because it challenges people to cook 3 meals at home for 30 days. It is filled with fast, healthy, and delicious recipes, like this baked pasta. It will help you get in the habit of cooking and help you become a more confident cook.
Sheet Pan Dinner
What is the best part of a baked pasta dish? The crispy edges, right? Who is with me? Well, with this easy sheet pan pasta bake the entire casserole is crispy because you spread the pasta out on a sheet pan and bake it in the oven at a high temperature. Because the pasta is spread out on the sheet pan, all of the cheesy pasta pieces get crispy! YES! This pasta sheet pan dinner is what dinner dreams are made of!
How to Make Sheet Pan Pasta Bake
- First, cook the pasta until al dente in a big pot of salty water. We like to use penne pasta, but any short pasta will work well. If you need the recipe to be gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix together the panko parmesan breadcrumb topping.
- Toss the bite-size kale pieces and halved tomatoes with olive oil and place on a half sheet pan with a lip around the edge.
- Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and add the sour cream, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and pasta water. If you want to lighten up the recipe, you can use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
- To keep things easy, use shredded rotisserie chicken for this recipe. If you have leftover chicken, you can use that too, just make sure it is shredded or chopped into pieces. If you need the recipe to be vegetarian, you can leave the chicken out. It will still be a hearty meal.
- Add the chicken and mozzarella cheese to the pasta and stir until well combined.
- Transfer the pasta mixture to the baking sheet with the kale and tomatoes. Carefully mix and spread out in an even layer. Top with the panko mixture and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Roast the pasta in a 450 degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. You want the pasta to get a little crispy.
Pasta Bake Video
Serve the baked pasta with a simple salad and garlic bread and dinner is DONE! Sheet pan baked pasta is a major game changer. You are going to love this easy weeknight meal!
If you like this pasta bake recipe, check out:
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
- Pasta Pomodoro
- 4-Ingredient Ravioli Lasagna
- Baked Pasta with Spinach and Ricotta
- One Pot Sausage Pasta
Sheet Pan Pasta Bake with Chicken and Kale
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces penne pasta
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper divided
- 1 bunch curly kale ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
- Set a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
- Bring a pot of salty water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Meanwhile, mix the panko, ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Toss the kale and tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot along with the sour cream, Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ cup pasta water, and the remaining ¾ cup Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon black pepper; stir until smooth.
- Stir in the shredded chicken and 1 cup of the mozzarella, adding more pasta water to keep everything mixable if needed, until well combined. Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet with the kale and tomatoes. Toss to combine and spread everything in an even layer on the baking sheet. Top with the panko mixture and the remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese.
- Place the pan in the oven and roast the pasta until the cheese is melted and the the top is lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve warm.
Have you tried this recipe?
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I don’t care for kale. Could I substitute spinach?
I’ll never turn down a cheesy pasta dinner!
What kind of sheet pan do you use? Cast iron?
A large baking sheet.
Love how you sprinkle the dish with panko to keep the precious vegetable juices 🙂 Thank you for the lovely idea !
awesome recipe pan pasta.. i love this
great sheet pan idea, I would have otherwise used at least 3 different pieces of cookware, so thank you for that but also for the recipe!
Can I make this an hour ahead and put into the oven right before dinner?
Love the sour cream twist on this dish! Overall, easy to make too!
Glad you liked it!
I made this the other night. 4 out of 5 kids loved it! Maria it was awesome!!! I did roasted my kale and tomatoes for about 5 minutes before I added the pasta and chicken mixture. It was sooo good!!
Yay! Glad it was a hit!
I made this wonderful dish last night and it turned out fantastic! My entire family gave it five stars-even my pickiest critic! To make it easier, I made my pasta in the instant pot, 12 oz penne, 3 cups of salted water, 3 mins on manual, released pressure after minute 4 for perfect al dente pasta. I did not drain what water remained, as in the recipe you will add some back, and it was the perfect amount for mixing the rest of the ingredients into the pasta. Perfect, quick, delicious!
Why not use fresh garlic instead of garlic powder??? it’s mol uch better for your health and much tastier! à Fresh ingredients instead of super-transformed ones…
This is one of our favorite meals. I was wondering if I can make it in a casserole dish and freeze it for later…
Thanks for the wonderful recipes.
if using spinach would you put on cookie sheet uncooked as well
This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it several times and is a winner. I substituted baby spinach for the kale and diced roma tomatoes. Everyone wants the recipe and I point them to your website!
We don’t like Kale or spinach. What else works?
You can leave the greens out if you don’t like them.
I was wondering the same thing as Niloofar. Can I freeze it after step 6, and then just thaw and pop in the oven when I’m ready to use it? I wanted to bring it to the shore and have a lot of mouths to feed.
Yes, that should be fine!
This was delicious! It definitely made a ton of food so next time I would cut it in half. I didn’t have sour cream so I used plain Greek yogurt and it was still yummy. I’d probably add more of the dijon mustard next time too. I only got a slight hint of it and wanted more!
Amazing! We couldn’t stop going back for more.
I ended up using lentil pasta and worked perfectly with the kale and tomatoes. A must try!
Do you use plain panko bread crumbs or Italian seasoned bread crumbs?
I’m glad I found this recipe since I have so much kale in my fridge that I didn’t want to go bad! I changed a couple of things to make it a bit less heavy, such as using less pasta and more kale and tomatoes, and using a bit less cream and cheese. I do recommend amping it up in the seasoning, maybe it was just me. I replaced the chicken with vegetarian meatballs since we don’t eat meat, and it was delicious! The kale was slightly crunchy, the tomatoes not mushy, panko nice and crispy. We will be eating this again!
Such a great dinner! Glad you liked the recipe!
Delicious! We loved it! It is as pretty as tastey
Just made this, used collards instead of kale. Very good, will definitely make it again. Thanks!!
This recipe is SO good. Being a SAHM im always looking for recipes that might last me a couple days and this one fit the bill. I did make some very minor adjustments but I think following this recipe exactly would have been just fine. A lot of times I find recipes that need so much extra seasoning but this was not bland at all. I used regular italian breadcrumbs(because it’s what I had, I just turned on the broiler for a couple minutes to crisp), plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, i roasted my own chicken because that’s what I had, added some crushed red pepper because I like a kick. Will definitely keep this one in my arsenal. Thank you for this recipe!
Could I use ricotta cheese instead of the sour cream?
I haven’t tried it but that sounds good to me!
What would be a good vegetarian substitute for the chicken?
You can leave it out and have just pasta. Or add some white beans or chickpeas or more veggies!
Will broccoli work? I LOVE broccoli!
this recipe was wonderful
I used spinach instead of kale
I can’t eat tomato- what would be a good subbstitute?
Looks like a delicious recipe. Would you have a suggestion for a vegetable substitute for the kale ( My family isn’t a fan ).
Delicious and filling! Very good the next day too!
Is this basically deconstructed lasagna with kale added? I’ve had lasagna before and I was curious because If they are the same I would try this.
Have you used fresh? I can imagine it burns easily.
This looks very good, but if I was to use a casserole dish instead of roasting it on a baking sheet, what would your suggestion be for length of time and temperature? I’m thinking an hour or until heated thru since the chicken is already cooked, and perhaps 350, rather than 450?
Thank you, I look forward to making this,
I haven’t tried it in a casserole dish. But I am guessing 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.
This is a new favorite here!
What other meat works?
I was hesitant about making this but it is so full of flavor. I didn’t have any Dijon so I left it out. Don’t think I missed it!