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We love pasta at Slimming World! It’s one of the Free Foods at the heart of Food Optimising, which means that you can enjoy it until you’re totally satisfied, with no weighing, measuring or counting. 

Are you ready to fall in love with linguine without spa-ghetting your weight loss dreams dashed? Slimming World’s cookbook editor, Olly Maxey, reveals more about this ravishing recipe collection.

“We’re always trying to dream up ideas that will inspire our members to discover the joys of cooking – and this book ticks so many boxes! Dried pasta and noodles are Free and quick to cook, so they’re perfect for making easy, filling meals that pack a lot of flavour with minimum fuss. Plus, they’re relatively cheap and will keep in your cupboard for ages, which means you’ll always have a staple on standby.

We also wanted this book to show how versatile pasta and noodles can be. It’s packed with more than 60 pasta dishes, including ‘traditional with a twist’ (like lentil bolognese and cheese triangle carbonara) as well as inventive new recipes that add a bit of fun and blur some of the usual rules, like roast chicken dinner noodles and all-day breakfast pasta.

This meatball pasta bake showcases everything that’s great about the book. Combining tastes of the Mediterranean with North African spice, it’s a saucy, satisfying dish that the whole family will love.”

Slimming World meatball pasta bake

serves 4
1½ Syns per serving
ready in 50 minutes

What you need:

1 small onion, roughly chopped
500g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 level tsp Dijon mustard
1 medium egg
2 large courgettes, grated
low-calorie cooking spray
400g can chopped tomatoes
900ml hot beef stock
1 level tbsp rose harissa paste
400g dried penne pasta
50g reduced-fat feta cheese 
chopped fresh parsley, to serve

What you do:

1. Preheat your oven to 200˚C/fan 180˚C/gas 6.

2. Put the onion in your food processor and whizz until finely chopped. Put half of the puréed onion in a bowl and set aside. Add the beef to the onion left in the food processor along with the dried herbs, mustard, egg, half the courgettes and a little salt and pepper. Whizz until combined then transfer to a bowl, divide into 20 portions and shape into meatballs.

3. Spray a wide non-stick frying pan with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a high heat. Add the meatballs and cook in batches for 1-2 minutes or until browned all over, turning them occasionally (they won’t be cooked through yet). Transfer to a plate.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and fry the remaining onion and courgettes for 2-3 minutes or until softened, stirring often. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and harissa and bring to the boil.

5. Stir the pasta into the tomato sauce, then carefully pour into a large roasting tin, about 35cm x 24cm. Top with the meatballs, cover with kitchen foil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through and the pasta is just cooked but has a little bite (‘al dente’).

6. Evenly crumble over the feta, sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot with salad or Speed vegetables.

Meatball pasta bake recipe video

If you’re looking for more mealtime inspiration? You’ll find loads of healthy recipe ideas in a Slimming World group or our friendly Online Community. When you join Slimming World, You’ll also get access to over 1,600 slimming-friendly recipes, our gorgeous collection of cookbooks and a handy Food Search tool to help you achieve weight loss success without ever going hungry. What’s not to love?

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