Cheesy Tortellini Casserole

Cheesy Tortellini Casserole is like lasagna, minus all the time and effort. Just boil some tortellini, mix with tomato sauce, top with cheese, and bake until bubbly. Dinner is ready!

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) prepared frozen cheese tortellini
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, roughly chopped or sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 cups), OR 2 cups fresh chopped spinach, OR 1/2 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 to 6 ounces Mozzarella cheese slices, enough to cover the surface of the casserole


1 Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

2 Boil the tortellini: Heat a large pot with 3 quarts of water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt on high heat. When the water starts to boil, add the tortellini. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for an additional 2 minutes, until al dente.

You want the pasta cooked al dente because it will continue to cook when baked in the casserole. Remove from heat and drain. Set aside.

cheese tortellini being boiled in water

3 Sauté the mushrooms: While you are preparing the pasta, start on the sauce. Heat a large thick bottomed stick-free (hard anodized aluminum or cast iron are best) pan on medium heat.

Add the mushrooms. "Dry" sauté them for 5 to 10 minutes with no added fat. As the mushrooms heat they will release water and cook in their own juices.

Once the mushrooms are well coated with the water that they are releasing, stir in a tablespoon of butter.

mushrooms in skillet on stove mushrooms with butter being melted in the center of skillet

4 Finish the sauce: Add the garlic, crushed fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes to the mushrooms and cook a minute more.

Add the crushed tomatoes and the dried or fresh basil. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped chard and cook for 5 more minutes until the chard begins to wilt.

Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste).

tomato sauce for cheese tortellini sauce with chard being cooked in skillet for tortellini casserole

5 Assemble the casserole: Stir the cooked tortellini into the sauce and remove from heat. Spread the tortellini mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish in an even layer. Arrange a layer of sliced Mozzarella cheese over the top of the tortellini.

cheese tortellini in baking dish sliced cheese on top of cheese tortellini in baking dish

5 Bake: Cover with foil. (Either cover the casserole in a way that the foil is not touching the cheese or spread a little olive oil over the inside of the foil so that the casserole cheese does not stick to the foil while it cooks. You can also use stick-free foil.)

Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and broil for 4 to 5 minutes more until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

baked tortellini casserole with melted cheese in baking dish

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  • Renee

    Yum! And yes….much simpler than lasagna. It’s a do-over.


  • FrankyB

    Thank you! i put my own spin on it but the cooking times and general directions were super helpful.

  • tonja l blunt


  • Hayley

    I would like to make this recipe – but I’m wanting to freeze it so we have some ready- made meals for when our baby arrives. Would you recommend freezing before or after it is cooked?

    • Elise Bauer

      Great question Hayley! I haven’t frozen it so don’t know what to tell you. If anyone else has, please chime in!

  • Kyle

    This sounds delicious, but do you recommend any alternatives instead of using mushrooms?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Kyle, if you are sticking with the vegetarian approach perhaps firm tofu would work. If you are willing to use meat, then 1/4 to 1/2 pound of Italian sausage would be excellent.

  • Esther Lord

    Hello, just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing this wonderful dish. I made this for dinner last night and it was a big hit. Thanks again !!!


  • Sue H

    I made this recipe last night for dinner for my “picky” husband and me. It was delicious and I especially liked the flavor of the sauce. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us.

    Since it was eaten last night for just my husband & me, I froze half for another dinner later when my mother can join us. I know she’ll love it too because Swiss chard is one of her all-time favs!!


  • Jan DeHaven

    Elise, What a hit this was in my house and I used only one pan. I cooked fresh tortellini in the sauce with the lid on for 5min. extra before adding the greens. I then added the cheese, put the lid back on and popped it in the oven. The method used to cook the mushrooms was new to me and i was thrilled with the result. The sauce has a cooked all day richness i wish my cooked all day sauces had. I think the fennel made my husband think he was eating Italian sausage. Thank you for the great recipe.


  • Cherie

    Hi Elise,

    I LOVE your recipes! Thanks so much for your site.

    I want to try this one, but unfortunately I can’t handle the taste of fennel. Can you recommend a suitable replacement spice?

    Thanks! :)

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Cherie, you know what is weird? My dad cannot stand fennel, yet he loves Italian sausage, and fennel seeds are the main distinguishing ingredient in Italian sausage. So, when you put fennel seeds in a dish like this, it’s like putting in Italian sausage but without the meat. That said, if you don’t want to risk it, just skip it! Put in some Italian seasoning or herbs instead.

  • Walter Underwood

    My son is in college and I’m guessing that using prepared sauce would make this still pretty good and super easy. He’s in a house with six other athletes (mostly distance runners), so they need a lot of food, fast.

    I followed the recipe and it was great. I will make this again.


  • Kelley Marie

    This turned out great! I added spicy Italian sausage to ours. My hubby and son both asked to have this one again.

    I love that it was posted on a day when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner. It is indeed a great replacement for lasagna!

  • Mollie

    My husband and I made this tonight. We joked that it was a great workout for our new all-clad saute pan…we boiled the tortellini first, then let them sit in the strainer until we were ready to add to the sauce, then topped the dish with cheese and put it in the oven.. All using the same pan! The only change we made was a short cut for the sauce- a 28oz can of Trader Joe’s marinara sauce.


  • sandi

    This recipe is so great ! I just love it ! I omitted the spinach but it still was tasty as ever !


  • Jan DeHaven

    I just found your beautiful food via Pintrest. I will make your tortellini casserole recipe next week. I’m wondering about the possibility of skipping the boil the pasta stage by using fresh tortellini and adding it to the tomato sauce to cook? Thoughts? Thank you so much. So happy to have found you.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jan, I’m guessing that would work fine. If you use fresh tortellini, please let us know how it turns out for you!

  • Michael Smith

    We made this for dinner last night and it was very very good. We added mild italian sausage. Plan on putting this into the weekly rotation.

  • Kelly

    perfect winter comfort food!

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    My kind of comfort food…Delicious!!!

  • Lise

    Oh my, this sounds fabulous. Unfortunately we don’t have an oven at present (rving for the winter) but I will try to adapt this for slow-cooker. Will let you know how it turns out. As always, thanks for the wonderful recipes and for the inspiration.

  • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

    I just love the “home cooked goodness” I find on your site. This bubbling, cheesy top is making me swoon. Not hard to make, I feel like dinner could be on the table quickly. Think mushrooms, sausage and swiss chard would all be included in my version. I’m very open to “meatless Monday” but my husband always acts as though he’ll pass out without getting his daily quota of meat!!!