Comfort food at its finest, this spinach and artichoke bake with chicken meatballs is so delicious. Inspired by Katie Lee from Food Network, this recipe puts Healthyish twist on her spinach and artichoke pasta bake.

This Healthyish version, includes some protein and is coated in a light, yet creamy sauce. Made from simple, clean ingredients, this is one recipe your entire family will love. While it does take a little time to prepare, it’s worth every minute!

Spinach and Artichoke Bake with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

After my second helping, I figured it was time to come up for air. This spinach and artichoke bake with chicken meatballs might be one of my all-time favorite pantry pasta recipes. The sauce is light, yet flavorful and tastes so good with the sweet artichokes, earthy spinach, and juicy chicken meatballs.

If chicken meatballs are not your thing, you can use turkey or ground beef instead. I also used mini rigatoni pasta for this recipe. I love the mini rigatoni because they are easy to eat and the sauce clings to the small grooves in the pasta. Finish this dish with an extra dusting of grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a few turns of cracked black pepper. Trust me, this recipe is so good!

Spinach and Artichoke Bake with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

Looking for more pantry pasta recipes? Try my creamy garlic parmesan recipe. Or for something with a little spice try my buffalo chicken mac and cheese. No matter what you choose, these pantry pasta dishes are all so good!

Spinach and Artichoke Bake with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods
Spinach and Artichoke Bake with Chicken Meatballs – Healthyish Foods

Spinach and Artichoke Bake with Chicken Meatballs

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Ingredients

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces mini rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil to drizzle over pasta

Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil for pan searing the meatballs
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Spinach Artichoke Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup diced onion white or yellow
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon AP flour – all purpose , mix in with the butter, onions, and garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth , I used Smart chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained – 14 ounce can
  • 3-4 cups packed fresh spinach

Toppings:

  • ½ cup mozzarella pearls or shredded mozzarella
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Extra grated parmesan cheese to top the dish
  • Few turns cracked black pepper

Equipment

  • pasta pot
  • colander
  • 9×13-inch ceramic baking dish
  • large mixing bowl
  • 11-inch skillet
  • 3.5 quart saucepan

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray an 9×13-inch ceramic baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside.

Prepare the pasta:

  • Boil a pot of water and cook the mini rigatoni according to the package. Make sure you cook it al dente, as it will continue cooking in the oven.
  • Drain the water using a colander and drizzle the pasta with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Prepare the chicken meatballs:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, milk, egg, Italian breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
  • Mix well using your hands.
  • Form the chicken mixture into evenly sized meatballs. I was able to get 30 small meatballs.
  • Heat an 11-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the vegetable oil and allow it to get hot.
  • Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the meatballs to the oil to get a golden-brown sear. Turn frequently to prevent burning.
  • Repeat for all of the meatballs. Place the partially cooked meatballs on a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
  • Set the meatballs aside.

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a 3.5-quart saucepan over medium heat add the butter, diced onion, and minced garlic.
  • Once the onions begin to soften and become translucent you will stir in the all-purpose flour.
  • The flour will adhere to the onions and garlic.
  • Next, you will add the chicken broth or bone broth to deglaze the pan. The sauce will begin to thicken from the flour.
  • Next, add the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
  • Once the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy, add the artichoke hearts and spinach. Let the spinach completely wilt.

Assemble the dish:

  • Add the cooked pasta, and chicken meatballs into the pan with the sauce.
  • Once everything is well coated, you will add the pasta / meatball / sauce mixture into the 9×13-inch ceramic baking dish.
  • Top with some mozzarella pearls or shredded mozzarella and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken meatballs are fully cooked through.
  • Remove the foil and broil the entire dish for 2-3 minutes to get the cheese crispy on top.
  • Finish with extra grated parmesan and red pepper flakes.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!