Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

Marla Meridith

September 14, 2010

Healthy pasta and cheese recipe

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on MarlaMeridith.comHealthy pasta and cheese recipe

Spaghetti and cheese. Yup. Not much more & not anything less. I cannot think of anyone that does not like a comforting bowl of hearty carbs with gooey melted cheese. With these nests I wanted to get a bit playful with presentation. Not only are they in the shape of well, nests-but I added color to the whole wheat pasta with the spice tumeric. I also added a slightly smoky flavor with my handy dandy smoked paprika. Yes, I did say whole wheat pasta & yes as always I share with you a recipe that has a healthier profile than the usual ones. Why, why not?? Dig in!

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on

These spaghetti nests are great in the kids lunch box. They travel well & can easily be re-heated in the microwave. With a side salad or steamed veggies you have a full meal.

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on
This pasta is also great for #MeatlessMonday. It is always nice to have some vegetarian options in our recipe line up. If you want to make this a heartier meal you can lay a crispy cooked egg on top. Look at what my friend Louise came up with on her blog 2 be satisfied {Caberneti Spaghetti Nests with Crispy Egg and Golden Garlic.} Gorgeous Louise!

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on

These spaghetti nests get a bit crispy on top & warm & creamy in the centers after they are baked. You can also add chunks of chicken breast & small bits of diced steamed broccoli to make a more complete meal. Perhaps you use larger ramekins for baking if you want to go a bit bigger in portion size.

Spaghetti and Cheese Nests on



  • You can try different spices in your spaghetti nests: chili powder, cayenne, thyme, saffron, nutmeg, cumin, etc…would all be fun & unique flavor twists.
  • You can play around linguine, angel hair and other pasta shapes.
  • Try flavored pasta: Spinach, cabernet, etc.
  • Go gluten free: You can use your favorite rice pasta or gluten free product in this recipe too.
  • Stay on the Meatless Monday kick & up the protein with chunks of tofu or top with an egg.
  • More protein non-veg style? Go with some cubed cooked chicken breast. Toss it in before baking.

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Share your thoughts

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.
    Posted at 06:15h, 14 September

    Marla, I’m loving this! Very creative, easy and delicious all in one!!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    Posted at 06:22h, 14 September

    I love them in the individual cups! Perfect for portion control too – thought I’d probably want to eat 6 of them.

  • Deliciously Organic
    Posted at 06:35h, 14 September

    The nests are adorabe! Your photography gets better and better! 🙂 I’ll have to make this one for the kids.

  • Maria
    Posted at 06:36h, 14 September

    These are so cute! I can’t wait to make them with my niece. She loves noodles:)

  • Rosa
    Posted at 06:47h, 14 September

    Those look lovely! A very good idea.



  • Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
    Posted at 08:38h, 14 September

    I bet these would be great for parties too, they are adorable and tasty looking!

  • Barbara Bakes
    Posted at 08:50h, 14 September

    Individual servings always seem so much more fun. Love the idea.

  • FoodFitnessFreshair
    Posted at 09:30h, 14 September

    These are adorable, and I could see myself eating them for breakfast alongside some eggs. Smoked paprika’s always a nice touch!

  • the urban baker
    Posted at 09:44h, 14 September

    any form of pasta and cheese if fine by me. but these little bite sized portions are so on my radar! i need to make these for the kids! x

  • The Duo Dishes
    Posted at 10:03h, 14 September

    Great way to get kids to get gourmet. 🙂 The color is great! Turmeric has a way of making things look pretty.

  • Angie's Recipes
    Posted at 11:03h, 14 September

    Yummy! I would need at least 3 nests and a glass of red for the dinner. :-))

  • Cookin' Canuck
    Posted at 11:40h, 14 September

    Adorable idea, Marla! What a wonderful idea to add some turmeric to make the nests even more visually appealing. My kids would love to find these in their lunch boxes.

  • Louise
    Posted at 11:52h, 14 September

    Delicious- I did a test recipe the same way with the muffin tins, great idea.
    ~Chef Louise

  • Lentil Breakdown
    Posted at 11:55h, 14 September

    After the kids have cleaned their plates, you’ll be empty nesters.

  • Chicago Cuisine Critique
    Posted at 12:43h, 14 September

    Great idea! Who doesn’t love pasta and cheese? Yum! 🙂

  • Anna Johnston
    Posted at 18:06h, 14 September

    Love the individual servings, they seem so fun and happy sitting there like little nests. Very cool

  • Mags
    Posted at 18:35h, 14 September

    Oh come on…. those are way too cute to eat!

    Great recipe… great photos…. love your blog.

  • Faith
    Posted at 04:16h, 15 September

    I love how you cooked these in muffin tins, Marla — what a great idea! The turmeric for a little color is great too. Pretty much the cutest pasta I’ve ever seen! 😉

  • Heavenly Housewife
    Posted at 04:24h, 15 September

    What a fun presentation. I love it when someone puts a new spin on an old classic!
    *kisses* HH

  • Mary
    Posted at 06:34h, 15 September

    This is such a terrific idea and the finished nests looks delightful and delicious. It is a really fun way to serve pasta. I always love to visit here. I like the food and recipes you feature here and your photography is always first rate. I keep coming back for repeats. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  • Heather
    Posted at 07:20h, 15 September

    Love these! I love them even more that they use the whole wheat pasta. Yum! And perfect for the munchkins in the house. Can’t wait to try!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking
    Posted at 08:10h, 15 September

    You never fail to amaze me with your creativity, Marla! These look wonderfully yummy, and they’re such a cute dinner idea. I bet this would also be an impressive little presentation for party guests. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos and the recipe, and keep up your awesome cookin’!

  • My Man's Belly
    Posted at 09:40h, 15 September

    With ingredients like this I’d have to put them into one of those giant cupcake pans for a individual serving that would be enough for Craig (which probably defeats the purpose of individual portions huh?). These look fantastic!

  • LilSis
    Posted at 10:09h, 15 September

    I love these! And, the idea of adding broccoli and/or chicken sounds great! My 17 year old son can eat almost a pound of pasta alone, so he’d need about a dozen of these! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Cherine
    Posted at 10:35h, 15 September

    Those nests are adorable!! Love the idea!!

  • Blond Duck
    Posted at 11:38h, 15 September

    You can’t go wrong with pasta and cheese!

  • lisaiscooking
    Posted at 13:13h, 15 September

    I do love pasta and cheese, and the paprika sounds great here!

  • Barbara @Modern Comfort Food
    Posted at 16:21h, 15 September

    As always with your blog, I love the way you really think through the process of making delicious dishes that are healthier, innovative, and (dare I say it?) fun. Looks wonderful, with a great balance between the lighter cottage cheese and richer cheddar.

    • Marla
      Posted at 18:21h, 15 September

      Barbara: Yes you said it….FUN!! I do love to have fun with my recipe development as you can tell. Also, gotta use fat it is the only thing that helps to satisfy. Going completely fat free tastes yucky, generally has lots of fillers and added sugars. I like clean fat free/low fat choices mixed with the richer stuff, as you have noticed.

  • Betty @ scrambled hen fruit
    Posted at 20:02h, 15 September

    These look like so much delicious fun!

  • grace
    Posted at 23:53h, 15 September

    cheese AND an adorable presentation–this is a winning idea!

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Posted at 01:55h, 16 September

    Lovely to have come across your site, hope to come here more often, best wishes.

  • Joanne
    Posted at 04:35h, 16 September

    Sometimes you just need to splurge a little on some comfort food and this is perfect for when that craving hits! Especially because they are pre portioned…the splurging can only go so far!

    Posted at 06:08h, 16 September

    These really are fantastic Marla – have never in a million years thought to add smoked paprika to pasta but since that is one of my all time favorite spices, will be doing so in the future! Love that these can go for lunch – and since I pack The Professor’s lunch and since he loves pasta and cheese . . . well, these will be heading to campus with him!

  • Angie
    Posted at 10:01h, 16 September

    I love, love love these, too cute! At first I thought it was a version of spaghetti pie in muffin cups, which would also be great, but this is much better, thanks for sharing!

  • Cara
    Posted at 13:38h, 16 September

    What a great way to serve spaghetti! I’ve done mini mac n cheese in muffin tins and they are such a hit at parties.

  • theUngourmet
    Posted at 13:58h, 16 September

    I can’t wait to make these! How fun! I know my kids will enjoy them too. I’ve been hunting around for some interesting and different lunchbox ideas. 🙂

  • Cooking with Coley
    Posted at 17:52h, 16 September

    I love your playful spin on spaghetti. You never cease to amaze me with your presentation and yummy yet healthy combinations!

  • diane and todd
    Posted at 20:50h, 16 September

    this is brilliant marla and love your use of spices. The smoked paprika is awesome, can smell it already over here!

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  • A Canadian Foodie
    Posted at 10:11h, 17 September

    What a fun idea! I am just doing homemade pasta sauce with my grade 9’s and then we are doing homemade pizza, after that, spaghetti… so guess what will be next? YES! This will be a blast for them and I have never thought of this.
    Thanks, Marla!

  • Jen @ How To: Simplify
    Posted at 14:37h, 17 September

    How cute and creative are these?! Oh my goodness…I’m definitely adding this recipe to my “to make” list!

  • Miri Leigh
    Posted at 14:39h, 17 September

    Oh yum! I love a creative twist on good ol’ fashioned pasta. So cheesy and hearty… can’t wait to try.

  • Carolyn Jung
    Posted at 21:33h, 17 September

    A nifty idea! And I love the taste and color that tumeric provides. Looking forward to making my own nest o’ noodles to dig a fork into.

  • Amanda
    Posted at 08:55h, 18 September

    These are so FUN!

  • Kitchen Runway
    Posted at 23:24h, 20 September

    Marla – those look so delicious!! =) Yum!! You can’t ever go wrong with pasta & cheese!

  • Debs
    Posted at 00:16h, 21 September

    Wow, beautiful presentation; what a fab idea, thanks for sharing.

  • Pam @ Cooking World
    Posted at 00:57h, 21 September

    You have added the twist by adding turmeric and paprika for color and spice! What I love is using muffin tin to make nest! It would be perfect one serving to serve and looks so gourmet!

  • busy beecher
    Posted at 17:47h, 22 September

    I love this idea! My son is only 6 months, but as soon as he can eat pasta I’m making these!

  • Sonia - L'Exquisit
    Posted at 04:33h, 08 October

    I just ate and are delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Marla
      Posted at 04:53h, 08 October

      Sonia: I just woke up to your sweet comment. I am so happy you enjoyed this recipe. It thrills me when my readers can add something new, healthy & tasty to their meal selections. I need to play with a red sauce version of this too.

  • chaya
    Posted at 23:35h, 16 October

    This is a fantastic idea, one which I have to make. I printed the recipe which is a first step. My grandkids would love these and so would I.

  • Damaris @KitchenCorners
    Posted at 18:12h, 27 September

    Marla this is seriously one of the most creative dishes I have ever seen. I LOVE IT. I already has spaghetti twice today but after seeing this post i’m seriously tempted to make some more.

  • recipes
    Posted at 23:38h, 17 January

    delicious recipe. i’ll make it again.

  • Amanda Renea
    Posted at 16:40h, 29 April

    These look tasty!

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    Posted at 12:26h, 26 August

    Hi, love most of the recipes you put on. This one (spaghetti nests) sounds great! You say one can add chicken and broccoli to them for more of a meal? How many does one get then? Only 1? I thought we got all 3 in the picture! LOL!

    • Marla
      Posted at 13:29h, 26 August

      Pamela, simply add some chopped chicken or broccoli to the mix before baking the spaghetti nests.

  • Kelly
    Posted at 12:46h, 04 December

    Hi Marla,

    These look awesome. I have a few questions.
    1. You mention putting them in the kids lunch. Do these reheat well? Or do you eat them cool?
    2. Can you make these ahead of time? I was considering them for a party. It would be really convenient if I could put them together ahead of time and just pop them in the oven to cook when everyone arrived.

    • Marla
      Posted at 13:00h, 04 December

      Hi! They would reheat fine. As far as the temperature in a lunchbox – all depends on whether your kids like cold or hot pasta. Mine will eat it either way 🙂
      You can assemble before a party & keep cool in the fridge until ready to bake.

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  • Carolyn Jane
    Posted at 04:03h, 23 May

    Hi..these recipe looks yummy!!! Can’t wait to try… Anyway, do you mind if I copy this recipe as well as the pictures and rewrite it by using our language which is Malay?

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