Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests


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


Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8-12 servings

Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests


  • 10 ounces dry Whole Wheat Spaghetti (or gluten free option)
  • 1/2 cup grated regular or low fat Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup fat free or low fat Cottage Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • pinch Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • shaved Parmesan for garnish


  • Pre heat oven to 425 F with the rack in the center of the oven. Lightly spray Muffin tins. Cook pasta according to directions, reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Be sure not to break spaghetti while cooking so you can twirl it into nests. Combine cottage cheese and cheddar cheese in a bowl. Toss cooked pasta with a splash of olive oil, all spices and seasonings. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid if you need to. Mix with cheese mixture. Reserve a bit of cheese to top each nest.
  • Twirl spaghetti with a fork and add to muffin tins, create nest shapes. Top each nest with a bit of the cottage cheese mixture. Bake for about 10 minutes. The tops of your nests will be lightly browned and a bit crispy. Let cool for a few minutes. Gently loosen spaghetti nests from muffin tins with a spatula and serve. Top with parmesan & dried basil or parsley if desired.


  • 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.

Spaghetti & Cheese Recipe Links

68 Responses to Three Cheese Spaghetti Nests

  1. 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! 😉

  2. 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

  3. 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’!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

    • 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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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