LetsTrain Original PastaBake

The first from my series of bulking-up meals...

When it comes to recovery meals, everyone has a favourite. This pasta bake recipe is from my rowing days for the national trials a few years back. It's a good recovery meal that I used regularly and specifically after a heavy weights session or long duration cardio (usually on the rowing machine or river).

This is a 'healthy' but high calorie meal, one that is balanced with low GI carbs, quality proteins, good natural fat sources and lots of vitamins.

Why eat it?

  • Perfect for bulking up and adding muscle mass.
  • Good for recovering from long duration cardio training or endurance racing.
  • High in protein, Low GI and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Time needed: 25 minutes, serves 2.


  • 500g beef mince (ideally 5% fat)
  • 150g whole-wheat fusilli pasta
  • A large red onion
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 15 green/black pitted olives
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • coconut oil
  • Fresh herbs - Rosemary or basil preferably
  • 70g Parmesan - grated or sliced thinly
  • Pasta sauce - here I used Loyd Grossman Puttanesca


1. Add beef mince to a non-stick frying pan and dry-fry using no oil. Stir over a medium heat until no red meat remains. Drain water away and remove mince from pan, setting aside. Also here is a good time to preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

2. On a medium heat, melt 2 tbs coconut oil in pan and add the red onion pieces and cherry tomatoes. Stir for 3-4mins, and as soon as the cherry tomatoes start to split, add the garlic and mince back into the pan. 

3. Cook for another 3mins, so the garlic really infuses with the vegetables and beef. After 3mins remove the mixture from pan, carefully pouring half into a deep baking dish. Add half the rosemary(herbs) and half of the olives. Then layer on top, half of the fusilli and half of the parmesan. Repeat the layering process again and then place on the middle shelf in the oven.

4. Bake for 4mins, remove and add 3/4 of the Pasta sauce over the top and sides of the pasta mix. Return to the oven for a further 6mins. Remove and serve with crushed black pepper and more herbs.

Nutrients and calories (per serving):

Calories: 812 Kcal, 25g Fat, 70g carbs, 65g protein

The garlic along with the other vegetables here, have tons of anti-inflammatory benefits, vitamin c and also help to lower blood pressure. Along with the protein, fats and carbs, this is a great combo for muscles in serious need of growth and repair!



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