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Oct 12

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

Sometimes you just want comfort food. When that craving strikes, nothing hits the spot like pasta pockets stuffed with cheese and smothered in a creamy sauce with little bits of bacon throughout. Is your mouth watering yet? Wait, there’s more. This isn’t your average Alfredo sauce. This cheesy sauce is brightened up with fresh lemon and it packs a slight hint of heat from the crushed red pepper. This Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake has a great combination of flavors. You’ll feel like you indulged but your waistline won’t show it! Now that’s comforting.

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

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Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake

Yield: 6 servings


  • 12 oz package of dry Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (I used Barilla – find in the dry pasta aisle)
  • 2 slices center cut bacon
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, loose, not packed
  • 1 ½ oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2/3 cup reduced fat 2% shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Cook the tortellini in a large pot according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, place bacon in a sauté pan or large skillet and bring over medium-high heat. Cook for 7-9 minutes until crisp. Remove bacon from the pan and place on paper towels to dry. Leave one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan (if you have less than that like I did you may want to add a little butter to make up the difference. I counted one tablespoon of bacon grease in the recipe builder. If you want to make this vegetarian then just skip the bacon altogether and use butter). Add the garlic to the bacon grease and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour to the pan and whisk into grease. Add the milk slowly and continue to whisk until combined. Add the salt, pepper, basil and red pepper flakes and stir. Bring sauce to a simmer.
  4. Once sauce is simmering, add lemon juice and lemon zest to sauce. Stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.
  5. Drain the tortellini and place back into the pot. Crumble the bacon and set aside. Add the spinach along with most of the Parmesan and the Mozzarella (reserve some of each to sprinkle on top). Add the sauce and stir everything together to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan, Mozzarella and bacon over the top.
  6. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
9 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on

Nutrition Information:
377 calories, 45 g carbs, 1 g sugars, 15 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 19 g protein, 5 g fiber (from

adapted from Our Best Bites

Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake


40 Responses to “Creamy Lemon Tortellini Bake”

  1. #
    Paolina — October 12, 2011 @ 12:35 am

    This looks amazing!!! I LOVE tortellini, but I can’t remember the last time I ate them. I’ll plan on using turkey bacon since the boyfriend doesn’t eat pork.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. #
    Cyndie — October 12, 2011 @ 1:17 am

    I can’t wait to get my oven repaired tomorrow so I can try some of these delicious looking recipes you are posting on here. I am an immediate fan (your mom sent me your way!).

  3. #
    Becky — October 13, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    Made this for dinner tonight and LOVED it! The lemon adds such a nice surprise. Have to admit that the hubby and kids were a little disappointed that the pasta wasn’t in a heavy, thick sauce, but that is exactly what I liked about it! Thanks for helping me to stay on track with your yummy, lighter recipes!!

  4. #
    emilybites — October 13, 2011 @ 1:46 am

    Thanks Paolina and Cyndie – definitely let me know if you try it!

    Becky – glad you loved it!

  5. #
    Danielle — November 1, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    Hi Emily,
    I made this last night and it was SO GOOD. I’m pretty excited to heat up my leftovers for lunch today.
    I did modify a few things, since my husband is vegetarian- I upped the spinach and added tomatoes and mushrooms- This one is definitely a keeper.

  6. #
    Anonymous — January 11, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    I’m embarassed to admit that I’ve been married for 3 years, and this is the first meal that I’ve ever cooked my husband. He knew that I wasn’t handy in the kitchen from the get-go. 🙂 We LOVED it! And I love that you added the WW points! You’re a girl after my own heart. I ate my 1/6th portion, and have the others saved for tomorrow and the next day’s lunches. So excited to show it off to my co-workers! Thanks again!

  7. #
    emilybites — January 11, 2012 @ 2:43 am

    Thanks Danielle! Glad you were able to adapt it, sounds yummy!

    Anonymous – I’m so glad you took the plunge and made a recipe! I never really cooked until about a year and a half ago, so if I can make it, you can too! The best way to build confidence in the kitchen is just to dive in and get cooking. And look, your first attempt was a success! So glad you and your husband enjoyed this. 🙂

  8. #
    Anonymous — January 25, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

    So good!!!

    • emilybites replied: — January 26th, 2012 @ 1:22 am

      Glad you liked it!

  9. #
    Anonymous — February 20, 2012 @ 10:46 pm

    Do you know of any reason why whole milk will not work? Just curious. Looks delicious. I can’t wait to make it tonight!! 😉

    • emilybites replied: — February 21st, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

      I can’t think of a reason that would be a problem. Obviously it will change the NI, but it should work fine. Hope you like it!

  10. #
    Christina — March 6, 2012 @ 5:39 am

    Made this tonight! AWESOME! It’s been an “Emily” day, made one of the pizzas for lunch…and it too was, AWESOME! Thank you!

    • emilybites replied: — March 7th, 2012 @ 1:52 am

      Haha, an “Emily” day! I love it. I am so happy to hear that the tortellini bake and pizza were both hits! Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  11. #
    Anonymous — March 22, 2012 @ 1:43 am

    Made this tonight and wow it’s so good, next time I’m going to try adding crabmeat in place of bacon. I am cooking my way through your blog we started here because I have been dying to tryit 🙂

    • emilybites replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

      I am so happy you loved it! 🙂

  12. #
    Anonymous — March 25, 2012 @ 11:18 pm

    How much is in a serving?? Looks incredible!!

    • emilybites replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

      It makes six servings. I just cut the dish into six sections!

  13. #
    Anonymous — April 2, 2012 @ 1:20 am

    My favorite pasta is a lemon spaghetti recipe from Rachel Ray, but this looks like it is much lower in calories with the same lemon flavor I love and I can’t wait to try it. Got the ingredients for the spaghetti & meatball cups today and will be trying it later this week. The Lemon tortellini will be on the grocery list for next week for sure!

    • emilybites replied: — April 7th, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

      I hope they are both hits! Let me know 🙂

  14. #
    meghann — May 14, 2012 @ 11:31 pm

    I added some chicken to this recipe and it was fantastic. My fiance and I loved it!

    • emilybites replied: — May 24th, 2012 @ 1:01 am

      Hooray! Glad you both loved it!

  15. #
    Nicole — June 17, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    Hi Emily, how do you think this would work out with Almond Milk, or maybe another type of non-dairy milk? I would use the unsweetened version. Thanks for you input!

    • emilybites replied: — June 17th, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

      I’ve never cooked with nondairy milk before, so I can’t say for certain. I’ve never even tried almond milk! If you give it a shot let me know!

  16. #
    KarleesKloset — July 5, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    Making this for lunch today!

  17. #
    Mary — August 9, 2012 @ 12:22 am

    I sure do love this recipe, and I appreciate your site and your recipes so much, Emily! I use way more mushrooms and arugula instead of spinach for a little more bite… but this is an awesome recipe. Super filling and satisfying. Thanks!!! 🙂

  18. #
    Brittany — November 15, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    Do you know what the nutritional information would be if I omitted the bacon?

  19. #
    Lisa — December 8, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

    Incredible. I have now eaten this 3 times. I made it just as written and loved it.

  20. #
    Anonymous — January 11, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    Could you use evaporated milk in place of the skim milk?

  21. #
    Anonymous — July 10, 2013 @ 11:15 am

    I read points is for 1/6 of the recipe, about how much is that if I measure it out in a measuring cup…

  22. #
    Whit — September 12, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Made this for the first time tonight and it blew me away. I have made many of your amazing recipes but this may be one of my favorites. Thank you so much!!!!!

  23. #
    Anonymous — October 10, 2013 @ 1:44 am

    Soooooo good! I just made this and the whole family loved it! That’s a feat in itself! It was easy and delicious and made me look like a great cook! I can think of so many variations on this recipe and so many uses for that sauce! Thanks again!!!

  24. #
    Lisa Hoskins — December 4, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

    Oh boy! I can’t wait to try this recipe. There’s nothing I love more than Barilla’s tortellini!

  25. #
    Meg — December 31, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

    Hi Emily! I am a new follower and so excited to try out all of your recipes, they sound amazing! Do you know the points plus value for a serving if you omit the bacon from the recipe? Thanks!!

  26. #
    Teressa Schumacher — August 4, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

    I just found this recipe and WOW I am glad we did!!!! I didn’t know this was such an old post… BUT YUM!!!

  27. #
    Libby — March 14, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

    Awesome recipe, so good. Kids loved it too. Made exactly as is. My 6 year old said, does this have lemon zest? Love that kid.

    • Emily Bites replied: — March 24th, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

      Haha, I love him too! Mini chef in the house :). Glad to hear it was a hit!

  28. #
    Ashley — January 11, 2016 @ 1:47 pm

    If I replace it with turkey bacon, will that lower the point value? Thanks!

    • Emily Bites replied: — January 11th, 2016 @ 2:49 pm

      I doubt it, but you can certainly try it out in the recipe builder!

  29. #
    Pepper — January 25, 2016 @ 3:28 pm

    This was absolutely outstanding and worth every point. I substituted turkey sausage for bacon. When I told my husband what I was making for dinner, he said lemon pasta-YUK. So he and my son went to Applebees. I then made this recipe for me. Later that night they wanted to try it and both loved it! The next day my husband asked me to make it for dinner! It is good the next day too. Thanks Emily!

    • Emily Bites replied: — January 26th, 2016 @ 4:14 pm

      Haha, I’m glad to hear they came around 😉

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