Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce

by Erin

This cheesy tortellini spinach bake is coated in a creamy Meyer lemon sauce and topped with crispy bacon. Serve with roasted broccoli and garlic bread!

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce with Garlic Bread on the side.

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Last week, Stephanie (another student in the lab who is planning to graduate this spring) and I attended an electronic dissertation formatting workshop. It was 3 hours long and we both wanted to strangle someone by the time it was over.

Actually, we had that impulse before we even got to the workshop because we had an assignment to complete prior to the workshop which consisted of going through a 35 page mock dissertation and editing the formatting errors! Thankfully I did learn something from all of that, but think it could’ve been acquired less painfully.

Baked Tortellini and  Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce.

At the same time, neither of us now have very high hopes of finishing the write up of our dissertations in time to start the formatting review process the first of April. Especially since we both have lab work we’re still trying to finish up. It’s a good thing one can just finish whenever you’re done in grad school instead of only two days a year.

Anywho, pardon my rant. I will make it up to you with yet another recipe involving Meyer lemons – a cheese tortellini spinach bake. Cheesy tortellini are mixed up with spinach and bacon then covered in a Meyer lemon cream sauce, and topped with more bacon. Feast your eyes upon that plate of glory. (And watch as my frustration magically dissipates a little.)

If you loved this, check out my zucchini pasta with creamy lemon-basil sauce or sunchoke ricotta gnocchi with walnut thyme butter sauce.

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce

Post updated 8/21/2023, photo above is the original.

One year ago: Lighter Pizza Dip

Tortellini Spinach Bake in Creamy Meyer Lemon Sauce with Garlic Bread on the side.


Yield: 4-6 Servings Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat


  • 20 oz. cheese tortellini
  • 4 oz. (4 strips) bacon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tsp dry basil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil.  Add tortellini and cook according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, place bacon in a medium sized skillet on the stove-top at medium-high heat.  Cook until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain.  Reserve two tablespoons bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest.  Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 30 seconds.  Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk until browned, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with whisk until smooth.  Add salt, pepper, basil, and red pepper flakes and bring sauce to a simmer.
  3. Add Meyer lemon zest and juice to sauce.  Continue to stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  4. Drain tortellini and place back in stock pot.  Reserve 1 tablespoon of the cooked bacon and add the rest to the pasta mixture.  Add spinach, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.  Add sauce and gently stir to combine.  Place pasta mixture in an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish and top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan and also crumbled bacon.
  5. Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until cheese on top is melted and pasta is bubbly throughout.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Did You Make This Recipe?
I want to see! Tag me on Instagram at @TheSpiffyCookie and hashtag it #TheSpiffyCookie.

Source: Adapted slightly from Our Best Bites.

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Rachel @ Bakerita February 7, 2013 - 6:29 pm

This looks so good! I love tortellini, and I can’t resist lemony pasta sauces. Definitely trying this soon.

manu February 7, 2013 - 4:18 am

wow looks delicious!

Will definitely be trying this. Thanks!

JanetFCTC February 6, 2013 - 7:52 pm

What a great combo of flavors! I’m not sure the picky males in my household would like it because it has spinach, but you know what that means?? MORE FOR ME!!

nicole @ I am a Honey Bee February 6, 2013 - 4:58 pm

I could eat tortellini every day and be perfectly happy. Love that spinach, lemon, tortellini combo!

Jessica@AKitchenAddiction February 6, 2013 - 3:11 pm

I love everything about this dish! I can’t wait to give it a try!

spiffycookie February 6, 2013 - 9:28 am

Oh I am definitely glad it was before we starting writing! We were both irritated by the mock dissertation we had to fix because going through that at the same time as learning the guide itself was time consuming. Especially with everything else we have going on! But in the end I think it was helpful. Thanks!

Teresa February 6, 2013 - 9:13 am

It’s actually helpful to have the workshop before you start writing so you can use all of the styles initially. The workshop wasn’t held until March for me after I had written half of the dissertation. It was a pain in the ass to go back and redo everything. Good luck to both you and Steph!

Tracey February 6, 2013 - 8:42 am

Holy cow, everything about this screams “make me immediately!” I tucked away a few Meyer lemons in my fridge, looks like that was a good call!


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