Find the best healthy pasta recipes for everything from delicious, lightened up alfredo to amazing bolognese to Asian pasta dishes and more.
If you are anything like me, then you entirely are a fanatic of healthy pasta recipes. Pasta is such a delicious comfort food that you can prepare several different ways. I love it all, whether it is rich and creamy, tomato based, made with store-bought noodles or homemade noodles. Besides my appreciation for pasta, I love that my kids and family also enjoy it.
I have compiled several recipes for you to look over so you can find some new meal ideas. Each one is tasty, full of flavor and cooked to perfection. You will be thrilled with the taste as well as how easy each of them is to whip up. With as busy as the world is, we all need some easy meal ideas to make life a little less hectic. Happy cooking!
Creamy Healthy Pasta Recipes
One Pot Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta tastes like a million bucks with its creamy sauce and tender chicken. The presentation of this dish is stunning too! Pair this with some garlic breadsticks.
Creamy Chicken and Broccoli has juicy plump chicken, fiber, broccoli and a sauce made of minced garlic, onion, milk, chicken broth, grated parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta has everything you could want in a pasta dish. Tons of flavor, hearty pasta and looks fantastic. The cauliflower takes it to the next level of delicious!
Creamy Cajun Chicken Shells makes a hearty lunch or dinner and its terrific as leftovers if you are lucky enough to have any. The fire roasted tomatoes are the star of the show and take it to a whole new level.
Vegetable Alfredo tastes indulgent but is actually made with a lightened up Parmesan cream sauce and tons of delicious veggies.
Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese is a recipe that kids go crazy for but tastes good enough to serve to any adults as well. Packed with veggies and a lightened up cheese sauce.
One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta is a creamy vegetarian pasta dish that incorporates the flavors in a traditional piccata with lemons and capers.
Creamy Cajun Chicken Shells is a spicy and creamy pasta with peppers, onions, tomatoes, and chicken breast that tastes just like your favorite restaurant dish.
Asian Inspired Healthy Pasta Recipes
Healthy Chicken Lo Mein is so fast and easy to make and you can trick your family into thinking it was actually takeout! Thankfully, this is way healthier than a restaurant style meal. Take this to your next party or event and watch it disappear!
Spinach and Mushroom Lo Mein is so good it almost tastes sinful to eat. The noodles are cooked perfectly, and the sauce has soy sauce and is subtly sweet if you have never eaten it with chopsticks you should!
Asian Noodle Salad with Broiled Hoisin Chicken Thighs has the most fantastic honey and soy sauce dressing that you have ever tasted. The chicken thighs paired with the noodles is a home run! The chicken thighs end up caramelized and you will seriously want more of them.
Healthy Peanut Noodles with Chicken is a healthier spin on traditional peanut noodles with the most delicious homemade peanut sauce.
Copycat Panda Express Chow Mein is one of the most popular "pasta" side dishes around but it is normally packed with calories. This lightened up version tastes just as good with less than half the calories.
Healthy Pasta Recipes That Are Scrumptious Casseroles
Baked Roasted Vegetable Ziti is packed full of fresh vegetables like summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, red bell peppers, and onion. The Italian flavors are out of this world! Serve with your favorite garlic bread and a side salad.
Healthy Eggplant Parmesan is cheesy, crunchy and filled with all the yumminess your taste buds desire. This is a perfect dish to get your kids to eat their veggies because the eggplant is flawless!
Spinach Artichoke Pasta is precisely what you need when you are craving take out but don’t want all the unhealthy calories. This pasta is legendary with its rich creaminess. The pasta cooks beautifully, and your kids are going to gobble up every last bite.
Healthy Sausage Pasta with Vegetables has the winning combination of turkey sausage, ziti noodles, vegetables, and seasonings. I have to warn you that when you make this dish, you won’t have any leftovers because it is such a hit!
Easy One Pot Chili Mac immediately makes you feel the comfort and warmth of being a kid again. Plus, you are going to be thrilled with how simple it is to make. I love the hearty black beans and corn in this recipe too.
Healthy Zucchini Lasagna is a comforting and rich lasagna that's also packed with thin layers of zucchini for the best of both worlds.
Tomato Based Healthy Pasta Recipes
Creamy Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Pasta combines creamy and tomato based sauce into one desirable dish that you keep coming back for more of. You can throw a batch together and sit down to eat it in around thirty minutes!
Spaghetti Arrabiata with Turkey is a new spin on your traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe. Pairing the pasta with the lean turkey, you end up with a much healthier meal that you don’t have to feel guilty for eating.
Healthy Zucchini Lasagna is the perfect spin on regular lasagna that gives you all the flavor you could want without having to worry about your waistline. It has tons of healthy nutrients and will keep you nice and full.
Sausage, Spinach, and Cherry Tomato Pasta Arrabiata tastes so amazing you won’t forget this dish once you sink your teeth into it. This pasta has loads of Italian flavors. Every morsel is going to be devoured!
Spicy Sausage, Spinach, and Mushroom Lasagna is terrific for serving at your next dinner party. Using sausage in the lasagna gives it new and amazing flavors that no one will be able to get enough of.
Pasta with No Cook Tomato Sauce is my go-to recipe during hot summer months when I want to take advantage of all the incredible tomatoes and have a cool, refreshing pasta option.
More Healthy Pasta Recipes to Try
One Pot Chicken Fajita Pasta is packed with all the flavors of chicken fajitas but in a family friendly, creamy pasta dish.
Spinach Tortellini Soup packed with lean ground turkey, tortellini, and spinach in a delicious tomato chicken broth.
Skinny Chicken Broccoli Alfredo is made with a sauce that uses a secret ingredient to make the most delicious, healthy alfredo sauce.
Lemon Orzo with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage isn't always what we think of when we think of pasta, but orzo is simply pasta in a small rice like shape. Paired with chicken sausage and lemon, this one dish recipe tastes amazing.
One Pot Caprese Pasta with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and balsamic vinegar takes all the flavor of your favorite summer salad in a one pot healthy pasta dish.
Lemon Broccoli Pasta with Shrimp is a great light and healthy pasta dish that is a twist on a classic shrimp scampi that is always a hit.
Tips for Making Healthy Pasta
Pasta gets a bad reputation and many people automatically think they need to cut it out of their diets if they are trying to eat healthily. However, pasta can easily be a part of any healthy diet. Especially if you follow these simple tips.
1. Add vegetables
A good rule of thumb is to try to make your recipe half pasta and half vegetables. That means for every 8 ounces of pasta you are cooking, you should aim to include about 4 cups of veggies. This simple trick not only ensures you are getting your daily serving of vegetables, but it also gives you double the portion size. A simple way to incorporate this is to use zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or another veggie noodle. For example, when making bolognese, we always use half spaghetti squash. No one even notices.
2. Reach for lean proteins
Another trick for making your pasta more filling is to add lean proteins. Think about incorporating things like lean ground turkey, chicken breast, shrimp, or fish. You can also use plant based protein sources like chickpeas, lentils, tofu, and beans. By adding lean proteins, you add protein, vitamins, minerals, and make the portion size larger. It's a win-win.
3. Pay attention to portion sizes
One of the hardest things about eating pasta is sticking to the proper serving size. Many of us don't realize that a plate of pasta we order at a restaurant is usually 3-4 servings. Instead, focus on measuring your portion sizes and trying to stick to around 1 cup of cooked pasta. With the veggies and lean protein you add, you can still get a rather large serving. It just won't be all pasta.
4. Consider whole wheat or alternative pasta
If you want to add some extra nutrients and whole grains, consider using a whole wheat pasta or high fiber pasta. You can also try out one of the alternative pasta options out there like those made with chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, or edamame.
5. Avoid creamy sauces (or lighten them up)
Pasta itself is not that unhealthy of an ingredient, but the rich and creamy sauces that often top pasta can pack in tons of calories and saturated fats. Try to stick to lighter sauces, like those made with tomatoes, olive oil, lemon, and other lighter ingredients. You can also still enjoy creamy sauces, but make them with lighter ingredients like skim milk, light cream cheese, part skim ricotta cheese, and mozzarella.
6. Cook it al dente
Believe it or not, many studies show that our bodies have to work harder to digest al dente pasta than they do to digest pasta that has been cooked longer. This means some extra calorie burn, although it's probably not enough to make a huge difference.