Healthy Pasta Recipes

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Ginger Dressing
Photo: © Con Poulos

Swap out your favorite cream-based pasta dish with something lighter for a healthy weeknight dinner. Zucchini noodles, whole wheat pasta, grilled veggies and fresh seafood are some great ways to make any pasta dish a little bit healthier. These healthy recipes include soba noodles with grilled shrimp and cilantro and summer squash "linguine" tossed with shrimp.

01 of 29

Cheese Tortellini with Walnut Pesto

Cheese Tortellini with Walnut Pesto
Christina Holmes

Here's one of the quickest pesto sauces you'll come across. It's a perfect match for cheese tortellini, but you can use other tortellini such as mushroom or meat instead. The pesto is also great with just about any plain pasta.

02 of 29

Spicy Tonnarelli with Clams

Spicy Tonnarelli with Clams. Photo © John Kernick
© John Kernick
03 of 29

Fresh Chile Puttanesca

Fresh Chile Puttanesca

Top Chef finalist Sarah Grueneberg adds green olives, almonds and fresh chile to her bright, delicious puttanesca.

04 of 29

Angel Hair with Green-and-Yellow-Tomato Sauce

Angel Hair with Green-and-Yellow-Tomato Sauce. Photo © Kana Okada
© Kana Okada

Jere and Emilee Gettle love the Green Zebra tomato, which is as sweet as red ones but with a citrusy tang. They toss it with yellow tomatoes for a colorful, uncooked pasta sauce.

05 of 29

Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Chile Crumbs

Shrimp with Fresh Citrus Sauce

Dan Kluger adds crunch to this delicious shrimp and summer tomato pasta with crisp lemon-chile crumbs.

06 of 29

Fusilli with Summer Tomato Sauce

Fusilli with Summer Tomato Sauce

For this light, uncooked sauce, you must have perfectly ripe tomatoes. Be sure they're at room temperature, too, not cold. In fact, tomatoes shouldn't be refrigerated at all; chilling permanently reduces their flavor.

07 of 29

Spinach Fettuccine with Tangy Grilled Summer Squash

Spinach Fettuccine with Tangy Grilled Summer Squash. Photo © Con Poulos
© Con Poulos

At her restaurant, Amanda Cohen tosses herb fettuccine with pickled squash blossoms and grilled zucchini. This simplified recipe features squash that's pickled and then grilled, plus freshly sautéed squash.

08 of 29

Antipasto Pasta

Antipasto Pasta

This hearty, fast and easy pasta is a terrific combination of spicy, salty, sweet and briny flavors.

09 of 29

Sauce-Simmered Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Sauce-Simmered Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Top Chef finalist Sarah Grueneberg cooks parboiled spaghetti right in the tomato sauce so it becomes infused with flavor.

10 of 29

Fried-Zucchini Spaghetti

Fried-Zucchini Spaghetti

This pasta is an ode to the mountains of fried zucchini Gwyneth Paltrowate at Elio's, an Italian restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side, growing up. Here, she adds the crispy zucchini slices to spaghetti that's tossed with shredded Parmesan cheese (which adds texture to the dish) and plenty of olive oil and basil.

11 of 29

Penne with Smoked Chicken and Mascarpone

Penne with Smoked Chicken and Mascarpone
12 of 29

Kamut Spaghetti with Clams, Chicory and Parsley

Kamut Spaghetti with Clams, Chicory and Parsley

Chef Paola Budel updates linguine with clams by using pasta made with kamut (an ancient variety of wheat) and adding bitter chicory and a bright parsley sauce.

13 of 29

Rigatoni with Sea Bass and Tomatoes

Rigatoni with Sea Bass and Tomatoes
© John Kernick

Marc Vetri uses oversize paccherri for this seafood pasta, but rigatoni works just as well with the juicy tomato sauce and fish.

14 of 29

Spaghettini with Tomatoes, Anchovies and Almonds

Spaghettini with Tomatoes, Anchovies and Almonds

"We always ate fresh tomatoes with basil, but I never thought to add pasta to them," says Fran Parisi about Grace Parisi's spaghettini with its tasty no-cook tomato sauce. The almonds and anchovies add a bit of Sicilian flavor.

15 of 29

Sea Urchin Linguine

Sea Urchin Linguine
© Anna Williams
16 of 29

Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro

Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro
© Stephanie Foley

Garlicky, spicy and bright with lime, this noodle dish is both warming and energizing, according to Thai tradition. Just don't skimp on the lime wedges or cilantro: "The sour juice protects the respiratory system in the early spring," Su-Mei Yu says, "and cilantro helps when you're congested."

17 of 29

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese

The silky carrot puree mixed with the cheddar here is a terrific source of vitamin A and helps reduce the amount of fat in the recipe.

18 of 29

Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic

Spaghetti with Clams and Garlic
© SIMON WATSON

I look forward to going to Sicily for many reasons," says Frank Castronovo of his biannual trip to southern Italy. "One of them is because I'm amazed at how many times Frank [Falcinelli] can order linguine con vongole." Their exquisite, supersimple version is packed with garlic and a judicious amount of crushed red pepper. If you prefer, shell the clams before tossing them with their juices in the pasta.

19 of 29

Penne with Asparagus, Sage and Peas

HD-200904-r-penne-asparagus.jpg

For a simple spring dish, chef Cindy Pawlcyn folds penne with asparagus and sweet English peas, then adds a little cream for richness.

20 of 29

Zucchini Linguine with Herbs

Zucchini Linguine with Herbs
© Con Poulos

Grace Parisi treats shredded zucchini and scallions just like the linguine in this lush dish: She tosses them all in a buttery sauce with lemon thyme and tarragon and finishes the dish with pecorino cheese.

21 of 29

Stir-Fried Udon Noodles

Stir-Fried Udon Noodles

In this cookbook, top Chicago chef Takashi Yagihashi divulges his best recipes for ramen, soba, udon, rice noodles and more.

22 of 29

Angel Hair Pasta with Red Pepper Pesto and Basil

Angel Hair Pasta with Red Pepper Pesto and Basil

Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson (an F&W Best New Chef 2005) creates a simple summery sauce by blending roasted red peppers with traditional pesto ingredients, like basil and pine nuts, to toss with cool angel hair pasta. The pesto freezes beautifully and is also delicious spread on grilled cheese sandwiches or swirled into soups.

23 of 29

Goat Ragù with Fresh Spaghetti

Goat Ragù with Fresh Spaghetti. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
© Antonis Achilleos
24 of 29

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Tomatoes

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Tomatoes

Balsamic vinegar adds a hint of sweetness to this savory sauce. If the slight sweet-and-sour effect isn't to your taste, either omit the vinegar completely or use wine vinegar instead. The effect will be different, but no less delicious.

25 of 29

Buckwheat Pasta with Summer Squash, Tomatoes and Ricotta

Buckwheat Pasta with Summer Squash, Tomatoes and Ricotta
© Dave Lauridsen

"Our audience has really been receptive to our homemade alternative-flour pastas," says Travis Lett. He likes buckwheat for its added richness and texture. At the restaurant, Lett cuts the fresh pasta into rough rag shapes and tosses it with summer vegetables; this simplified version uses dried pasta.

26 of 29

Whole-Wheat Linguine with Walnuts, Orange and Chile

Whole-Wheat Linguine with Walnuts, Orange and Chile

Maria Helm Sinskey loves the fruity, spicy flavor of Calabrian chiles in this earthy pasta dish; they usually come lightly brined and packed in oil and are available at Italian markets and from dipaloselects.com. If you can't find them, substitute any chile packed in oil or just crushed red pepper.

27 of 29

Yellow Squash "Linguine" with Shrimp and Asparagus

Yellow Squash "Linguine" with Shrimp and Asparagus

When julienned on a mandoline, lightly sauteed summer squash does a great job of imitating pasta, making a light, healthy, gluten-free dish when tossed in olive oil with shrimp and asparagus.

28 of 29

Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables

Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables

Tossed with sweet acorn squash and roasted tomatoes, this whole wheat pasta from Eric Chopin is packed with fiber and vitamins A and C. Olives and toasted pine nuts add heart-healthy fats.

29 of 29

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Ginger Dressing

Zucchini Noodles with Chicken and Ginger Dressing
© Con Poulos

F&W's Kay Chun creates a healthy alternative to pasta by tossing spiralized zucchini and roast chicken with an aromatic Asian dressing. You'll need a superfine grater, such as a Microplane, to prep the fresh ginger and garlic.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles