The great thing about pasta is that it is so easy to make – just cook, sift, throw in the sauce. But it also means that it is so easy to make the same thing with the faithful pasta box every time. Sometimes, though, we have to think outside the box. To help you do just that, we have put together our favorite healthy pasta ideas that are unique, delicious and easy to add to any menu plan. Plus, when old believers get a break from the meal routine, you may even miss it a little bit.
Joy Bauer’s Cold Pesto Pasta by Joy Bauer
Whip up this tasty spin on traditional pesto, stat! Each bright and vibrant bite contains a mixture of earthy kale, roasted walnuts, aromatic basil, EVOO, garlic and parmesan. The end result is a flavorful sauce bursting with vitamin C, beta-carotene and omega-3, three nutrients that play a key role in enriching your skin’s overall appearance.
Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta by Gaby Dalkin
This spotted version of Alfredo sauce is perfect when it’s a little chilly outside. The sauce is directly healthy compared to a traditional Alfredo, and no one would even know the difference, it is so delicious.
One-Pot Pasta with spinach and ricotta by Mark Bittman
Two simple vegetarian additions make this easy one-pot pasta a lively entree. You can customize the ingredients to suit your taste. You can use any kind of noodles you prefer, or replace the green with chopped kale, escarole or chard instead of spinach.
Avocado cream pasta with arugula and roasted cherry tomatoes by Samah Dada
The avocado cream sauce is both light and refreshing – qualities rarely found in creamy sauces. This sauce also retains a fantastic brightness with the addition of fresh basil and lemon and is extremely versatile.
Herby Lemon Spaghetti with Snap Peas by Valerie Bertinelli
Wake up to your dinner routine with this light and delicious pasta dish. It is quick and easy to toss together and bursting with fresh flavors.
Pasta alla Norma by Anthony Contrino
This simple, rustic Sicilian pasta dish is a Contrino family favorite. Sweet tomatoes, earthy eggplant and a little red pepper for spice make it a solid dish for any evening. Usually topped with ricotta salata, this version uses a whipped ricotta to balance the tomato-based sauce with a more creamy texture.
Broccoli and chickpea pasta by Marc Meyer
One of Dylan Dreyer’s favorite recipes, this easy pasta dish, checks all the boxes for a healthy, kid-friendly dinner: vegetables, starch and protein. Her son Calvin loves it, so you know it will be a hit with diners of all ages.
Mac and Greens by Chloe Coscarelli
Do you love a bowl of comforting mac, but would also like your greens? This right has covered you. Easy, creamy and desirable, it is 100% plant-based, so it is good for you and the earth.
Springtime Pasta Bake by Alex Guarnaschelli
This dish serves the wonderful need for comfort food without being too rich or heavy. It contains fresh asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes and sweet onions. Plus, it all gathers in the oven, making it a cinch for any evening meal.
Lens Bolognese by Samah Dada
It’s fun to use lentils in a Bolognese the same way you would meat, while keeping traditional elements like carrots and onions with you on the trip. The result adds a plant-based twist to a traditional and iconic pasta dish.
Roasted red pepper paste from Samah Dada
This pasta is flavorful, light and balanced while remaining a plant-based, vegetarian dinner or lunch that everyone will love. The roasted red peppers and garlic add a sweetness to the sauce, which is undercut by the sour tomatoes, lemon juice and spices.
Lemon-Tahini Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes by Samah Dada
In this paste, Samah Dada balances earthy sesame butter with some fresh lemon juice to make it creamy, light and sour. It is the perfect pasta when you also want something tasty and rich with a little bit of spice.
Harissa-spiced pasta with chicken with green beans by Chris Kimball
Harissa-spiced pasta and chicken with green beans reflect the cooking and taste of North Africa with the punch of harissa poisoned with Italian influence with the pasta shells.
Sunny’s Peppery Herbed Pasta by Sunny Anderson
Coarsely ground black pepper and red pepper flakes bring a unique spice to this simple pasta dish. It has only five ingredients, but it is completely bursting with flavor.
Pasta with charred Brussels sprouts by Chloe Coscarelli
Full of flavor and so easy to cook, this pasta dish is a go-to. The maple syrup balances any bitterness from the Brussels sprouts, so all you taste is the freshness of the vegetables.
Giada’s Paccheri with mushrooms and pistachios by Giada De Laurentiis
Mushrooms with Marsala and pistachios are a great combination of flavors, which is why this pasta is right now one of Giada’s favorites. Try using royal trumpet mushrooms, morels, cremini, shiitakes or oyster mushrooms. They all have different tastes and textures, and experimenting with new flavors is part of the fun!
Creamy Vegan Cacio e Pepe by Samah Dada
Cacio e pepe is one of the dishes that many people love because of its simplicity, but it is not easy to copy the complex taste of traditional Italian cheeses. Dada’s view of the Italian staple uses nutritional yeast and cashews to create a delicious, umami-wrapped sauce.
Vegan Mac and Cauliflower Cheese by Chloe Coscarelli
Eating dairy-free or vegan food does not mean you have to miss out on your favorite flavors and textures. This recipe has all the rich and creamy goodness of traditional macaroni and cheese without all that weight.
Easy vegan pesto by Samah Dada
Classic Italian pesto gets a healthy makeover with a large portion of spinach. This recipe is completely customizable with any topping you choose! Add bladder tomatoes, almond milk ricotta, more olive oil and something crispy. A gluten-free chickpea paste is great for added protein.
Pasta Carbonara with Shiitake Bacon by Chloe Coscarelli
The creamy, indulgent sauce is made from healthy, protein-rich tofu, but it tastes as if it has all sorts of dairy products in it. Top it with shiitake bacon (simply thin slices of roasted shiitake mushrooms with olive oil and sea salt) and it’s the perfect bait for your long term partner!
Baked Lemony Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta by Yasmin Fahr
The combination of broccoli, mushrooms and garlic with the bright lemon flavor and heat kick is divine. Baking the pasta gives the pieces along the edge an extra crispy texture that is deeply satisfying.
Pure green spinach mushroom lasagne by Candice Kumai
An ideal dish that often yields leftovers for later, this hearty, vegetable-filled lasagna hits all the right flavor notes. Even for those accustomed to its fleshy counterpart, this dish will be a winner.
Baked crushed lasagna pasta with spinach by Yasmin Fahr
This recipe is low maintenance so you can put it in the oven and then complete odd tasks around the house while it cooks. There is something comforting about digging up the thick pieces of lasagna noodles smothered in garlic red sauce. Plus, the spinach makes it feel like it’s a little bit healthy.
Spicy Italian mackerel spaghetti by Stephanie Harris-Uyidi
As a member of the tuna family, mackerel is a delectable yet understated fish that deserves more attention. A solid fish with a high fat content, it is known for its bold, tasty taste. When mixed with salty olives, sweet, sour tomatoes and fresh herbs, this seafood pasta is a must try.
Joy Bauer baked Ziti casserole from Joy Bauer
Cheesy, juicy, noodle-like and satisfying, this spotted baked ziti will not disappoint. Just imagine: Whole-grain penne tossed with minced meat, three different cheeses (mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan) and flavorful tomato sauce, baked to perfection in the oven. Joy Bauer also sneaks in a little spinach to get nourishment and fiber. It’s baked-ziti bliss.