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35+ Healthy Pasta Recipes for Weight Loss

Pasta can be healthy? Yes, it can! Here's how to transform a box of pasta into a healthy meal.
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A box of pasta is probably one of the easiest—and cheapest—pantry staples you can buy. But trying to throw together a pasta recipe that is filling and nutritious can feel daunting! Thanks to our list of healthy pasta recipes, you can easily throw together dinners (or lunches!) that you can feel good about eating all week long.

From stuffing extra vegetables for nutrients to healthy protein swaps, here's how to make your favorite comfort food even healthier. Plus, check out The Best & Worst Pasta on the Shelves—Ranked by Nutritional Benefits

Plus, don't miss our 22 Meals to Melt Belly Fat in 2022.

Crock-Pot Beef Ragu

Crock pot beef ragu recipe with pappardelle pasta and shaved parmesan
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Sick of the usual meat sauce and meatballs on a weeknight? Take your Italian cooking up a notch with this delectable beef ragu recipe. Not only is it easy to make, but this dump-and-go Crock-Pot recipe is perfect to prep and freeze for later!

Get our recipe for Crock-Pot Beef Ragu.

Asian Beef Noodle Soup

Asian beef noodle soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The slow-cooker soup here takes a cue from all three, combining rich ginger and soy-spiked broth with chunks of fork-tender beef, a tangle of springy noodles, and—for a fresh, high note to pair with the dark, brooding ones—a pile of fresh bok choy.

Get our recipe for Asian Beef Noodle Soup.

Macaroni and Cheese with Jalapeños and Prosciutto

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This spicy mac and cheese is based on béchamel—butter, flour, and milk—which helps cut the calories in half. We add jalapeños and prosciutto for some spicy, smoky goodness; feel free to leave them out though if you're not a spice fan.

Get our recipe for Macaroni and Cheese with Jalapeños and Prosciutto.

Baked Ziti

Healthy baked ziti
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Save your cash—and your ticker—and eat our healthier version of baked ziti. You can easily make it at home, and it won't weigh you down. This is home-cooked comfort food at its finest.

Get our recipe for Baked Ziti.

Spaghetti with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Bacon

Healthy spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The beauty of the dish is that just a few strips of bacon infuse an entire pot of pasta with a rich, meaty flavor, cut perfectly by the sweet of the tomatoes and the heat of the pepper flakes. No fatty sausage links, greasy ground beef, or fist-size meatballs are necessary in this spaghetti recipe.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti with Spicy Tomato Sauce and Bacon.

3-Cheese Ravioli with Cherry Tomatoes

Vegetarian 3 cheese ravioli with cherry tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Here, in this ravioli recipe, you get the depth and nuance of creamy ricotta, smoky mozzarella, and salty, sharp Parmesan, plus a sauce that would make anything taste great for just 510 calories.

Get our recipe for 3-Cheese Ravioli with Cherry Tomatoes.

Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo

Healthy red pepper alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This version of the fettuccine Alfredo recipe starts with a béchamel sauce, then blends that with roasted red peppers to make for a lighter, brighter, better Alfredo—for a quarter of the calories.

Get our recipe for Red Pepper Fettuccine Alfredo.

Sesame Noodles with Chicken

Healthy sesame noodles with chicken
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A box of fettuccine is just as appropriate for an Asian-inspired meal as it is for an Italian repast. Think of this meal as a salad, with the noodles standing in for lettuce. Add in some protein and as many—or as few—vegetables as you like, and toss the whole package with a light but powerful dressing, and there you have it: It's the culmination of four millennia of noodle knowledge!

Get our recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chicken.

Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto

Healthy gnocchi with peas and prosciutto
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Here, we take the classic Italian pasta pairing of peas and prosciutto, replace the noodles with dumplings, and throw in plenty of asparagus to round out the creation. You can make this gnocchi recipe richer with a drizzle of cream or half-and-half or a bit of butter, but this one is great as-is.

Get our recipe for Gnocchi with Peas and Prosciutto.

Lower-Calorie Bolognese Sauce

Pasta bolognese recipe on fork
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This Bolognese follows the same technique used for an authentic, velvety sauce, but subs in turkey for veal and lean sirloin for fattier beef. You can serve this over dried spaghetti or fettuccine, but fresh pasta really is best.

Get our recipe for Lower-Calorie Bolognese Sauce.

Italian Meatball Soup

Paleo meatball soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Though it's light in calories, this is still a potent bowl of goodness—served with a lightly dressed salad, it makes for an incredible weekday dinner. Also perfect for meal planning as it will keep great frozen in the fridge. Double the recipe and you'll be set for the week!

Get our recipe for Italian Meatball Soup.

Linguine with Clams

Paleo linguine with clams
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The inimitable combination of briny bivalve and slick noodle is one of our favorites in a classic linguine with clams dish, but the problem is, most versions are so short on clams, you need flippers and a scuba tank to find them. Our bowl of linguine with clams recipe is more clam than pasta, which also gives it a tastier and healthier ratio.

Get our recipe for Linguine with Clams.

Chicken Sausage Lasagna

Low-calorie sausage lasagna
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This version of the chicken lasagna recipe represents the best of both worlds, blending the cheesy, tomatoey comfort of the American version with the meatiness and relative healthfulness of the Italian take. Perfect for large dinner parties and for freezing. The only thing better than lasagna? Leftover lasagna.

Get our recipe for Chicken Sausage Lasagna.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Shrimp Lo Mein

Low-calorie shrimp lo mein
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Restaurant wok-fried noodle and rice dishes tend to be heavy on starch and oil, with a few token vegetables thrown in for color. Well, we're here to make our own takeout-level version at home! We prefer our lo mein long on produce, short on oil, and rich with the flavors that make Asian cuisine one of the world's best. Dig into this shrimp lo mein recipe!

Get our recipe for Shrimp Lo Mein.

Loaded Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables

Healthy loaded alfredo with chicken and veggies
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We ditched the cream and made a basic béchamel sauce with flour, milk, butter, and Parmesan in our version of an Alfredo pasta recipe. We solved the other major shortcoming of pasta Alfredo by adding chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and, for good measure, sun-dried tomatoes.

Get our recipe for Loaded Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables.

Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter

Vegetarian butternut ravioli with sage and brown butter
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Wonton wrappers may not always come in a box, but when you can make ravioli out of it, it certainly counts as one of our healthy pasta recipes! This butternut squash ravioli is everything a vegetarian dish should be: healthy, exciting, and super tasty.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter.

Italian Sausage Soup

Paleo italian sausage soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You can load this one full of vegetables, doubling the amount used below, and end up with a chunky, sausage-strewn minestrone.

Get our recipe for Italian Sausage Soup.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Healthy shrimp fra diavolo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We turn to a Little Italy favorite: spicy Shrimp Fra Diavolo, made from little more than crushed tomatoes, white wine, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

Pesto Gnocchi With Green Beans and Tomatoes

Vegetarian pesto gnocchi with green beans and tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

When you make this pesto gnocchi, figure 2 tablespoons per plate—and throw in some healthy extras like tomatoes and green beans to bring substance and balance to the bowl.

Get our recipe for Pesto Gnocchi with Green Beans and Tomatoes.

Turkey Bolognese with Fettuccine

Low-calorie bolognese fettuccine turkey
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Before there was spaghetti and meatballs, before there was tomato sauce with ground beef and Italian seasonings, before there was Hamburger Helper and bottles of Prego, there was ragù, a slow-simmered meat sauce that is heartier, more complex, and, yes, more comforting than its American counterparts. And that's what we go back to in this turkey bolognese recipe.

Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese with Fettuccine.

Beef Stroganoff

Paleo beef stroganoff
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Yes, beef stroganoff does count as one of our healthy pasta recipes. Though sour cream is normally stirred into the sauce at the last second, we tested this dish several different ways and found Greek yogurt tasted every bit as good for fewer calories. Just make sure to remove the pan from the heat before adding, as high temperatures can cause the yogurt to break, jeopardizing the smooth, velvety sauce you really want in this beef stroganoff recipe.

Get our recipe for Beef Stroganoff.

Zucchini Carbonara with Bacon

healthy zucchini carbonara
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

To lighten the dish, we've added a good amount of zucchini, which is cut in long, thin ribbons to mimic the shape of the pasta and help you cut back on the overall quantity of noodles. Beyond cutting calories, though, it adds a nutty sweetness to this classic for a healthy, hearty upgrade.

Get our recipe for Zucchini Carbonara with Bacon.

Mac and Cheese

Healthy mac and cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Over the years, we've tested dozens of iterations of the classic—spiked with chiles, topped with bacon, toned down with non-fat cheese. However, we keep returning to this formula: a béchamel base, laced with extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, and finished with a bit of yogurt to give the sauce that perfect texture. Are there more decadent bowls of mac? Absolutely—but not for under 400 calories.

Get our recipe for Mac and Cheese.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

healthy spaghetti meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Traditional meatballs are made with a mixture of beef, pork, and veal. Turkey, lean and tender, replaces the latter two in these meatballs, saving you major calories while simultaneously providing your taste buds with major yum.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Healthy fettuccine alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fettuccine Alfredo may not seem like a dish that can be on a list of healthy pasta recipes, but our version begs to differ. To dampen the Alfredo impact, we turn to our old friend béchamel, which creates a thick, creamy sauce without the calories of heavy cream and excess butter.

Get our recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo.


bowl of pepperonata

Pepperonata is spicy, tangy, and sweet dish of sliced peppers. You can serve it with pastas, salads, or sandwiches. It adds a nice pop of spice and flavor to pretty much anything and everything it touches.

Get our recipe for Pepperonata.

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash

slow cooker beef goulash in a white serving dish
Jason Donnelly

All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients into it, and let the time-saving slow cooker work its magic while you do whatever it is you need to do. It's that easy!

Get our recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Goulash.

Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups

Crispy crumb topped mac and cheese cups
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Sneak in some extra vegetable nutrients by swapping out regular elbow macaroni with veggie elbow macaroni! You can even sneak in some extra greens within each cup to add an extra punch of veggies in every bite.

Get our recipe for Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups.

Butternut Squash Pasta Salad

Butternut squash pasta salad
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

If you're looking for easy, healthy recipes, but you're tired of lettuce-based salads, this butternut squash pasta salad recipe will be a game-changer

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta Salad.

One-Skillet Taco Pasta

one skillet taco pasta with spoon, cotija cheese, and sliced avocado
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Sure, traditional pasta is great. But have you tried taco pasta? This easy recipe takes all of the things you love about tacos—seasonings, spice, and yes, cheese—and converts them into a pasta format. Taco Tuesday is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Get our recipe for One-Skillet Taco Pasta.

Pumpkin Pad Thai

Bowl of pumpkin pad thai with peanuts ready to be eaten
Blaine Moats

Not only does the pumpkin sweetness complement the overall flavor profile, but it's a superfood that will add fiber and vitamin A to an already healthy bowl. This is also the perfect way to use up that pumpkin puree you have leftover from making a pumpkin pie or a pumpkin cheesecake.

Get our recipe for Pumpkin Pad Thai.

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe

Healthy orecchiette broccoli rabe
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This classic combines slightly bitter, peppery broccoli rabe (or, if you can't find rabe, regular broccoli) and lean crumbled sausage with orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta shells that cup the sauce beautifully.

Get our recipe for Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe.

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine Pasta

Garlic shrimp scampi recipe with linguine on a marble counter with squeezed lemon
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Most shrimp scampi dishes are made with dry white wine. However, not all of us have a bottle of white open to cook with, so you can easily make this healthy pasta recipe without wine! You simply substitute the dry white wine for vegetable broth instead. It will give this dish a nice salty finish that pairs well with the shrimp.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Scampi with Linguine Pasta.

Rotisserie Chicken Parm Casserole

chicken parm casserole
Gail Watson Photography

The genius of getting a whole rotisserie chicken is that it can be used in a multitude of different flavor profiles and dishes—it's like a blank, protein-filled canvas. Especially when it comes to making one of the easiest healthy pasta recipes ever—this chicken parm casserole!

Get our recipe for Rotisserie Chicken Parm Casserole.

Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crock pot chicken noodle soup with bread on a table.
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Nothing beats a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold day, does it? Especially if it can be cooked with minimal effort! This recipe is delectable with some freshly baked bread (like a sourdough baguette) and a fresh, crispy garden salad with some Italian dressing.

Get our recipe for Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.

Copycat Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli

Two bowls of copycat Olive Garden pasta fagioli with parsley and parmesan cheese
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

While there are numerous variations to making a homemade Pasta Fagioli soup recipe, we decided to go directly to the source to see what was in Olive Garden's special recipe. According to the menu on the Olive Garden website, the ingredients in their soup include "white and red beans, ground beef, fresh tomatoes, and tubetti pasta in a savory broth." So that's exactly what we did to make one of the easiest healthy pasta recipes ever.

Get our recipe for Copycat Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli.

Crock-Pot Italian Meatballs

Crock pot Italian meatballs with spaghetti
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Can you ever go wrong with a spaghetti and meatball dinner? If you're looking for a meal to serve a crowd (or you an prep for meals during the week), throwing together a large crock-pot of Italian meatballs is one of the easiest tricks of the trade. Cook a box of pasta to pair!

Get our recipe for Crock-Pot Italian Meatballs.

Pumpkin Ravioli

pumpkin ravioli with pestp sauce
Blaine Moats

This recipe is fairly easy to make and only requires 35 minutes of your time before you can chow down on this delicious pasta dish.

Get our recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli.

As you can see, all kinds of pasta dishes can be included in a healthy diet. You don't need to go carb-free to lose weight a feel healthy.

A previous version of this article was originally published on March 17, 2020.

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