Many people think they should cut out carbohydrates or certain foods to lose weight or be healthy. As a registered dietitian, I have some very good news for you. You might be surprised to hear that you don’t have to give up your favorite foods for the sake of eating healthily.
There are lots of ways to incorporate nutritious ingredients into your favorite recipes. You can even make healthy alternatives to your favorite recipes, pasta included.
Check out these healthy and delicious pasta recipes that use simple ingredients full of flavor and nutrition. This list has 20 easy, healthy, and delicious pasta recipes, including seafood pasta, chicken pasta, vegan options, pasta salads, and more!
Why are These Pastas a Healthier Choice?
Pasta is a great choice for a healthy meal because of its easy preparation and versatility. Pasta itself is an incredibly simple and nutritious food. It can be made from wheat flour and water, and there are several gluten-free options available. You can make hundreds of different meals, all using pasta. It’s great for adding more vegetables and nutrients to your diet.
All it takes to make pasta a balanced and complete meal is adding the following:
- vegetables (which provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber)
- quality proteins (seafood, meat, or plant-based options like tempeh)
- healthy fats (olive oil or sauces made from various nuts and seeds)
These unique combinations of fat, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates create a balanced meal with long-lasting energy while preventing blood sugar spikes and crashes.
For weight loss specifically, we suggest whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta. Pasta made of whole grains (wheat, brown rice, spelt, etc.) has fewer calories and higher fiber content, making it an ideal option for weight loss. Fiber keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer, which can help regulate appetite and reduce overall caloric intake.
Healthy Pasta Recipes You Should Try
This Caprese Pasta Salad makes an excellent make-ahead meal for the week or a great dish to bring to a summer BBQ. It’s an excellent source of protein, fiber, and micronutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. It’s also full of antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene.
This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by choosing a certified gluten-free pasta.
This simple healthy Greek Pasta Salad is dressed in a light homemade vinaigrette and ready in 15 minutes. This gluten-free dish has crunchy veggies like red, yellow, and green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, and feta cheese. It’s perfect for meal prep, family dinners, and summer grilling.
This dish is also packed with protein and fiber from chickpea pasta, healthy fats and calcium from the feta cheese, and vitamins from the bell peppers and arugula. One bowl of this pasta salad will surely leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
This vegan and dairy-free alfredo pasta recipe requires a little more time since you’ll make your own cashew cream. The process is super simple, though. All you have to do is soak cashews in water and blend them up.
You'll use vegan parmesan and nutritional yeast to achieve that cheesy flavor that is expected of alfredo. Nutritional yeast is also a great source of vitamins and minerals. It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
If you're looking for a protein-packed pasta recipe for a quick lunch or a light dinner, look no further than this chicken pasta salad with avocado, tomato, and basil. It’s loaded with healthy fats from olive oil and avocado. Plus, you can easily make this gluten-free by swapping out the pasta.
This low-carb, gluten-free Zucchini Pesto Pasta packs a ton of nutrition and protein. Zucchini is full of fiber, water, and nutrients, making zucchini noodles (zoodles) a great low-carb option that will leave you full and satisfied.
This hearty pasta recipe is perfect for a meatless weeknight meal, requiring minimal prep time. This vegetarian dish can easily be made vegan by swapping parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast.
There is no question about it: zucchini is definitely low in calories, full of heart-healthy nutrients, and filling fiber! This recipe takes some time to prep, but it’s worth it! It’s a great way to get more vegetables into your meal, and since zucchini is low-calorie, you can eat a pretty big portion. If you’re gluten-free, this is a delicious alternative to traditional lasagna.
This kale pesto recipe packs a nutritious punch. Adding kale to a traditional pesto recipe increases the nutrients by a ton! Kale is a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids. Toss your favorite pasta in this nutrient-packed pesto sauce. If you’re gluten-free, choose a gluten-free pasta. Vegan or dairy-free? Use nutritional yeast or vegan parm instead of regular parmesan cheese.
You’ll only need 30 minutes to whip up this easy and delicious chicken pasta recipe. It is super versatile, uses pantry ingredients you might already have on hand, and is a complete dinner that tastes so good you’ll think it came from an Italian restaurant! So whenever you crave comfort food, try this tomato, spinach, and chicken pasta recipe.
This healthy shrimp scampi is high-protein, nut-free, and low-calorie. The protein and healthy fat from the olive oil make this pasta a balanced and complete meal, preventing unwanted spikes in blood sugar. Taking just 20 minutes to prepare, this meal is the perfect healthy dinner recipe for a weeknight home.
Mac and cheese is already comfort food, but this cauliflower-boosted variety not only increases fiber and vitamin intake, but the veggie purée makes it super creamy. This version will satisfy your craving for something hearty and comforting, but the fiber will increase fullness and satisfaction.
Lasagna is one of the most satisfying comfort foods, and this one is no exception. It also goes to show that pasta isn't necessary. This sweet potato lasagna is higher in fiber and nutrients that you just won’t get from plain pasta. With no noodles to boil, it's almost easier to make than a classic lasagna.
We love one-pot dishes because they come together quickly and require minimal cleanup. This broccoli penne alfredo transforms a regular pasta dish into a nutrient-packed meal. The broccoli adds fiber and nutrients that slow digestion, prevent blood sugar spikes, and keep you feeling full for hours. Plus, you’ll have dinner in less than 30 minutes! Choose whole-wheat penne or gluten-free penne, depending on your nutrition needs.
This recipe is packed with protein, low in calories, and can be made gluten-free. The chicken breast gives this recipe a hearty serving of protein, while the whole-wheat pasta option fills you with fiber. Gluten-free chickpea pasta is also full of fiber and can be utilized in this recipe. Fiber is an important nutrient that improves digestion, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and promotes healthy cholesterol.
This dairy-free, vegan lasagna has all the delicious, rich flavors of a traditional lasagna without dairy or meat! The tofu ricotta and cashew cream add a ton of flavor and creaminess. If you want a simple, vegan, no-bake lasagna recipe, check out this tofu & mushroom lasagna.
Check out more healthy tofu recipes here.
This vegetarian pasta dish is high in fiber, heart-healthy, and low in calories. It’s a great way to add more veggies to your diet since it’s packed with spinach and peas. Plus, it’s super simple to make and only takes 20 minutes. It’s a great healthy meal for those busy weeknights.
This Tuna Pasta Salad With Pesto is an easy, healthy make-ahead lunch idea. It’s made with protein-packed canned tuna and a dairy-free hemp seed pesto. Simple, delicious, and ready in 30 minutes!
Smoked salmon pasta sounds fancy, but the truth is, it's the quickest and simplest pasta dish you’ll ever make. It comes together in under 30 minutes, making it the perfect dish to whip up on a weeknight, but still delicious enough to impress your guests.
This vegan cashew cream tomato sauce is a plant-based and nutritious alternative to a traditional tomato sauce made with heavy cream. The sauce is dairy-free, gluten-free, and so easy to make!
This tofu tomato pasta sauce is packed with veggies, fiber, and plant-based protein! It’s a perfect plant-based version of bolognese. It’s easy and quick to prepare, making it an excellent go-to weeknight dinner recipe and an awesome way to clear out the fridge. This recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free by choosing gluten-free pasta.
Not vegan? Try ground beef or ground turkey in place of the tofu.
Learn More About Healthy Nutrition with Signos’ Expert Advice
Signos is a great resource for expert advice on nutrition and healthy eating. Signos has a team of registered dietitians who compile evidence-based nutrition information to help you improve your health and wellness. Check out the resources here.
Signos CGM empowers you to improve your health by keeping track of your diet, exercise, sleep habits, and blood sugar. Knowledge is power, and a CGM can give you specific information about how your habits affect your health.
Find out if Signos is a good fit for you by taking a quick quiz.
Get more information about weight loss, glucose monitors, and living a healthier life