The Healthiest Pasta Dishes You Can Make
Lighter versions of the foods you love, from mac 'n' cheese to penne alla vodka, plus new ways to mix vegetables and carbs.
Penne with Tuna, Plum Tomatoes and Black Olives
Turn common kitchen staples into a Mediterranean dinner with this simple recipe. Using Italian tuna packed in olive oil will impart the best flavor, though any kind will provide those important omega-3s. And since you'll be cooking the tomatoes, don't worry about using less-than-stellar winter ones—you'll still get all of their micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants
Get the recipe: Penne with Tuna, Plum Tomatoes and Black Olives
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Caper Pesto Sauce
While most pestos are made with basil, this one consists of salt-packed capers, garlic, anchovies and parsley. The result is a rich sauce that's perfect on any noodle—and high in antioxidants.
Get the recipe: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Caper Pesto Sauce
Rigatoni with Walnut Pesto, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli rabe contain a powerful range of disease fighters—one particular hero, sulforaphane, may increase enzymes that lower the incidence of colon and lung cancers. Rigatoni and sausage make this a filling dish.
Get the recipe: Rigatoni with Walnut Pesto, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
Healthy Mac and Cheese
Whole wheat pasta, Greek yogurt and butternut squash add flavor to this lightened-up version of the classic. It also contains low-fat milk and only a tablespoon of butter.
Get the recipe: Healthy Mac and Cheese
Seafood Pesto Pasta
The best part of this dish is how quickly it comes together—and the added bonus is that by cooking the shellfish (shrimp, scallops and squid, aka calamari) in boiling water, you avoid the battered-and-fried treatment. Shell-shaped pasta, peas, olives, a chopped bell pepper and a pesto dressing complete the meal.
Get the recipe: Seafood Pesto Pasta
Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms, Shallots and Mint
A mushroom pasta dish is healthier and more flavorful with hearty Japanese soba noodles instead of regular semolina pasta. Buckwheat has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn
and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine.
Get the recipe: Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Sautéed Mushrooms, Shallots and Mint
Pasta with Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce
Chef Cat Cora makes this tangy dish by cooking garlic, jarred roasted red peppers (which are high in carotenoids) and canned chopped tomatoes, and then whirling them in a food processor or blender.
Get the recipe: Pasta with Roasted Pepper and Tomato Sauce
White House Turkey Lasagna with Spinach
Meaty lasagna oozing with cheese and infused with fresh, aromatic herbs doesn't have to be overrun with calories. White House chef Sam Kass' version of this crowd-pleaser helps you eat healthier by substituting beef with turkey and using low-fat cheeses.
Get the recipe: White House Turkey Lasagna with Spinach
Farm Market Penne
Chef Art Smith offers two variations of this dish: Make it with just white Cheddar cheese and tomatoes for kids, or with tomatoes, sautéed garlic, fresh herbs and a little chili pepper to spice it up for the grown-ups.
Get the recipe: Farm Market Penne
Penne Alla Vodka
The dirty little secret about pasta "alla vodka" is not the vodka but the hefty amount of heavy cream in the dish. Here, Rocco DiSpirito swaps the cream for low-fat Greek yogurt.
Get the recipe: Penne Alla Vodka
Farfalle with Pureed Peas and Chicken Recipe
Fresh or frozen peas, Parmesan, pine nuts and garlic come together in a smooth sauce for bow tie pasta. Add sautéed pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to give the dish some extra protein.
Get the recipe: Farfalle with Pureed Peas and Chicken
Chilled Peanut Noodles Recipe
Last night's pasta sitting in the fridge becomes today's perfect midday meal by adding a tangy, peanut- and soy-infused sauce and a heap of fresh vegetables for some crunch.
Get the recipe: Chilled Peanut Noodles
Spaghetti with Shrimp, Parsley, Mint and Garlic
The zingy flavors of parsley, mint, red pepper flakes and lemon zest offset shrimp's sweet notes.
Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Shrimp, Parsley, Mint and Garlic
Know your portions: The healthy eater's cheat sheet