Poor pasta gets a bad rap, especially with all the hype of grain-free diets. But when portioned correctly and paired with the right ingredients, pasta can actually be a fairly healthy meal. It’s as simple as adding in lots of seasonal veggies, cutting back on the cream and cheese and swapping out your regular noodles for ones made with whole wheat or gluten-free alternatives. You know you love the ease of tasty pasta dinners, so check out these 18 healthy recipes and add them back into your weekly meal plan.
2. Healthier Spaghetti and Meatballs: A plate of spaghetti and meatballs is always a crowd pleaser. Trade the meatballs for some lean meat and you’ll be all set for a delicious, nutritious weeknight meal. (via Tastes Lovely)
4. Asian Chicken Sesame Noodle Salad: A refreshing dish that can be served hot or cold. The mango adds just a touch of sweetness to brighten up your dinner and your taste buds. (via Lovely Little Kitchen)
5. Mediterranean Chicken + Pasta Bake: All of your favorite Mediterranean ingredients baked into one delicious casserole. Although it looks like it might induce a heavenly food-coma, it’s also packed with plenty of protein and veggies to give you lots of energy. (via The Clever Carrot)
6. Zucchini Noodles, Pesto and Mushroom Meatballs: Zucchini noodles give spaghetti squash a run for its money in terms of nutritious value. But either way, this bowl looks like the real deal. (via Drum Beets)
7. Shrimp and Veggie Fettucine With Cauliflower Alfredo: Cauliflower has been sneaking into dishes lately to make them healthier, and we don’t mind it one bit. (via Snixy Kitchen)
8. Orecchiette With Butternut Squash Sauce, Roasted Cauliflower and Peas: This one time when cauliflower snuck in and made our pasta pretty and purple! When fall rolls around, this butternut squash sauce will be just what you want for dinner. (via Ricotta and Radishes)
9. Creamy Sesame-Avocado Soba Noodles: Avocado supplies the creamy sauce in this Asian-inspired recipe. With the addition of soba noodles instead of regular, you have yourself a gluten-free and dairy-free meal. (via Blissful Basil)
13. Chicken Chow Mein: Another great takeout dish that you can make at home! If you throw it in a Chinese takeout box, your family will never even realize it’s actually good for them. (via Lisa G Cooks)
14. Roasted Garlic Asparagus Chicken Spaghetti: This is a perfect summer dish to try while fresh asparagus is in abundance. You don’t need too much pasta to make this come to life if you pack your plate full of veggies. (via Apple of My Eye)
15. Skinny Beef Stroganoff: One of our favorite comfort foods just got more comforting. The best part about eating this skinny dish is that you’ll still fit into your pants the next day! (via Live Laugh Rowe)
16. Mushroom Bolognese Kale Lasagna: A lasagna filled with veggies means it doesn’t have much room for cheese. This dish lets you save tons of calories without having to sacrifice flavor. (via Alida’s Kitchen)
17. Noodles With Ginger Pork and Bok Choy: Bok Choy is a secret ingredient in tons of Asian dishes. It pairs super well with stir-fry sauces and soy sauce, like in this balanced meal in a bowl. (via Nerds with Knives)
What’s your favorite healthy pasta dish? How do you make your meals healthier? Fill us in on your secrets in the comments below or on Facebook.