We don't normally think of pasta as a "good-for-you" dish, but the truth is, it’s always good on the taste buds. And in our minds, joy counts as a wellness cure, so for that, pasta will never leave a bad taste in our mouth. Besides, it's usually the carb-packed noodles, creamy sauces, and Parmesan that we generously grate on that gives it a bad wrap—but what if we told you there were some healthy pasta recipes out there? There are different degrees of healthiness, but we made it a point to run the gamut.
Some recipes sub in veggie pasta for flour-based, others call for half zoodles and half noodles, and if you’re craving macaroni like crazy, you can always throw a few handfuls of lentils into your favorite pasta (they’re packed with fiber, so they’ll fill help fill you up faster). Click through to see the eight healthy pasta recipes we can’t stop talking about (or eating).
Healthy Spaghetti Squash Alfredo With Crispy Kale Leaves Recipe
Fettuccine alfredo lovers, rejoice: Spaghetti squash noodles are garnished with kale and an über-creamy sauce. Skip the butter and flour in favor of olive oil and arrowroot starch—we swear that you won’t lose any of the flavor.
Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Pasta With Balsamic Sage Brown Butter Sauce
This simple homemade pasta is made with just two ingredients—flour and pumpkin (no machine necessary). Then whip up a sauce of salted butter, garlic, fried sage, white wine, and just a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. You’ll want to make this year-round.
Zucchini Pasta With Lentil Bolognese
The easiest way to control your carb intake? By throwing in some tasty lentils, you won’t go overboard on the pasta (aka you’ll fill up faster). Of note: A spicy red-pepper flake tomato sauce goes especially great over zucchini noodles in this dish.
Avocado Pasta Recipe
We all know avocados are filled with healthy fats, so they instantly add some nutrients to this pasta recipe. Blend the peeled fruit with garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and some leftover pasta water for a creamy—and good-for-you—sauce. A runny egg makes the ultimate topping.
The Creamiest Vegan (Gluten-Free) Mac and Cheese
A mac and cheese recipe that’s not unhealthy? We saw this dairy-free recipe on Root + Revel and had to share. Gluten-free pasta shells get fancied up with a creamy sauce whipped up from cauliflower, butternut squash, turmeric, cashews, nutritional yeast, and vegetable broth.
Linguine and Zucchini Noodles With Shrimp
What do you do when you’re craving the real stuff? Mix in half whole wheat noodles and half zoodles together for the perfect blend. Top your pasta with lemony shrimp and sprinkle with grated cheese… delish. Seconds, please.
Vegan Gluten-Free Pasta With Artichokes and Lemon Vinaigrette
Healthy pasta recipes don’t just include warm noodles—it can be a cold salad, too. This version calls for whole-wheat macaroni, roasted artichokes, and halved heirloom tomatoes in a refreshing lemon dressing. A dish of this makes a great work lunch the next day—your co-workers will be jealous.
Vegan Gluten-Free Pasta Salad With Artichokes and Lemon Vinaigrette
Yes, we already have one avocado-injected recipe, but we knew we needed to provide a lighter take on carbonara pasta. Bucatini and zucchini ribbons are tossed in a carbonara made from blended avocado, reserved pasta water, and egg and then topped with crispy bacon bits (sub in prosciutto if you like it better).
Creamy Zucchini Noodles With White Lentil Spring Onion Sauce and Cheesy Sunflower Sprinkle
Zucchini, asparagus, and lentils are all jam-packed with protein, so you know you're in good hands with this delicious recipe. The spring onions, miso, and lemon give it a unique flavor. You'll be back for seconds.
Pizza Low-Carb Lasagne With Zucchini Noodles
So this one is kind of like a pasta pie. It's labeled as lasagne but hear me out, this has zoodles instead of pasta noodles inside to layer it up. It combines all the comfort foods we love (pizza, pasta, and lasagna) in one delicious dish. Happy eating.
This post was originally published on January 10, 2018, and has since been updated.