A guilty pleasure that a lot of us have in common is the one, the only, PASTA. Can we even blame ourselves? Pasta is an explosion of the best flavors. We want you to still enjoy this yummy dish with way less calories and more healthy ingredients! Straight from Italy we have a ton of great pasta recipes on our blog! Keep on reading!
1. Skinny Spinach Lasagna
The name of this pasta dish starts with skinny, so already we’re hooked! This hearty lasagna has all the taste we are looking for and half the calories of our regular store bought lasagna.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 6 ounces fresh spinach
- 2 lbs. ricotta cheese (I used 1 lb. whole milk and 1 lb. nonfat)
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- a squeeze of lemon juice (optional, to taste)
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 24 ounce jar of spaghetti or marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s tomato basil)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme; saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach; saute until just barely wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, salt, nutmeg, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add the spinach and stir to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread a little bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
- Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, ⅓ of the spinach mixture, ¼ of the tomato sauce, and ¼ of the cheese.
- Repeat and pour ½ cup water over the two layers. Repeat once more, ending with noodles, sauce, and cheese. Pour ½ cup water over the whole thing again and cover tightly with oiled foil.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes; when the liquid is bubbling and the noodles have softened, remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes.
- Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving so that the lasagna noodles can soak up all the extra moisture.
2. Shrimp and Pine Nut Spaghetti
Love seafood? Perfect this shrimp and pine nut pasta is for you! It’s light sauce is the perfect way to enjoy a lot of this pasta goodness.
- 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 cup 1% low-fat milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano cheese
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add pasta; cook 7 minutes. Add shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are done and pasta is al dente. Drain; keep warm.
- While pasta cooks, heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add nuts to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Combine ½ cup milk and flour in a large saucepan, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Place pan over medium heat; gradually stir in remaining ½ cup of milk. Stir in mustard and nutmeg.
- Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly.
- Stir in salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add drained pasta mixture, cheese, and chopped basil, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle with nuts and torn basil. Serve right away!
3. Spaghetti with Sausage and Simply Delicious Tomato Sauce
Like it simple? Tomato sauce and pasta, this one is all yours, add a little sausage for some extra flavour and protein to fill you up!
- 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links
- 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup torn fresh basil
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano cheese
- Preheat broiler on oven.
- Arrange sausage on a small baking sheet. Broil sausage 5 minutes on each side or until done.
- Remove pan from oven (do not turn broiler off). Cut sausage into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange slices in a single layer on baking sheet. Broil sausage slices 2 minutes or until browned.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
- Place tomatoes in a food processor; process until almost smooth.
- Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add crushed red pepper and minced garlic; sauté 1 minute.
- Stir in tomatoes, sugar, and salt; cook 4 minutes or until slightly thick. Add sausage and cooked pasta to pan; toss well.
- Top with fresh basil and Parmesan.
4. Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto Sauce
- 1 (9 ounce) package of three-cheese tortellini
- 8 ounces of sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved diagonally (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 tbsp. sliced almonds, toasted
- 2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- Cook tortellini according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add snap peas to pan during last 3 minutes of cooking; cook 3 minutes. Drain.
- Place mint and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a mini food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl once.
- Combine oil and juice in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. With processor on, slowly pour oil mixture through food chute; process until well blended.
- Combine tortellini mixture and mint mixture; toss gently to coat.
5. Falafel with Watercress, Cherry Tomatoes and Feta
Haven’t heard of watercress? Well who cares? Pick some up and create this awesome dish!
- 8 ounces farfalle pasta
- 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cups watercress leaves (from 2 small bunches)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Place the cheese in a large bowl; top with the watercress.
- Before draining the pasta, take 1/4 cup of the cooking water from the pot and pour it over the watercress. (Watercress will wilt slightly and cheese will get soft.)
- Place the tomatoes in a colander. Drain the pasta over the tomatoes for a super-quick blanch.
- Toss with the watercress and cheese; sprinkle with pepper and serve.
6. Brocoli Pasta
Here’s an awesome recipe to make sure you are eating all your vegetables, but they taste so much better this way!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
- 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) seasoned diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 12 oz. rigatoni
- 1 lb. broccoli florets
- 1/3 cup of crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the garlic, and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (with juice), vinegar, basil, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook the sauce for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta is almost done, add the broccoli to the pot, and cook for 2 minutes longer.
- Drain the pasta and broccoli, and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the sauce, and toss well. Sprinkle with the feta cheese.
7. Creamy Zucchini Pesto Pasta with Chicken
- 8 oz uncooked noodles (Spinach High Fiber Noodles)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 pound chicken breast, cut into strips
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 2 medium zucchinis, sliced into sticks
- 2 tbsp. reduced fat cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. pasta cooking water
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 6 tbsp. water
- 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Using a food processor, pulse together all of the ingredients for the pesto. You will only need half for the recipe, so pack and store the remaining pesto.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook according to the package directions, taking it out 2 minutes early so it doesn’t overcook when you add it to the sauce. Reserve 2 tbsp. of the cooking water.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat add the butter and let it melt. Spray some additional cooking spray and add the onions. Cook for 3-5 minutes until they begin to soften up.
- Add the garlic and chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the zucchini. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and zucchini is cooked to your liking – about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta, pesto, cream cheese, and water to the pan. Stir together everything and serve.
8. Roasted Tomato Pasta with Basil
Here’s another simple one for ya! Good old tomato sauce is always a safe and delicious bet.
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 12 ounces medium pasta shells
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 cups whole roasted tomatoes
- Grated Parmesan and torn fresh basil leaves, for serving
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Toss with pasta. Serve topped with Parmesan and basil.
Now it’s time to turn your kitchen into little Italy and get to work on what delicious pasta recipe you are going to create!