With hectic schedules and picky eaters, it’s not always easy to get a dinner on the table that everyone will love. That’s why we went on a search to find the healthiest pasta dishes that are easy to make, don’t require a tons of ingredients, and are sure to please the whole family.
Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes – (Cooking Light)
8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
5 cups bagged prewashed kale
2 slices center-cut bacon
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Directions: Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes or until almost tender. Add kale, and cook 2 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add pasta mixture, reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, black pepper, and salt to pan; toss to combine. Top pasta mixture evenly with bacon and cheese; drizzle evenly with lemon juice.Calories: 350
Sausage, Tomato, and Arugula Fettuccine (Cooking Light)
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces Italian turkey sausage
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby arugula leaves
2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, shaved
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid.
While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage. Break sausage into bite-sized pieces and add to pan; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently to crumble. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes and pepper; cover and cook 2 minutes. Mash tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to break them up. Cover pan; reduce heat to low, and cook 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add pasta, reserved 2/3 cup cooking liquid, and arugula; toss well. Sprinkle with pecorino Romano.
Notes: Try hot or sweet sausage, chicken sausage, or even vegetarian sausage!
Italian Sausage and Veggie Pasta (Fitness)
2 ounces uncooked whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1 precooked Italian-style chicken sausage, sliced into rounds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat spaghetti sauce, sausage, garlic, and vegetables for about 12 minutes, until veggies are tender. Top pasta with sauce mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
Kamut Spirals with Chicken-Artichoke Wine Sauce (Cooking Light)
1 (12-ounce) package kamut spirals
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans artichoke quarters, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
Chopped fresh basil (optional)
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add wine, salt, pepper, and artichokes; simmer 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened and chicken is done. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and 1/3 cup basil. Place sauce and pasta in a large bowl; stir gently to combine. Garnish with chopped basil, if desired.
Notes: Kamut is a whole wheat pasta that has extra fiber and protein. You can substitute any other sprial-shaped pasta or rotini – whatever you have on hand!
Garlic Asparagus and Pasta with Lemon Cream (Fitness)
8 ounces dried mafalda or rotini pasta
2 cups asparagus spears cut into 2-inch pieces
8 baby sunburst squash and/or pattypan squash, halved (4 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook asparagus, squash, and garlic in hot margarine for 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to pasta. Combine whipping cream and lemon peel in skillet. Bring to boiling. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup. To serve, pour cream mixture over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.
Wide Noodles with Chicken and Lima Beans (Fitness)
8 ounces dried pappardelle or mafalda pasta, fettuccine, or wide egg noodles
1 10-ounce package frozen baby lima beans
1 14-1/2-ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
6 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Snipped fresh chives (optional)
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions, adding lima beans to the water with pasta. Drain pasta and beans; return to saucepan.
Meanwhile, place undrained tomatoes in a food processor bowl or blender container. Cover and process or blend until pureed; set aside.
Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. For sauce, in a large skillet cook chicken, onion, and pepper in hot oil over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat; stir in tomatoes and chicken broth. Simmer about 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cream; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more or until sauce is desired consistency. Pour sauce over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Transfer pasta mixture to a warm serving dish. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chives.
Baked Ziti (Hungry Girl)
5 oz. (about 1 1/2 cups) uncooked whole-wheat or high-fiber ziti or penne pasta
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 cups chopped brown mushrooms
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
3/4 cup low-fat/light ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tbsp. reduced-fat Parmesan-style grated topping
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain well, place in a large bowl, and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring an extra-large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Add onion and, stirring occasionally, cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and raise temperature to medium high. Continue to cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft, about 3 minutes.
Add spinach to the skillet and, stirring often, cook until spinach has wilted and excess moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in ricotta cheese and basil. Transfer contents of the skillet to the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Toss gently to mix.
Spray an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray, and carefully fill with contents of the bowl. Evenly top with Parm-style topping and remaining 2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven until entire dish is hot and cheese on top has melted, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, and then serve and enjoy!
Serving Size: 1/4th of recipe Calories: 286
Vegetarian Chili Macaroni (Hungry Girl)
One 14.5-oz. can stewed tomatoes, roughly chopped, juice reserved
1 cup canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms)
1 onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped portabella mushrooms
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/4 tsp. ground cumin, or more to taste
5 oz. (about 1 1/4 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni with at least 2g fiber per 2-oz. serving
1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
Optional: cayenne pepper
Directions: To make the chili, bring a large pot sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat on the stove. Add all ingredients — including the reserved tomato juice — except macaroni and cheese. Stir thoroughly. Cover and cook until veggies are tender, about 15 minutes, occasionally removing the lid to stir.
Meanwhile, prepare macaroni according to package instructions, in boiling water for about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Once both are cooked, add drained pasta to the pot of chili. Mix thoroughly. Season to taste with cayenne pepper and cheese.
Serving Size: 1 3/4 cups Calories: 297, 19 g protein, 9g fiber