Pasta Recipes That'll Convert Anyone to Veggie and Legume Noodles

healthy pasta recipes with vegetables

A new range of healthy pastas and an anything-goes approach to sauce take pasta night to whole a new level.

01 of 11

The New Noodles

pasta noodles
Marcus Nilsson

Welcome to the age when almost anything delicious and healthy is being turned into pasta.

The new noodles are packed with health-boosting nutrients and a richness that gives dishes more flavor and complexity. You may think you need to seek out specific chickpea pasta recipes, red lentil pasta recipes, cauliflower pasta recipes, etc.—but you can use most legume and veggie pasta just like you would with regular noodles. (See: Are Those Veggie and Bean Pastas Actually Better for You?)

Need a litte inspo or a killer recipe to convince your skeptical friends? These meals will win you (and everyone else) over, combining the most exciting plant-based pastas with fresh ingredients.

02 of 11

How to Create a Winning Pasta Recipe

SHA0919WFOOD_07-pasta-dishes
Marcus Nilsson

Pick Your Pasta

  • To go veggie-heavy, try beet, fennel, ramps, chile pepper, saffron, cauliflower, and roasted garlic pasta.
  • Wheat-alternative pastas like quinoa, farro, and rice, will give you heartiness plus extra nutrients like magnesium and zinc.
  • Chickpea, lentil, and bean varieties are earthy and protein-packed. They shine in salads or no-cook sauces, which preserve their texture.

Select a Sauce

  • Craving creamy? Just puree roasted or steamed root vegetables like butternut squash, carrots, and parsnips with olive oil, salt, pepper, and pasta water. (These vegan comfort food recipes demo the perfect way to use plants as sauce.)
  • For a new take on pesto, try: kale + pecorino + walnuts, broccoli + pistachios + anchovies, collard greens + pecans + garlic, or parsley + almonds + Parmesan.
  • Or go heat-free: Try no-cook puttanesca, salsa verde, garlicky tahini, or grated raw vegetables and olive oil.

Top It Off

  • For crunch: toasted nuts, seeds, garlicky breadcrumbs
  • For freshness: freshly chopped herbs, grated lemon zest
  • For a zing: white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, agrodolce sauce
03 of 11

Squid-Ink Casarecce with Fennel, Chile, and Whole Lemon

Build a Better Bowl
Christopher Testani

The balance has shifted: Use more veggies—like leafy greens, mushrooms, and squash—and less pasta. Aim for a 2:1 ratio. This squid-ink pasta recipe is the perfect example. (Try to incorporate a rainbow of vegetables to get the biggest nutrition punch.)

04 of 11

Rice Noodles with Shrimp, Tahini, and Citrusy Herb Salad

The Finishing Touch
Christopher Testani

Rice noodles may not be ~new~ per se, but they add nice variety (and are often gluten-free!) to your usual routine of spaghetti or angel's hair. Plus, their lighter texture and taste pairs perfectly with fresh herbs and warmer weather.

05 of 11

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Crunchy Chickpea Pangrattato and Spaghetti

Fresh Tomato Sauce With Crunchy Chickpea Pangrattato and Chickpea Spaghetti
Marcus Nilsson

Chickpea pasta has about twice as much fiber as traditional noodles. (And, FYI, fiber is basically the most important nutrient in your diet.) Use them in this chickpea pasta recipe with a no-cook sauce that's the perfect way to enjoy ripe tomatoes.

06 of 11

Corn, Collards, and Egg Over Farro Pizzichi Pasta

Corn, Collards, and Egg Over Farro Pizzichi Pasta
Marcus Nilsson

Farro pizzichi pasta has a nutty taste and is pleasantly chewy. Its crimped edges are ideal for sauce to cling to. The bacon adds a dose of smokiness to the dish. (Also, just, BACON.)

07 of 11

Beet Pesto with Red Lentil Rotini

Beet Pesto With Red Lentil Rotini
Marcus Nilsson

Red lentil pasta is high in protein and fiber and naturally gluten-free. Poaching beets in a vinegar mixture makes them more vibrant. Pile them on top of the scarlet noodles in this red lentil pasta recipe to make a dish that belongs on Instagram.

08 of 11

Squash Bolognese Over Brown Rice Tagliatelle

Squash Bolognese Over Brown Rice Tagliatelle
Marcus Nilsson

This pasta is made from organic brown rice grown in Italy. It also contains eggs, which give the noodles solid structure. Steaming the squash preserves its bright-orange color for the Bolognese. (Did you know you can use butternut squash to make vegan mac 'n' cheese?!)

09 of 11

Zucchini Ragu with Cauliflower Penne

Zucchini Ragu With Cauliflower Penne
Marcus Nilsson

In addition to cauliflower, this penne contains yellow lentils, which give it 14 grams of protein per serving. The zucchini cooks down to a buttery consistency to perfectly coat the pasta.

10 of 11

Pappardelle with Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce and Spiced Almonds

Sauces That Sing
Christopher Testani

This creamy sauce is made with squash, so you get a bonus serving of veggies and also cut out the high-fat dairy that's often in dishes this smooth.

11 of 11

Beet Fusilli with Charred Spring Onions, Capers, and Feta

The New Noodles
Christopher Testani

Red lentil pasta isn't the only colorful option: Add more red to your rotation with beet noodles, which pair perfectly with tangy feta and capers.

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