Get the creamy, carby pasta taste you love with these good-for-you recipes
Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta
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"Good old-fashioned Italian is so flavorful, but it's not always so great for your waistline," says Tyson Foods executive chef Mario Valdovino. "Luckily, between the high-protein chicken and the tomatoes which contain lycopene, you can feel good eating this dish."
8 ounces whole-wheat linguine pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces chicken breast, sliced (or Tyson Grilled and Ready® Fully Cooked Frozen Chicken Breast Strips)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil, drained
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, garlic, and broth and cook about 10 minutes each side (or add prepackaged chicken strips and follow package directions). Meanwhile, place hot pasta, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, basil, and pepper flakes in a pot. Turn heat to low and toss to mix well. Add cheese and toss. Divide pasta among plates and top with chicken.
Nutrition score per serving: 390 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated), 48g carbs, 31g protein, 2g fiber
Fettuccine with Asparagus
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"Asparagus is a great option because it contains vitamins A for healthy cells and vitamin K for blood clotting, and studies show it has anti-inflammatory properties," says Barilla registered dietitian Anna Rosales." If you don't have or like the taste of asparagus, Barilla executive chef Lorenzo Boni, who developed the recipe, recommends using trimmed and quartered artichokes or sliced zucchini.
1 box (16 ounces) fettuccine
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches asparagus, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, sauté shallots in olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Add broth and simmer for 2 minutes. Blend approximately 1/3 mixture in a covered blender until well combined, then return mixture to the skillet. Add fettuccine and tomatoes and toss for 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and cheese before serving.
Nutrition score per serving: 280 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated), 46g carbs, 11g protein, 2g fiber
Mongolian Steak and Noodles
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"I often start with the sauce when developing a recipe," says Sarah Berndt, R.D., of the George Foreman Grills Weight-Loss Challenge. "This one is nutrient-dense, made from ingredients that people often have on hand, and can be enjoyed hot or cold."
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
4 ounces lean steak
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 cup cooked whole-grain spaghetti
1 cup cooked fresh or frozen stir-fry vegetables (such as peppers, snap peas, mushrooms, or onions)
Preheat indoor or outdoor grill. (If you don't have one, cook steak in a nonstick pan.) Whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, brown sugar, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Rub steak with oil and grill 6 to 8 minutes. Slice meat. Toss noodles with vegetables, sauce, and grilled steak in a medium-sized bowl. Top with cilantro to taste.
Nutrition score per serving: 446 calories, 16g fat (3g saturated), 30g carbs, 44g protein, 8g fiber
Spinach- and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells
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"This is one of my favorite go-to meals on busy days," says registered dietitian and National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods spokesperson Estela Schelle. "I combine the frozen spinach, which is high in vitamins A and K, with a low-sodium marinara sauce for a healthier dinner."
Serves: 6 to 7
1 box (16 ounces) jumbo pasta shells
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 box (9 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 dash fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 egg yolk
1 jar (24 ounces) low-sodium pasta sauce
1/2 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, spinach, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, Italian seasoning, and egg yolk in a bowl, stirring until combined and mixed through. Spray a 13-by-9 inch oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray. Pour half the marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Take each pasta shell and carefully stuff with about 2 to 3 tablespoons cheese mixture and place onto baking dish. Repeat until all shells are filled. Evenly pour remaining marinara sauce on top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition score per serving: 487 calories, 15g fat, (8g saturated), 59g carbs, 25g protein, 9g fiber
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
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"This makes a great side dish, but since it's packed with delicious veggies and tender chicken, it's also hearty enough to be a main course," says Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien. "Be ready to take your taste buds on a little trip to the Mediterranean Sea."
1 cup rotini pasta
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped red onion
4 ounces cooked and chopped skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup roasted red peppers packed in water, drained and chopped
1/4 cup fat-free Italian dressing
3 tablespoons reduced-fat feta cheese
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
Cook pasta in a medium pot according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Bring a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray to medium-high heat. Cook zucchini and red onion until softened, about 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pasta and let cool. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
Nutrition score per serving: 320 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated), 46g carbs, 21g protein, 5g fiber
Gluten-Free Lemon Swiss Chard Pasta
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"I created this recipe for my celebrity clients who are looking to stay slim while enjoying whole-grain pasta and healthy fats," says personal chef and celebrity nutritionist Amie Valpone, who blogs at The Healthy Apple.
1 cup gluten-free pasta (such as Heartland)
1 head Swiss chard, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup kalamata olives
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook Swiss chard in olive oil over medium heat until wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add cooked pasta, olives, cilantro, scallions, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika, salt, and pepper, and gently toss to combine.
Nutrition score per serving: 148 calories, 8g fat (3g saturated fat), 17g carbs, 3g protein, 3g fiber
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"Being a seafood lover and someone who is always on the run, I turn to shrimp for a quick meal," says reality TV star and executive chef Ronaldo Linares. "They're delicious, cook in minutes, and add a wonderful flavor to this Cuban-inspired dish."
2/3 cup penne pasta
2 teaspoons plus 1/4 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/4 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 zucchini, peeled and cut into ribbons
1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Toss pasta with 1 teaspoon olive oil and set aside. In a food processor or blender, blend cilantro and avocado to make a paste. Set aside.
2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons olive oil, onion, garlic, paprika, and oregano and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add shrimp and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water and turn heat to low. Cook for 2 minutes. Add zucchini, pasta, and remaining pasta water. Season again with salt and pepper. Simmer for another minute and fold in avocado and cilantro paste.
Nutrition score per serving: 427 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated), 44.5g carbs, 20g protein, 6g fiber
Whole-Wheat Pasta with Charred Tomato Sauce
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“This dish is an interpretation of a classic Sicilian dish called Pasta alla Norma," says Spina restaurant executive chef Joe Marcus. "I put a healthy spin on it by using a whole-wheat pasta and going lighter on the cheese."
3/4 cup whole-wheat penne
7 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin oilve oil
1/4 eggplant, diced
1/4 white onion
3 tablespoons part-skim ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon crushed pepper
5 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wrap 5 cloves garlic in tinfoil with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and salt. Roast 45 minutes or until golden-brown and soft.
2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on the stove and sauté eggplant until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Rub tomatoes, remaining 2 cloves garlic, and onion with a little bit of oil and place on a hot grill. Grill for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a blender and puree about 1 minute until tomatoes have a smooth, paste-like consistency. Set aside in small bowl.
3. Mix ricotta, crushed pepper, and salt to taste in a small bowl. Add pureed tomatoes to a pan over medium heat and cook 4 to 5 minutes until hot. Add roasted garlic and its juices, eggplant, and pasta. Shift pasta around the pan to coat with sauce. Just before serving, add basil and stir again. Place pasta in a bowl and add ricotta mixture in little dollops on top.
Nutrition score per serving: 330 calories, 18g fat (4g saturated), 28g carbs, 10g protein, 8g fiber
Penne with Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Sugar Snap Peas
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"This dish cooks up in less than 20 minutes and has a rich, delicious flavor the whole family will love," says Julia Greer, M.D., M.P.H, author of The Anti-Breast Cancer Cookbook.
1 pound whole-grain penne
1 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 pound summer squash, seeded and julienned
1/2 pound zucchini, seeded and julienned
1/4 pound fresh sugar snap peas
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile place broth in a skillet large enough to hold vegetables and bring to a boil. Add squash, zucchini, and peas and cover to steam for 4 minutes until just tender. Add cooked penne and oil and toss until heated through. Divide pasta and vegetables evenly among 6 warmed plates or pasta bowls. Sprinkle each with cheese, basil, pine nuts, salt, and pepper.
Nutrition score per serving: 348 calories, 16g fat (3g saturated), 20g carbs, 11g protein, 6g fiber
Clams and Mussels Al Fuoco (on Fire)
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"I love this recipe because it makes a great presentation," says Michael DelGrosso of DelGrosso Foods. "The seafood also adds a healthy dose of protein to the meal."
Serves: 4 to 6
1 pound angel hair pasta
1 pound littleneck clams
2 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 jar (26 ounces) spicy tomato sauce (such as Del Grosso Uncle Fred's Fireworks Sauce)
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Scrub clams and mussels with a scrub brush to remove any dirt or sand. Dry and set aside in a large bowl in the fridge.
2. Add olive oil and garlic to a large saucepan over medium heat and cook about 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant but not browned. Add white wine and let come to a boil. Add muscles and clams, cover, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes until shellfish open. Turn off heat and remove clams and mussels from saucepan, discarding any whose shells remain closed. Save the liquid from the saucepan and strain it.
3. In another saucepan, heat tomato sauce and strained liquid over medium heat. Mix in basil, clams, and mussels and cook for 2 minutes. Pour over pasta and serve immediately.
Nutrition score per serving: 485 calories, 14g fat (2g saturated), 70g carbs, 21g protein, 5g fiber
Pasta, Tofu, and Veggies
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"This colorful pasta salad is packed with fiber," says says Keri Glassman, R.D., spokesperson for Konsyl Fiber. "And it lets you get your tofu on and your veggie fix."
1 cup whole-wheat pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic (optional)
2 ounces firm tofu
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup carrots
Cook pasta according to package directions. Add olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until onions are soft. Add tofu and cook for another 5 minutes. Mix in remaining ingredients and sauté another 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and sauté 3 more minutes.
Nutrition score per serving: 415 calories, 6g fat (1g saturated), 75g carbs, 22g protein, 15g fiber