You’ve been trying to keep it healthy, but after a long day, you’re not exactly craving salad. Enter these light pasta recipes that have all the flavor and comfort of classic carb-centric bowls, but with a little less guilt. From a creamy macaroni and cheese with a secret veggie substitute to peanut noodles under 400 calories that tastes like takeout, keep these dishes on-hand during busy weeknights or for summer barbecues.
36 Light Pasta Recipes That Are Full of Flavor
1. Lemon Broccolini Pasta
Infinitely more elegant than spaghetti with tomato sauce.
2. Carrot Pasta
These pillowy gnocchi clones use carrots instead of potatoes, which means more vitamins and fewer calories.
3. Grain-Free Mushroom, Spinach and Leek Pasta
You can use any variety of grain-free pasta, but we’re a big fan of the Cappello’s brand: fresh pasta that’s both gluten- and grain-free..
4. Golden Sundried Tomato Red Lentil Pasta
This bright red pasta is packed with fiber and healthy carbs—plus, it’s so much prettier than the regular kind.
5. Skinny Pasta Primavera
Half pasta, half veggies and topped with creamy almond milk sauce.
6. Skinny Fajita Shrimp Pasta
Make it with whole-wheat pasta for a little extra virtue.
7. Vegan Spaghetti Squash with Mushroom Marinara Sauce
Psst: Subbing in veggies for pasta means you can have two bowls.
8. Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta
Need an easy weeknight dinner? Use store-bought pesto.
9. Easy Balsamic Veggie Pasta
This fresh mix of vegetables and balsamic is filling and healthy at the same time.
10. Whole-Grain Pasta with Pesto, Mozzarella, Pine Nuts and Tomato
The perfect not-sad-desk-lunch option.
11. Baked Zucchini 'Ziti' Spirals with Mozzarella
Even the kids will love this one.
12. Vegan Zucchini Spaghetti Puttanesca
This recipe from Coterie member Ali Maffucci is little bit spicy, a little bit briny and a lot delicious.
13. Butternut Squash Carbonara
Add in some mashed butternut squash and cut down on the butter and your favorite decadent dish is officially healthy.
14. Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta
Our favorite veggie saves the day. It’s rich and creamy, without all the calories.
15. Peanut Ginger Noodles
It tastes just like takeout but will set you back only 400 calories.
16. Zucchini Pasta with Lentil Bolognese
Bonus: It’s ready in just 30 minutes.
17. Mushroom Kale Lasagna Rolls
It’s basically a green juice wrapped in pasta.
18. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Thanks to the world’s most versatile veggie, a bowl of this stuff is under 500 calories.
19. 15-Minute Limone Pasta
This one-pot, pasta limone is like dinner in your back pocket: You likely have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, and it comes together in practically no time (well, 15 minutes, to be precise).
20. 30-Minute Skinny Alfredo Ziti with Broccoli
Bonus: It’s totally dairy-free.
21. Skillet Pasta with Summer Squash, Ricotta and Basil
We love a one-pan wonder. But we *adore* one that puts sweet, nutty summer squash front and center.
22. Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs
Prep them on Sunday and eat them all week.
23. Cold Sesame Cucumber Noodles
Cucumber noodles are so refreshing on a hot day and a breeze to make with a spiralizer or peeler. And the sesame-soy tahini dressing is one for the books.
24. Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake
Cauliflower strikes again.
25. Sweet Potato Noodles with Almond Sauce
Tastes sinful. (Spoiler: It isn’t.)
26. Italian Zucchini Pasta Salad
Bring this light pasta salad to your next potluck.
27. Turkey Bolognese Lasagna Toss
This deconstructed recipe replaces beef with turkey and cuts way down on the cheese, without sacrificing flavor.
28. Skinny Baked Shrimp Scampi
Don’t worry—there’s still a little butter, and plenty of garlic.
29. Kelp and Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai
If you haven’t cooked with kelp noodles, they don’t need any cooking—just soaking—and taste a bit like al dente glass noodles. They’re gluten-free, paleo and rich in nutrients like iron, vitamin K, calcium and fiber.
30. Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
It’s vegan and gluten-free. Win-win.
31. Easy Shrimp Pasta Salad
Shrimp and farfalle glistening with honey-Dijon dressing? Scampi could never. The fresh dill is a game changer, adding grassy freshness and a pop of green to the bowl.
32. Castelvetrano Olive, Lemon and Parmesan Capellini
Briny olives are an unexpected addition to pasta, but with lemons, garlic and cheese, it totally works.
33. Beef Ragu with Sweet Potato Noodles
Make this one on Sunday and enjoy leftovers all week. Psst, it only takes 20 minutes in total.
34. Avocado and Black Bean Pasta Salad
If we’re going to eat a giant plate of pasta, it might as well be filled with satisfying protein, too (and creamy avocado, because duh).
35. Creamy Vegan Cajun Pasta
Cashew cream replaces traditional hearty cream sauce, in this protein-packed pasta dish.
36. Spring Pea Pasta with Burrata
Creamy burrata is balanced with fresh peas, mint and lemon zest.