Healthy pasta recipes

If you're looking for a way to make pasta that little bit healthier then you've come to the right place...

Fiery asparagus and chicken pasta

If you're looking for a way to make pasta that little bit healthier then you've come to the right place...

Low-calorie, healthy pasta recipes are a great way to eat well, feed the family and stay full for longer. Pasta is one of those simple ingredients that's always sitting in your cupboard waiting to be used. It's quick, it's easy and when you buy it in bulk, it's even cheaper than usual.

From low-fat sauces to veggie-packed meals, we've got plenty of ways to turn a family favourite into a healthy meal that you can make time and time again. Each recipe tells you how many calories or fat is in the dish or the Slimming World syns it contains, how long it takes to cook and our top tip for cooking it so you can't go wrong.

We've got some pasta recipes for dieters and some healthy alternatives for the kids, so we're sure you'll find something for everyone with our great range of pasta dishes.

We've even got healthy versions of favourites such as spaghetti Bolognese (opens in new tab) and carbonara.

Our best healthy pasta recipes:

Fiery asparagus and chicken pasta

Why so healthy? The five fresh spears of asparagus in this recipe equal one of your five-a-day and making homemade tomato sauce, instead of using a ready made jar, makes all the difference in this dish.

Calories: 503 cals per portion

Fat: 14.0g

Time it takes to make: 20 mins

Top tip: If you don't have spaghetti use bows or penne instead - they work just as well.

Get the recipe: Fiery asparagus and chicken pasta

Lower-fat carbonara

Lower-fat carbonara

Why so healthy? A light cheese sauce, which is made with 1% fat milk, reduced-fat Parmesan and lower-fat soft cheese, helps this recipe be that little bit healthier and lower in calories too.

Calories: 409 cals per portion

Fat: 9.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: Add some frozen peas to this dish if you want more veg in this meal.

Get the recipe:

Lower-fat carbonara

Linguine with crab and mint

Linguine with crab and mint

Why so healthy? Like most seafood, crab is low in fat and low in cholesterol so it's a great addition to your pasta. A drizzle of olive oil and a few sprigs of mint replace the fatty sauce in this light pasta dish.

Calories: 484 cals per portion.

Fat: 16.0g

Time it takes to make: 15 mins

Top tip: If you're not keen on crab you could replace it with squid or tuna instead.

Get the recipe: Linguine with crab and mint

Vegetable macaroni cheese

Vegetable macaroni cheese

Why so healthy? Broccoli, which is packed full of nutrients that help to boost your body's immune system, and a light semi-skimmed milk-based sauce makes this dish much healthier than your average macaroni cheese.

Calories: 400 cals per portion

Fat: 13.0g

Time it takes to make: 20 mins

Top tip: If you use mature Cheddar cheese instead of mild you'll use much less as the flavour is stronger.

Get the recipe: Vegetable macaroni cheese

Pasta shells with crayfish

Pasta shells with crayfish

Why so healthy? This delicious pasta dish brings soft pasta shells together with protein packed crayfish which is sure to keep you fuller for longer, and stop you snacking in between meals.

Time it takes to make: 20 mins

Calories: 305 cals per portion

Top tip: Add some more veggies to this dish to up your 5-a-day count. Greens such as spinach or tender stem broccoli would work well.

Get the recipe: Pasta shells with crayfish

Crab, lemon and chilli linguine

Crab, lemon and chilli linguine

Why so healthy? The crab in this recipe adds a large amount of protein to your diet which will benefit your body's growth and repair. The simple combination of olive oil, lemon juice and chilli makes a delicious light sauce that won't pile on the calories.

Calories: 490 cals per portion

Fat: 14.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: You could use tinned tuna instead of crab if preferred.

Get the recipe: Crab, lemon and chilli linguine

Meatballs with lemon tagliatelle

Meatballs with lemon tagliatelle

Why so healthy? Make your meatballs healthier by using turkey or pork mince and team with a half-fat creme fraiche sauce.

Calories: 384 cals per portion.

Fat: 17.0g

Time it takes to make: 45 mins

Top tip: Fresh tagliatelle will cook much quicker than dried.

Get the recipe: Meatballs with lemon tagliatelle

Rocket pesto spaghetti

Rocket pesto spaghetti

Why so healthy? This recipe shows you how to make a homemade pesto sauce, which is much healthier than shop-bought. The pine nuts in the sauce are a great source of protein.

Calories: 226 cals per portion

Fat: 23.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: When picking rocket from the shop, make sure you go for a bag with dark green leaves. Avoid any that are starting to turn yellow.

Get the recipe:

Rocket pesto spaghetti

Guacamole and prawn spaghetti

Guacamole and prawn spaghetti

Why so healthy? This recipe has

plenty of protein in it thanks to the prawns and the avocado lowers

cholesterol too, keeping your heart fighting fit - result!

Calories: 430 cals per portion

Fat: 12.0g

Time it takes to make: 11 mins

Top tip: Make

sure you don't heat the guacamole otherwise it will split. The trick is

to stir in the guacamole right at the last minute - the spaghetti will

warm it.

Get the recipe: Guacamole and prawn spaghetti

Roasted ratatouille pasta

Roasted ratatouille pasta

Why so healthy? The 5 different

types of vegetables, including aubergine and red peppers, load this dish

with plenty of nutrients. The light olive oil drizzle replaces the need

for any sauces.

Calories: 446 cals per portion

Fat: 15.0g

Time it takes to make: 52 mins

Top tip: You can use grilled halloumi cheese instead of goat's cheese for a stronger flavour.

Get the recipe: Roasted ratatouille pasta

Sweet potato pasta

Sweet potato pasta

Why so healthy? The sauce in this recipe uses semi-skimmed milk, low-fat natural yogurt and reduced fat Parmesan cheese which are healthier replacements to full-fat ingredients. The sweet potato and peas count towards your 5-a-day too.

Calories: 198 cals per portion.

Fat: 5.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: If you fancy an alternative to sweet potato, you could use butternut squash instead as it has a similar texture and taste.

Get the recipe: Sweet potato pasta

Quick pasta Niçoise

Quick pasta Niçoise

Why so healthy? The tuna in this recipe is a great source of protein and the olives add bursts of low-calorie flavour to the dish. The light sauce makes this dish perfect for lunch or a summer meal.

Calories: 300 cals per portion

Fat: 18.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: Double the portion if you want to have this pasta dish for lunch the next day.

Get the recipe: Quick pasta Niçoise

Salmon and pea pasta

Salmon and pea pasta

Why so healthy? This recipe uses low-fat natural yogurt to make the base of the creamy sauce which flavours this dish. Protein packed salmon and vitamin rich veggies like asparagus and peas add to the health factor of this dish.

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Calories: 498 cals per portion

Fat: 9.8g

Top tip: You can use other green veggies too like courgette or sugar snaps.

Get the recipe: Salmon and pea pasta

Vegetable Bolognese

Vegetable Bolognese

Why so healthy? This vegetable packed spag Bol is perfect for vegetarians or if you?re trying to get your family eating healthy. With at least one of your 5-a-day in this pasta dish, this vegetarian option is a good'en.

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Calories: 320 cals per portion

Top tip: If you don?t have any spaghetti in the cupboard you can use penne or bows instead. We?d recommend brown or whole wheat pasta over white.

Get the recipe: Vegetable Bolognese

Slimming World's fruity pasta salad

Slimming World's fruity pasta salad

Why so healthy? Get more of your 5-a-day with this pasta dish as it's not only full of vegetables, it's full of fruit as well! Extra light mayo makes the dressing guilt-free too.

Slimming World syns: Extra easy: 2, Green: 2, Original: 8

Time it takes to make: 30 mins

Top tip: This pasta dish will only keep for one day so make sure you wrap it properly and leave in the fridge overnight.

Get the recipe: Fruity pasta salad

Salmon pasta with creme fraiche

Salmon pasta with creme fraiche

Why so healthy? The leeks, broccoli, green beans and of course the salmon gives this dish plenty of omega-3 which is good for strengthing your immune system to fight off winter colds.

Time it takes to make: 17 mins

Top tip: Using tinned salmon is much easier but if you have time, fresh salmon would be even better for you and much more flavoursome.

Get the recipe: Salmon pasta with creme fraiche

Rosemary Conley's courgette pasta bake

Rosemary Conley's courgette pasta bake

Why so healthy? The courgette in this recipe gives you 8% of your daily recommended fibre intake which promotes healthy digestion. The use of fat-free fromage frais sauce helps to keep the calories down.

Calories: 293 cals per portion

Fat: 2.0g

Time it takes to make: 1hr

Top tip: Use wholewheat pasta to make this dish extra healthy.

Get the recipe: Rosemary Conley's courgette pasta bake

Italian tuna and tomato penne pasta

Italian tuna and tomato penne pasta

Why so healthy? Sweet plum tomatoes provide the nutrients, tuna chunks add protein and tangy olives bring plenty of flavour to this healthy recipe.

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: When buying olives, it's best to buy them from the Deli counter so you can get the amount you need for the recipe you're making.

Get the recipe:

Italian tuna and tomato penne pasta

Slow roast tomato and bean pasta

Slow roast tomato and bean pasta

Why so healthy? The baby plum

tomatoes in this recipe are packed with vitamin C, which is good for

skin, joints and bones and are fat-free too. A drizzle of oil and

seasoning are all you need to complement the delicious flavours of this

dish.

Calories: 421 cals per portion

Fat: 13.0g

Time it takes to make: 1hr

Top tip: Add some pre-cooked chicken pieces to bulk this dish up.

Get the recipe: Slow roast tomato and bean pasta

Chicken and pepper pasta salad

Chicken and pepper pasta salad

Why so healthy? This salad is packed full of summertime fruit and veg, including red peppers and mango and is finished with a light dressing made with sherry vinegar.Time it takes to make: 30 mins

Top tip: You can use egg noodles instead of spaghetti for a speedier meal.

Get the recipe: Chicken and pepper pasta salad

Mushroom and spinach pasta

Mushroom and spinach pasta

Why so healthy? This recipe is under 500 calories and contains spinach and chestnut mushrooms which count towards your 5-a-day.

Calories: 373 cals per portion

Fat: 8.0g

Time it takes to make: 15 mins

Top tip: You should always use more water than pasta when you cook pasta as it absorbs a lot of water and you don't want it to dry out.

Get the recipe: Mushroom and spinach pasta

Lower-fat beef lasagne

Lower-fat beef lasagne

Why so healthy? This classic lasagne uses a homemade tomato based sauce and homemade white sauce too make with low-fat spread and semi-skimmed milk. This recipe includes veggies such as carrots and celery.

Time it takes to make: 1hr

Calories: 433 cals per portion

Fat: 17g

Top tip: If you want to be extra healthy swap the beef mince for lean turkey mince instead as it contains less fat.

Get the recipe: Lower-fat beef lasagne

Pasta with smoked salmon cream sauce

Pasta with smoked salmon cream sauce

Why so healthy? Smoked salmon is full of nutirents and has such a powerful flavour that you only need a light drizzling of olive oil and a dash of double cream to finish off this dish.

Calories: 243 cals per portion

Fat: 13.0g

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: For a quicker recipe use tinned salmon.

Get the recipe: Pasta with smoked salmon cream sauce

Pasta, potato and bacon salad

Pasta, potato and bacon salad

Why so healthy? Two large handfuls of spinach give you a healthy dose of iron in this recipe. The bacon lardons give it flavour, but if you want to be extra strict on yourself, swap the bacon for chicken pieces instead for extra protein.

Time it takes to make: 25 mins

Top tip: If you want to get even more greens in your diet and up your 5-a-day intake, add in green pepper, avocado or lettuce.

Get the recipe: Pasta, potato and bacon salad

Slimming World's luxury macaroni cheese

Slimming World's luxury macaroni cheese

Why so healthy? Low-fat natural yogurt is used instead of cream with reduced-fat Cheddar cheese for the traditional sauce in this macaroni recipe.

Slimming World syns: Original: 11½, Green: 6

Time it takes to make: 45 mins

Top tip: If you've only got full-fat cheese in the fridge, never fear! Just make sure you only use a smaller amount than usual.

Get the recipe: Slimming World's luxury macaroni cheese

Rosemary Conley's Quorn lasagne

Rosemary Conley's Quorn lasagne

Why so healthy? This recipe uses Quorn mince which is lower in fat than beef mince and the cheese sauce is made with semi-skimmed milk and low-fat cheese.

Calories: 323 cals per portion

Fat: 5.7g

Time it takes to make: 2hrs

Top tip: Soaking your lasagne sheets in warm water before assembling makes it quicker to cook.

Get the recipe: Rosemary Conley's Quorn lasagne

Weight Watchers chilli beef pasta

Weight Watchers chilli beef pasta

What makes this dish so healthy? This recipe uses extra-lean beef mince which is much healthier and lower in fat than your standard beef. The tomato-based sauce is loaded with courgettes and yellow peppers which both count towards your 5-a-day.

Weight Watchers points: 6

Time it takes to make: 45 mins

Top tip: Try using turkey mince or Quorn instead to reduce the calories even more.

Get the recipe: Weight Watchers chilli beef pasta

Slimming World's spaghetti Bolognese

Slimming World's spaghetti Bolognese

(Image credit: Slimming World)

Why so healthy? This recipe uses wholemeal pasta which contains vitamin E which is good for protecting and repairing the skin and lower-fat lean mince too.

Slimming World syns: Extra easy: ½, Original:½ (6 syns for both if using white pasta)

Time it takes to make: 30 mins

Top tip: If you want to make a vegetarian option use Quorn mince instead.

Get the recipe: Slimming World spaghetti Bolognese

Grace Walsh
Grace Walsh

Grace Walsh is a Features Writer for Goodto.com, covering breaking news health stories during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as lifestyle and entertainment topics.  She has worked in media since graduating from the University of Warwick in 2019 with a degree in Classical Civilisation and a year spent abroad in Italy. It was here that Grace caught the bug for journalism, after becoming involved in the university’s student newspaper and radio station.