MyPlate-Inspired Pasta

Enjoy our favorite MyPlate-inspired pasta recipes, which combine fresh ingredients that fit perfectly into your healthy lifestyle.

Nutritious Pasta Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Nutritious Pasta Recipes

Cooking Light is working with the Partnership for a Healthier America and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to thousands of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov. Find recipes at http://pinterest.com/MyPlateRecipes/.

Grains, vegetables, dairy, and protein are all essential aspects of the MyPlate healthy eating challenge. Pasta dishes are an easy, simple, and appetizing way to combine two or more of these groups into one dish that your family will love.

First up is Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Cucumbers. Dig into a simple end-of-summer pasta toss loaded with chicken, cucumbers, and peanuts. We use dried udon noodles; if using fresh noodles, you'll need about 11 ounces.

View Recipe: Cold Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Cucumbers

Creamy Chicken Pasta

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Creamy Chicken Pasta

This easy chicken recipe tosses together the winning combinations of pasta, creamy mascarpone cheese, and chicken–yum!

View Recipe: Creamy Chicken Pasta

 

Bacon and Butternut Pasta

Photo: John Autry

Bacon and Butternut Pasta

Broth, thickened with flour and enriched with crème fraîche, forms the savory sauce in this dish. We like the earthy heartiness of kale, which helps balance the sweetness from the squash. You could also use Swiss chard, or for a more peppery bite, try substituting mustard greens.

View Recipe: Bacon and Butternut Pasta

Spring Linguine with Basil

Photo: Randy Mayor

Spring Linguine with Basil

Pasta should be easy and delicious, like this entrée. Prep the peas, cheese, and basil while the pasta water heats. Serve with a green salad to round out the meal.

View Recipe: Spring Linguine with Basil

Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Photo: John Autry

Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Oreechiette (little ears pasta) is a classic shape that’s ideal for this chunky sauce. You can also substitute short pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni. If you can find mild-tasting cavolo nero (black kale), try it here.

View Recipe: Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto

Photo: Randy Mayor

Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto

Toss cooked fusilli pasta with a homemade pistachio pesto for a refreshing twist on traditional pine nut-based pesto dishes.  Add cooked chicken for a heartier dish. 

View Recipe: Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto

Bucatini with Eggplant and Roasted Peppers

Photo: Randy Mayor

Bucatini with Eggplant and Roasted Peppers

Eggplant and capers, which are among Sicily's staple ingredients, add a delectable flavor to this summery pasta sauce. If you can't find bucatini (long, hollow pasta), you can use linguine or spaghetti. Prepare the sauce up to 2 days in advance, and then reheat gently over medium-low heat while you cook the pasta.

View Recipe: Bucatini with Eggplant and Roasted Peppers

Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens

Photo: Randy Mayor

Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens

Canned beans are a great pantry staple with lots of protein and fiber. To help reduce sodium in regular canned beans, we rinse and drain them.

View Recipe: Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans and Greens

Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna

Photo: Randy Mayor

Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna

This zucchini eggplant lasagna makes use of fresh summer produce in a filling meatless entrée.

View Recipe: Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna

Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti

Photo: Randy Mayor

Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti

Roasting tomatoes intensifies their sweetness. We also tested this recipe with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano—it's a splurge that makes the difference.

View Recipe: Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti

Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas

Citrus flavors and fresh vegetables brighten this meatless pasta recipe. Leftovers pack nicely for work or school.

View Recipe: Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce, Asparagus, and Peas

Pan-Fried Udon Noodles with Teriyaki Sauce

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pan-Fried Udon Noodles with Teriyaki Sauce

Udon noodles are a popular Japanese noodle made from wheat flour, traditionally served hot in the winter and chilled in the summer.  This dish features udon noodles sautéed with fresh vegetables and topped with teriyaki-infused tofu.

View Recipe: Pan-Fried Udon Noodles with Teriyaki Sauce

Spicy Shrimp and Fettuccine

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spicy Shrimp and Fettuccine

This easy shrimp fettuccine dish is an appealing, affordable option for entertaining. Add more or less red pepper depending on how much heat you prefer.

View Recipe: Spicy Shrimp and Fettuccine

Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash over Garlicky Fettuccine

Photo: Randy Mayor

Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash over Garlicky Fettuccine

The goat cheese rounds in this delicious dish are baked at a high temperature to crisp the breadcrumb coating and heat the cheese just enough to melt when you cut into one.

View Recipe: Baked Goat Cheese and Roasted Winter Squash over Garlicky Fettuccine

Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Photo: Randy Mayor

Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Classic Asian flavors come together to create a quick and easy chicken dish with spicy soba noodles that you can have on the dinner table in no time.

View Recipe: Spicy Soba Noodles with Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Penne with Wild Mushrooms

Photo: Randy Mayor

Penne with Wild Mushrooms

Tender wild mushrooms such as oyster, hedgehog, or chanterelle are best for this dish, although cultivated oyster mushrooms are also suitable. Substitute fettuccine for penne, if you like. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

View Recipe: Penne with Wild Mushrooms

Rotini with White Beans and Escarole

Photo: John Autry

Rotini with White Beans and Escarole

Ready in just 20 minutes, this rotini pasta dish comes together in just two easy steps and is a meal the whole family will love.

View Recipe: Rotini with White Beans and Escarole

Linguine with Arugula Pesto

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Linguine with Arugula Pesto

Add a peppery bite to your pesto with fresh arugula. Top with freshly grated pecorino Romano and serve with seasonal veggies.

View Recipe: Linguine with Arugula Pesto

Linguine with Garlicky Breadcrumbs

Photo: Randy Mayor

Linguine with Garlicky Breadcrumbs

This dish of pantry staples is a good choice for a hectic weeknight supper. Toast the breadcrumbs in advance to speed preparation later.

View Recipe: Linguine with Garlicky Breadcrumbs

Vegetable Lasagna

Photo: Lee Harrelson

Vegetable Lasagna

This vegetable lasagna is perfect for making ahead and can easily transport to a potluck or the freezer.

View Recipe: Vegetable Lasagna

Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Peas

Photo: Johnny Miller

Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Peas

An ideal dish for warm-weather entertaining or to serve to company, this pasta dish is full of only the freshest flavors of summer.

View Recipe: Penne with Herbs, Tomatoes, and Peas

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Tomatoes

Photo: Johnny Autry

Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Tomatoes

We love this dish with pistachios, but for a less expensive alternative, try walnuts. Save the smallest mint leaves for a pretty, delicate garnish.

View Recipe: Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Tomatoes

Tomato Ravioli

Photo: Justin Walker

Tomato Ravioli

Take plain cheese ravioli from boring to beautiful with a mix of cherry tomatoes, shallots, and basil.

View Recipe: Tomato Ravioli

Meatball Stroganoff

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Meatball Stroganoff

Beefy sirloin draped in wine-spiked, creamy mushroom sauce: the comfort of stroganoff with a meatball twist. Serve sautéed Broccolini, spinach, or Brussels sprouts alongside this hearty entrée.

View Recipe: Meatball Stroganoff

Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Vegetables

Photo: Grant Cornett

Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Vegetables

We love everything about T.G.I.Friday's Spinach & Artichoke Cheese Dip, but calories and sodium can add up quickly after just a few bites. But what if those few bites were used to flavor an entire meal? A little low-fat milk helps stretch this creamy dip into a light, luscious sauce that dresses up hot cooked pasta and fresh, crunchy veggies—a healthy, hearty weeknight meal, ready in just 25 minutes.

View Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Pasta with Vegetables

Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Indulge in this lighter version of the comfort food favorite. Because it uses unsalted stock, it eliminates a lot of added sodium.

View Recipe: Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Spaghetti and Meatballs

You can't go wrong with this classic family favorite. We amp up jarred marinara with charred onion, garlic, and plum tomatoes.

View Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta with Roasted-Tomato Meat Sauce

Photo: Jason Wallis

Pasta with Roasted-Tomato Meat Sauce

Don't skip the anchovies in this recipe—they add a savory, salty layer to the sauce.

View Recipe: Pasta with Roasted-Tomato Meat Sauce

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Photo: Jason Wallis

Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

The hot pasta will melt the Parmesan cheese and help the sauce cling to the noodles.

View Photo: Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine

Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce

Photo: Jason Wallis

Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce

Pair this seasonal dish with a quick fall salad: Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 sliced apple, and 2 tablespoons pumpkinseeds; toss.

View Photo: Fettuccine with Pumpkin Sauce

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Photo: Randy Mayor

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce add savory depth to this creamy mac. If you can't find large elbows, regular elbows will work.

View Recipe: Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Rigatoni with Meaty Mushroom Bolognese

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Rigatoni with Meaty Mushroom Bolognese

A rich, meaty Bolognese can take hours on the stove, but this savory mushroom version is ready in just half an hour.

View Recipe: Rigatoni with Meaty Mushroom Bolognese

Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Cindy Barr 

Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Pan seared shrimp and broccoli come together in this favored pasta dish. Ready in just 20 minutes, you have time to enjoy this scampi even on your busiest days. 

View Recipe: Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi

Grape Tomato, Olive, and Spinach Pasta

Photo: Jason Wallis

Grape Tomato, Olive, and Spinach Pasta

We love small, sweet grape tomatoes in this quick meatless pasta dish, but you can sub cherry tomatoes or larger tomatoes that have been seeded and diced.

View Recipe: Grape Tomato, Olive, and Spinach Pasta  

Creamy Asparagus, Herb, and Pea Pasta

Photo: Christopher Testani

Creamy Asparagus, Herb, and Pea Pasta

Mascarpone cheese, unsalted chicken stock, and 1/3-less-fat cream cheese create a smooth and creamy sauce that pairs beautifully with asparagus, herbs, peas, and pappardelle pasta.

View Recipe: Creamy Asparagus, Herb, and Pea Pasta

Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

Photo: Brian Woodcock

Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

This dish gets its flavor from loads of chopped fresh garlic. We recommend serving it with toasted baguette slices and a glass of white wine.

View Recipe: Linguine with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

Spring Pasta with Morels

Photo: Randy Mayor

Spring Pasta with Morels

Fresh morels yield a smoky flavor in a mushroom that has a pleasing honeycomb texture. Because woodland debris collects in the honeycombs, you’ll want to clean morels with a quick dunk-and-swish in a bowl of water.

View Recipe: Spring Pasta with Morels

Fettuccine with Squash Ribbons

Photo: Colin Clark

Fettuccine with Squash Ribbons

Stirring olive oil into boiling water creates a quick emulsified sauce for this simple, summery pasta.

View Recipe: Fettuccine with Squash Ribbons  

Orecchiette with Cress and Spring Pea Sauce

Photo: Stephen Devries

Orecchiette with Cress and Spring Pea Sauce 

The fresh, vibrant flavors of sweet peas and peppery cress meld beautifully in this simple pasta dish. If you can't find orecchiette, small shell pasta is a good substitute.

View Recipe: Orecchiette with Cress and Spring Pea Sauce

 

Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Photo: Colin Clark

Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

You can substitute spinach for the arugula, if you like. For less heat, decrease or omit the crushed red pepper.

View Recipe: Quick Rotini with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto

Photo: Stephen Devries

Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto

In just 25 minutes, this family-friendly Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto is ready to serve. Want to save even more time? The tortellini and snap pea mixture can be prepared a couple of days ahead of time.

View Recipe: Tortellini with Snap Peas and Pesto

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