6 Veggie-Forward Pasta Dishes That Lower Your Carb Intake
Invert the usual pasta-to-vegetable ratio to create fresh, carb-conscious mains packed with produce.
Eating a pasta dinner is a downright soulful experience: comforting, filling, and deeply satisfying. Yet many people clamor for lower-carb options, hence the meteoric rise of recipes using spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), or other veggie noodles. While we do love those types of dishes, they sometimes don't truly replicate the joys of eating real pasta. So here's the way to have your noodles and eat them, too.
Seared Radicchio and Red Cabbage Pasta with Pickled Raisins
Gorgeous magenta hues make this dish a beauty. The flavor is a sophisticated blend of slightly bitter radicchio, tart-sweet pickled raisins, and toasty walnuts. We call for chickpea-based pasta, which we love for its mild flavor; you can use another legume-based pasta if you'd like, or noodles made from whole grains. For a lower-carb option, omit the pickled raisins to cut 7g of carbs per serving. When slicing the onion into wedges, try to leave some of the root end intact so the wedges hold together; this will make them easier to turn in the pan.
Orecchiette is the perfect partner for thin roasted carrot coins, which curl up after cooking to mimic the shape of the pasta. Be sure to use large carrots to ensure nice-size carrot slices, and reach for a mandoline to make prep go faster. Or, if your food processor has a 1/8-inch slicing blade (because you need the carrot slices to be thin), use it for even speedier slicing. Creamy goat cheese is ideal here, though you also could try a French goat’s or sheep’s milk feta (such as Valbreso), which tends to be creamier than other types.
View Recipe: Carrot Orecchiette
Broccoli, Lemon, and Browned Butter Pasta
This quick and easy broccoli-loaded pasta is ideal for busy weeknights. The flavors are straightforward and kid-friendly, with tender broccoli taking on nutty goodness from browned butter and a floral lift from lemon zest. We like the mild flavor of gluten-free corn-and-quinoa pasta, but any whole-grain pasta (such as spelt or brown-rice versions) would be great as well. If you don’t have pecorino Romano cheese on hand, try Parmesan, Asiago, or any other salty grating cheese.
View Recipe: Broccoli, Lemon, and Browned Butter Pasta
Spring Vegetable Pasta Alfredo
Our seasonal pasta toss is made luscious and rich with a lighter take on Alfredo sauce. Instead of using heavy cream, we employ flour-thickened 2% milk enriched with cream cheese. We also switch from traditional Parmesan to more robust pecorino Romano, which allows us to use less cheese while still achieving the same flavor impact. We love the flavor of Bionaturae brand whole-wheat pasta, which is milder than most other brands we’ve tried and doesn’t overpower the vegetables.
View Recipe: Spring Vegetable Pasta Alfredo
Garden Greens Pasta
A little bit of pancetta pulls more than its weight in this recipe. Kale and spinach cook in the rendered drippings for rich, salty flavor throughout the dish, and the crisped pork bits make a delicious finishing touch for the pasta.
View Recipe: Garden Greens Pasta
Mostly Mushroom Pasta
If you’re a mushroom-lover, this is the pasta dish for you. It’s chock-full of three kinds of fresh mushrooms (2 pounds of them) that contribute their own flavors and textures—meaty, hearty portobello; supersavory, tender shiitake; and earthy, chewy cremini. We cook them in stages so the tougher mushrooms cook longer and the more delicate shiitakes cook less so they hold their shape. The touch of crème fraîche in the sauce gives the dish a stroganoff-like flavor; substitute full-fat sour cream if you can’t find it.
View Recipe: Mostly Mushroom Pasta