This page contains some affiliate links. Please review my disclosure policy.

Pasta and pasta salads can absolutely be a part of a healthy diet! Know the healthy swaps and add-ins to make, as well as 12 healthy pasta recipes for your next pasta night meal!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Is Pasta Healthy?

Depends on who you ask, but in my personal opinion, yes pasta is definitely healthy. Picking a pasta dish comes down to three factors: type of pasta, sauce and add-ins (I.e. vegetables and proteins).

Every person is different and their needs and goals are different so of course, pasta may not be for everyone. But most likely if you don’t have a particular allergy or illness then pasta can very much be a part of a healthy diet.

Keep in mind, some types of pasta are actually fairly high in protein (whole wheat, lentil, chickpea) and many sauces can be packed full of vitamins and minerals. More on that below.

It’s also important to remember that food isn’t just about its nutritional value. Comfort food and eating for pleasure are very much a part of a healthy lifestyle.

What is the Healthiest Type of Pasta?

It’s less important about what noodles you choose (spaghetti, fusili, penne etc…) than it is about the other ingredients in your pot. If you’re looking for your pasta to be a higher source of nutrition then you can opt for something a little higher in protein like whole wheat pasta, red lentil pasta or chickpea pasta.

1 serving of whole wheat pasta contains 7 grams of protein (source)

1 serving of red lentil pasta contains 18 (!!!) grams of protein (source)

1 serving of chickpea pasta contains 11 grams of protein (source)

If you’re celiac or gluten intolerant, both red lentil pasta and chickpea pasta are also gluten-free. You can also try brown rice pasta as a gluten-free alternative.

*Low-Carb Option

Spiralized zucchini noodles (or zoodles) are also an option though for this post we’re sticking to carb-based pasta choices.

What About Sauces?

The sky is the limit when it comes to sauces. From tomato-based to pesto to Alfredo sauce you can top pasta with just about any type of sauce.

Look for sauces that mix flavor with nutrition. Tomatoes are wonderful as are certain types of pesto. Generally keep it light on heavy cream but a little can still be part of a healthy diet. Focus on heart-healthy fats like olive oil. Check out this hidden veggie pasta sauce that tastes like regular tomato sauce but has lots of hidden veggies! Here are some other suggestions:

Healthy Pasta Ingredients

In addition to the type of pasta and the sauce, you’ll want to look at what other ingredients you’re including in your healthy pasta recipes. Mainly, proteins and vegetables.

Proteins: Any protein is a great addition to a healthy pasta recipe. Some ideas include chicken, shrimp, ground beef (meatballs), ground turkey (turkey meatballs) tofu, and chickpeas. Cheese is also a great source of protein. Think about including a tsp of parmesan cheese onto your pasta recipe.

Veggies: Zucchini, Broccoli, Spinach, Red peppers, Corn, Onions and Garlic are all fantastic additions to any healthy pasta recipe. Though technically a fruit, let’s not forget about tomatoes! And of course fresh herbs like basil and rosemary.

*Nutrition Tip

Note: You don’t necessarily need to pack your pasta with every single protein and vegetable. Keep in mind you can make your healthy pasta recipe a side dish rather than a big bowl and pair it with a salad or other veggies and protein source.

12 Healthy Pasta Recipes

Kale Pesto Pasta

Pesto gets a makeover in this kale pesto recipe! Your traditional pesto made with kale and combined for a delicious dinner of kale pesto pasta.

overhead image of turkey bolognese in a white dutch oven sprinkled with basil and a wooden spoon.

Turkey Bolognese

Switch up your usual pasta sauce with this hearty and healthy turkey bolognese. A thick, flavorful sauce made with lean ground turkey, veggies and tomatoes. Easy step-by-step instructions too!

Vegan Mac and Cheese [with Butternut Squash!]

This vegan mac and cheese recipe is packed with vegetables and flavor. The delicious cheesy flavor made with butternut squash makes this the ultimate comfort food dish for every night of the week.

Veggie Pasta Bake [No-Boil]

Get a good dose of veggies in this filling, one-pan and NO-BOIL Primavera Pasta Bake recipe. Just throw everything into one dish and bake for a full, vegetarian meal-in-one.

Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce

Got a picky eater on your hands? Sneak in an extra serving of vegetables with this hidden veggie pasta sauce. Just cook and blend ingredients and top onto your favorite pasta. Your kiddo (or adult!) won’t know any different!

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad with Kale and Artichokes

Get ready for your next summer BBQ or dinner party with this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad with Kale and Artichokes. Balance your carbs with veggies without sacrificing on flavor for a filling and wholesome meal the whole family will love.

Tofu Pasta with Tomato Sauce [Tofu Bolognese]

A recipe for vegan tofu pasta with tomato sauce. A plant-based spin on bolognese made with high-protein tofu and other wholesome ingredients. The perfect weeknight dinner recipe that the whole family will love.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

This simple and fresh Mediterranean Orzo Salad is perfect for a summer potluck or quick weekday lunch. Packed full of veggies and flavor this vegetarian dish is easily meal-prepped and will last all week.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

This chicken bacon ranch pasta is packed full of flavor with tender chicken breast, crispy bacon and perfectly cooked noodles in a creamy yogurt ranch sauce. You can’t go wrong with this pasta recipe!

Pesto Pasta Bake

This delicious vegetarian pesto pasta bake is made entirely in one dish and makes weeknight dinner easy with little fuss! With bold and fresh flavors this pesto pasta recipe is sure to become a family favorite!


Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

This vegan mushroom stroganoff with hearty mushrooms and dairy-free cream sauce is a healthy take on a classic pasta dish. This ultimate comfort food recipe can be on your table in 30 minutes and will be a hit with the whole family!

Healthy Mac and Cheese

This creamy baked mac and cheese recipe is a lightened-up version of a classic dinner favorite. Loved by both parents and kiddos alike this easy macaroni and cheese recipe is both health and comfort in a bowl.

Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

You May Also Like:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *