10 Fast and Cheap Ways to Make a Healthy Pasta Dinner

10 Fast and Cheap Ways to Make a Healthy Pasta Dinner

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Sheela Prakash
Apr 3, 2017
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Can a pasta dinner be fast, cheap, and healthy all at the same time? Absolutely. The key is to make wholesome swaps that won't break the bank, like using ground turkey instead of ground beef or pork, loading up the dish with leafy greens, or finally giving whole-wheat pasta a chance. These easy changes can make your weeknight pasta dinner healthier for the whole family, but no less tasty. Here are 10 recipes that prove it.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

1. Chicken Pasta Bake with Spinach & Parmesan

Pasta bakes tend to be decadent, luxurious affairs, but this one is light and wholesome. That's thanks to it being made creamy with yogurt and low-fat milk instead of the usual heavy cream.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

2. Spaghetti with Turkey Bolognese

Ground turkey is a wholesome choice for this quick meat sauce, as it's leaner than ground beef or pork. Here it's given rich flavor, thanks to a splash of red wine and balsamic vinegar in the sauce.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

3. Lemony Pesto Pasta with Edamame & Almonds

Although edamame and roasted almonds might not be common additions to pasta, they give the dish a rich, affordable meatless protein boost while also providing crunch and color.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

4. Broccolini, Chicken Sausage, and Orzo Skillet

Fully cooked chicken sausage is not only a leaner choice than pork sausage, but it also allows for this one-dish meal to come together in next to no time. You can find chicken sausage at nearly every grocery store — from Costco to Trader Joe's — and at every price point.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

5. Chicken & Swiss Chard Pasta Bake

Whole-wheat pasta and a slew of leafy greens make this pasta casserole a healthy pick for a weeknight meal. It's also made creamy with ricotta, instead of cream, which is lower in fat but just as flavorful.

6. Turkey and Greens Skillet Pasta

This easy skillet dinner is packed with ground turkey, Swiss chard, and tomatoes, and just speckled with penne pasta, making it automatically feel like a wholesome win.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

7. Fusilli with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce and Nigella Seeds

Yogurt strikes again in this unique pasta dish, where it makes for a creamy, protein-rich sauce, along with nutty tahini. Nigella seeds might not be a common member of your pantry, and that's OK because they can easily be skipped here.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

8. Lemony Brussels Sprouts & Breadcrumb Spaghetti

What makes this veggie-packed pasta so weeknight-friendly is that is relies on leftover roasted Brussels sprouts.

(Image credit: Karen Biton-Cohen)

9. Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Corn & Parsley Pesto

Whole-wheat spaghetti isn't just a fiber-rich choice for this pasta dish — it's also a smart choice for the sauce, as the strong flavor of the parsley pesto actually pairs well with the nutty flavor of the pasta.

(Image credit: Brie Passano)

10. 10-Minute Garlicky Tomato Spaghetti

Yes, this pasta really does come together in 10 minutes. It's nothing but a simple, wholesome mix of whole-wheat spaghetti, lots of chopped, fresh tomatoes, and plenty of fresh herbs and garlic.

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