17 Pasta Dinners That Don’t Involve Red Sauce

updated Nov 30, 2023
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anchovy carbonara pasta dish in a skillet
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

When you think of pasta, do you picture a big plate of spaghetti drenched in red sauce? More often than not, that’s what we do too. But there’s a whole slew of pasta recipes waiting for us to cook up that leave the marinara for another day.

So, to get you thinking outside the red-sauce box, we’ve rounded up pasta recipes that skip the red sauce in favor of other flavors. From a bright-pink beet pesto pasta to a creamy Alfredo, here are 17 ways to dress your pasta sans the red sauce.

Pastas without Red Sauce

1 / 17
Simple One-Skillet Chicken Alfredo Pasta

Pure creamy comfort — this one-skillet Alfredo pasta dinner gets a protein boost from sautéed chicken breasts. Add a handful of spinach at the very end to make it a complete meal.

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2 / 17
Beet Pesto Pasta

You’ve heard of pink sauce aka vodka sauce before, but this is pasta with hot pink sauce. It gets its vibrant color from the cooked beets that go into the pesto, and it has a delightfully earthy flavor you won’t be able to get enough of.

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3 / 17
Anchovy Carbonara Recipe
This ultra creamy (and weeknight-friendly!) pasta carbonara swaps guanciale for tinned anchovies.
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4 / 17
Caesar Spaghetti
Your favorite salad and spaghetti in one dish.
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5 / 17
Ginger Chicken and Pasta

In this recipe, the pasta acts more as the base or side for the sautéed chicken and ginger sauce that’s made with the juice from the pan. It’s a simple dish, but one that is guaranteed to please.

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6 / 17
Creamy Gorgonzola Gnocchi

We love gnocchi in any form, but this version with a creamy gorgonzola sauce is at the top of our list. The brightness of the asparagus and peas is perfectly balanced by the pillowy pasta and slightly sharp cream sauce.

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7 / 17
Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
A classic Italian recipe for spaghetti with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and parsley.
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8 / 17
Feta & Eggplant Pasta Salad

Give your pasta a Mediterranean upgrade with this eggplant and feta pasta salad. It’s a great make-ahead meal for those weeks you just know will be hectic.

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9 / 17
Pesto Pasta with Lemon, Spinach, Edamame & Toasted Almonds

Beat the chillier weather with a burst of bright lemony pesto on your pasta. If you don’t have edamame, you can substitute in peas or another legume.

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10 / 17
5-Ingredient Creamy Corn Bucatini with Burrata
This one-pot pasta sings summer sweetness: It’s got juicy, milky corn; creamy, luscious burrata; and edgy, grassy chives to bring it all into focus.
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11 / 17
Creamy One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta

What could be better, now that we’re in the thick of fall, than a creamy pumpkin sauce over your favorite pasta noodles? Only the fact that this dish also includes plenty of nutmeg, sage, and Parmesan.

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12 / 17
Spaghetti with Mascarpone, Meyer Lemon, Spinach, and Hazelnuts
A recipe for creamy mascarpone-dressed spaghetti that's flavored with Meyer lemon zest and juice and enhanced with wilted spinach and toasted hazelnuts.
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13 / 17
Creamy Braised Chicken with Pappardelle

Flat, wide pappardelle noodles are our pick for this silky chicken pasta since they give the sauce so much to cling to. If you can’t track them down, swap in egg noodles instead.

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14 / 17
Pasta with Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Brussels sprouts, along with either pancetta or bacon, are a classic fall ingredient, so it just makes sense to serve them atop your favorite noodles. There’s not much to this meal, but we guarantee everyone at your table will gobble it up.

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15 / 17
Easy Chicken Carbonara
A weeknight-friendly recipe for spaghetti carbonara with chicken.
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16 / 17
One-Pot Penne with Creamy Basil-Garlic Sauce Recipe
This creamy basil garlic pasta with green vegetables and crispy breadcrumbs is a weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser.
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17 / 17
Spaghetti with Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter
In this Olde Spaghetti Factory copycat recipe, spaghetti tossed in garlic browned butter and mizithra cheese
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