11 Pasta Dinners That Don’t Involve Red Sauce

updated May 1, 2019
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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 11 ways to dress your pasta sans the red sauce.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

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.

(Image credit: Todd Coleman)

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.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

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.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

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.

(Image credit: Karla Conrad)

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.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

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.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

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.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

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.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)

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.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Use up the last lingering summer squash and make this pasta dish inspired by one of our favorite gratin recipes. Plus, it’s great as a leftover meal as well. Just use a bit of chicken broth when you reheat it.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)

There are few combinations more classic than brown butter and sage. We love this as a pasta sauce over just about any kind of noodle. You can also add in chunks of roasted pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato for an even richer dish.