Eating Light: 8 Rich Yet Light(er) Pasta Sauces

updated Jun 4, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In our current Open Thread, cmcinnyc says, I find it so hard to eat light in this cold. We know exactly how you feel. It’s 9 below today. Salads and light food are taking a back seat to the most filling, warming food we can find, and that means pasta. Mushroom ravioli is cmcinnyc’s dish of choice right now, and we think that sounds wonderful.

But here’s the thing: just because it’s pasta doesn’t mean it can’t be light. Here are a few light, meat-free pasta sauces from The Kitchn that also happen to be easy, nourishing, and comforting too.

1. Rich No-Cream Wild Mushroom Pasta Sauce – This has been a popular recipe here for a long time. It’s delicious without being too rich or heavy; white wine and broth are thickened with a little flour instead of cream.

2. Lemon Pepper Pasta with Capers – Sometimes the best recipes are the simplest. This one has just a few ingredients, but it leans heavily on tasty little capers for a big burst of flavor.

3. Velvety Broccoli and Feta Pasta – This recipe is like several others on this list: it uses steamed vegetables instead of meat or dairy to make up the bulk of the sauce. You can even skip the cheese!

4. Roasted Garlic, Olive and Tomato Pasta Salad – This is a pasta salad recipe, but it works just as well with hot pasta. The principle is simple: Use mashed roasted garlic as a sauce instead of cream or butter. Sub canned tomatoes for the fresh ones, and use the ricotta sparingly — just enough to bind it all together.

5. Basic Tomato Sauce (with Optional Zing!) – Basic tomato sauce, made with canned tomatoes, is one of the easiest, prettiest, most encouraging things you can eat in the winter! It doesn’t hurt that it’s healthy too.

6. Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Peas and Mushrooms – Another veggie pesto recipe. You can use frozen peas (very good!).

7. Pasta with Butternut Squash, Sage, and Pine Nuts – This meat-free pasta has a rich flavor through the pan-frying process, and we love how creamy the squash is, mashed through the pasta.

8. Spring Greens Pesto – It’s not spring, of course, but what about trying bitter greens here instead? Turnip tops, beet greens, steamed collards, kale, Swiss chard — all of these would give a unique flavor to your pasta dressing.

And if you’re looking for a few more ideas on cooking pasta, try these posts:

• Quick Tip: The Best Way to Cook Pasta
Do You Cook with Whole Wheat Pasta?