Pasta is one of the more popular foods when trying to lose weight, especially when you switch to whole wheat. Some diets don’t want you to have it because of the carbs and calories, but most will allow it as a carbohydrate. The nice thing about pasta is that it plays well with other foods, especially sauces, and it’s easy to keep things healthy. If your diet allows for pasta, here are plenty of healthy pasta recipes that will keep you busy for some time.
Chicken and pasta go nicely together, since pasta is your carbs, and chicken provides plenty of protein to balance them out. It’s simply a matter of adding a vegetable to your meal and you’re all set.
Photo: Ang Sarap
Creamy Tomato Chicken and Courgettes Fusilli – The courgette is a summer squash that is typically referred to as a zucchini. This is a super simple and super healthy pasta with grilled chicken and grilled vegetables. The pasta is sauced from a homemade creamy tomato sauce, but to keep it lean just coat the pasta lightly and keep the grilled vegetables and chicken separate when mixing in the sauce.
Orecchiette with Lemon Chicken and Herb Salad – A great meal for combining your protein with your veggies. This dish contains moist sliced chicken breast, crisp green arugula and parsley, and a great light but refreshing herb sauce that gets soaked up in the “little ears” of the the orecchiette pasta making every bite packed with flavor. Not only flavorful, but also healthy as the sauce is made with lemon juice, olive oil, and various spring herbs.
Chicken Tortellini Soup – Perfect for a cold and dreary afternoon, this Chicken Tortellini will come together in less than 20 minutes. It will come together even faster if you have leftover chicken breast, or you leave the chicken out all together. Great if you are sick as the chicken broth is the perfect remedy for those days that you feel run down, but it is also perfect for those currently dieting.
Lemon Chicken Pasta – A great refreshing and light pasta salad for the spring and summer, made with a healthy portion of protein-packed chicken. This is another one pot meal that can be quickly put together to feed your whole family. The other great thing about this pasta is its versatility. If you want to make it vegetarian, you can substitute veggies for the chicken, and now you have multiple quick and healthy meals.
Italian Chicken Thighs – In this simple Italian recipe, you are trading a little bit of fat with a lot of flavor. Be sure to get boneless, skinless thighs to keep the meal low fat with high protein. Of course, you can always substitute the chicken thighs for boneless, skinless chicken breast, just be sure to reduce the cooking time of the chicken by a couple of minutes. A healthy and filling meal in about 30 minutes.
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Pasta salads work great because they usually include a quality protein food, as well as plenty of vegetables. The following recipes have figured out how to keep them light and healthy by getting rid of the mayonnaise but keeping them full of flavor.
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Skillet Soba, Baked Tofu and Green Bean Salad – Here’s an Asian-themed pasta salad that combines many healthy foods while keeping your total fat and calories to a minimum. Soba is a popular noodle in Japan and made out of buckwheat. It’s also using tofu instead of meat, so you’re not adding any extra cholesterol to the dish, and getting protein. The green beans give you extra nutrients and vitamins. Use low sodium soy sauce to make it even healthier.
Chickpea, Couscous, Apricot, Feta, and Mint Salad – A perfect summer dish. This is a hearty salad with lots of vitamins and minerals due to the variety of veggies, legumes, fruits and couscous in it. It is also packed with a surprisingly high amount of protein due to the feta, chickpeas, and even the couscous. A great dish to serve up at your summer cookouts to add a little bit of a fancy touch.
The Best Pasta Salad – The pasta salad -a potluck favorite – but this one is sure to win the prize for best pasta salad among all your friends. In addition, it will only take 20 minutes to make and it is fully customizable. Some ways to enhance the health and the taste is to add various herbs. You can also increase the crunch by adding onions and bell peppers. A great summertime treat.
Pasta Salad with Spinach, Pancetta, and Pomegranate – A beautiful salad once put together, and loaded with minerals and antioxidants due to the spinach, pomegranate, and almonds. It is also unique due to use of noodles in the pasta salad. This is a tasty salad to have a couple times of week due to the health benefits. To make it even better you can decrease the fat and the sodium by substituting the pancetta for turkey bacon.
Simple Macaroni Salad – A great variation on a classic dish. With added goat cheese, you get both protein and phytonutrients from the bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. The great thing about this dish is the various types of cheeses you can use to vary the flavor. Add eggs to increase the protein. Vary the sauce, or increase the vegetables. So many options in under 20 minutes. A great way to eat smart while balancing a busy schedule as chilled leftovers increase the flavor.
Seafood and pasta work really well together, and most seafood will provide enough protein to counterbalance the carbohydrates in the noodles. These recipes help you keep things delicious without the use of fatty cream sauces typically served with seafood pasta dishes.
Photo: Familystyle Food
Spicy Shrimp Scampi with Rosemary Cannellini – This dish combines take-out quality taste and speed, but with the ability to control the health and ingredients of a home-cooked meal. Each shrimp only contains 6 total calories that come mostly from protein. Not to mention, shrimp is packed with healthy fats and very easy to cook. This way you can fill up on more protein and fat, or more carbohydrates and fiber depending on your health goals.
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