15 High Quality Low Calorie Pasta Recipes Which Won’t Cost Much To Make

If you count your calories, that should not stop you from eating high-quality pasta with plenty of tasty ingredients. From Tuna Pasta Salad to a Vegan Puttanesca, the best pasta dishes should be colorful and fresh.

Eating pasta, even on a low-calorie diet, should include a wide variety of recipes with some lean versions of family favorites like spaghetti and meatballs.

15 High Quality Low Calorie Pasta Recipes Which Won't Cost Much To Make

Each recipe can still be a comfort food and ideal for anyone looking towards losing weight on a budget as seasonal vegetables and good-quality meat are used. 

In this guide, we will detail 15 high-quality, low-calorie pasta recipes which won’t cost much to make.

  • Poor Man’s Vongole Rosso
  • Spaghetti With Garlic Mushrooms And Prosciutto
  • Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Tuna Pasta With Rocket And Lemon Pesto
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Creamy Pea And Ham Pasta
  • Lighter Spaghetti And Meatballs
  • Tagliatelle With Vegetable Ragu
  • Lemon Spaghetti With Tuna And Broccoli
  • Creamy Salmon Pasta
  • Red Pepper And Pesto With Penne
  • Tapenade Chicken Pasta With Runner Beans
  • Warm Sausage And Broccoli Pasta Salad
  • Vegan Puttanesca
  • Rainbow Orzo Salad

1. Poor Man’s Vongole Rosso

Seafood can be a flavorful addition to any pasta dish, and Poor Man’s Vongole Rosso remains simple to make. Cook off garlic in olive oil, then add a can of cherry tomatoes then, swill out the can with white wine, and add.

Simmer with sugar until thick, then cook the pasta, drain, add the cockles, and cook with a lid until all the cockles have opened, which should only be three to four minutes.

Discard any cockles that have not opened and serve the dish with a separate bowl for the shells. 

2. Spaghetti With Garlic Mushrooms And Prosciutto

With cremini mushrooms smothered in a garlic-infused sauce with some heat from red pepper flakes, this pasta dish can sure pack a punch.

The freshness continues with frozen green peas and prosciutto but with a creaminess from whipping cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

Though the peas and red pepper flakes are optional, they do add plenty of color and flavor.

3. Tuna Pasta Salad

With pasta shells or fusilli, and plenty of fresh vegetables like diced bell pepper, halved cherry tomatoes, and diced avocado, this Tuna Pasta Salad recipe includes plenty of fresh ingredients that you can create your own variation.

You could also throw in a corn cob, some finely sliced spring onions, along with a whole can of drained tuna in spring water.

Combine it all, and then add a dressing of lemon juice, lemon zest, sour cream, wholegrain mustard, mayonnaise, parsley, and seasoning.

4. Tuna Pasta With Rocket And Lemon Pesto

Orecchiette pasta is great for taking on flavor, and there is plenty in this dish that has a wonderful green color.

That includes grated Parmesan cheese and lemon juice with texture from rocket, slivered almonds, and a couple of cans of drained tuna in oil. Aside from the bold color, like most of these pasta dishes, this is one you can create really quickly.

5. Pasta Primavera

Another recipe that uses seasonal ingredients is this one for Pasta Primavera. Most of the dish is vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peas, and red and orange bell peppers.

The flavor comes from rich components like butter, olive oil, half and half, as well as Parmesan cheese. As well as being nutritious, the colors in this dish should look sensational when served on the table.

6. Creamy Pea And Ham Pasta

Though this is a decidedly creamy pasta dish that includes white wine, it remains healthy. Start by cooking the casarecce pasta, adding the frozen peas to cook, and then draining the pot but keeping some of the cooking liquid.

Fry up the garlic and shallot until aromatic, and then add the white wine to reduce.

Create the sauce by whisking together the cooking liquid with cream cheese, then seasoning and cooking briefly in the pan, then adding the pasta to combine with ham and torn basil though you can include lemon zest for a different tang to the dish instead of the basil. 

7. Lighter Spaghetti And Meatballs

To bulk up the pork patties, use lentils as a low-calorie addition which is still packed full of flavor and should help to keep them together.

In fact, there’s just a bit more lean pork mince than green lentils in the meatballs with some finely chopped rosemary, Dijon mustard, and garlic.

The sauce is pretty fresh, too, with finely chopped garlic cloves and shallots, halved cherry tomatoes, tomato purée, chili flakes, and oregano. 

8. Tagliatelle With Vegetable Ragù

Ragù can be a rich addition to a pasta dish, and that’s the case here, even with a vegetable version made from celery, onion, eggplant, courgette, yellow bell pepper, and carrot.

More traditional ingredients include garlic cloves, tomato passata, olive oil, and tagliatelle. You can also smother the dish in grated vegan cheese. 

9. Lemon Spaghetti With Tuna And Broccoli

This pasta recipe uses some great fresh-tasting ingredients like green olives, capers, and broccoli florets. Add in a can of tuna in oil with the juice and zest of a lemon, and you have the makings of a simple and rewarding dish.

Make sure that you add lots of black pepper to add some spice too.

10. Creamy Salmon Pasta

Another fish dish is this one, which uses skin-on salmon fillets. Once the skin is crispy and golden, flake it into pasta with a sauce from heavy cream, dill, freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, and onion. 

11. Red Pepper And Pesto With Penne

You can create a lot of dishes from a jar of roasted red peppers. With this one, blitz them with parsley, cashew nuts, garlic, and olive oil into pesto. Cook the pasta, drain the pot, then heat up with the pesto and cover with grated Parmesan cheese.

12. Tapenade Chicken Pasta With Runner Beans

Runner beans can add some real bulk to a pasta dish, as can chicken breasts. Throw in some salty notes with a jar of black kalamata olives and anchovy fillets. Then you have the makings of a tasty dish.

There is also a freshness from halved cherry tomatoes and chopped red chili.

13. Warm Sausage And Broccoli Pasta Salad

For hearty salads, look no further than adding broccoli florets and cooked pork chipolatas. Insist on a short pasta-like conchigliette to mix with the grated zest and juice of half a lime, a handful of rocket, garlic cloves, and onion. 

14. Vegan Puttanesca

Of course, you can mix up this recipe if you are not vegan, and anchovies work really well. There is still a lot of flavor involved, including some warmth from dried chili flakes though garlic, oregano, and capers provide some interesting notes too.

Try to use brown rice pasta, though insist on olives and strained tomatoes too.

15. Rainbow Orzo Salad

As you may expect, this Rainbow Orzo Salad is bursting with color from fresh ingredients. You can prepare it for a potluck or have it on standby at a barbecue.

Prepare it in advance with quartered cherry tomatoes, diced orange and yellow bell peppers, diced cucumber, chopped red onion, and crumbled feta cheese.

When you are ready to serve, cook the orzo pasta, leave it to cool, and prepare the dressing from olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking to create high-quality, low-calorie pasta dishes then choose fresh ingredients and light versions of your favorite recipes.

That may be by adding lentils to make up some of the bulk in meatballs or simply using seasonal vegetables like cherry tomatoes and avocado.

The meat is also important and you should insist on low-fat pork mince, fresh fish like lean salmon, or tins of tuna in spring water. Above all, choose your favorite pasta and try to make it a wholewheat version with plenty of fiber included.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types Of Pasta Are Known To Be Healthy And Nutritious?

If you are looking to pick up some pasta from the store, you should look out for some nutritious types. These include chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, and soba noodles.

Wholewheat pasta will also bulk up the nutritional value of any pasta dish, so look to involve them if the recipe does not dictate what type of pasta you should use. 

What Is The Difference Between Eating Pasta And Rice On A Low-Calorie Diet?

In general, you should be looking to eat pasta instead of rice for low-calorie meals with high carbohydrate content.

However, if you want to maintain good levels of protein and fiber, then you should opt for pasta.

You can also try to mix up your pasta and rice meals as the differences in nutrition are largely negligible, and it could come down to which type of food or meal you actually prefer to eat.

Lindsey Morgan
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