15 Healthy Pasta Sauce Recipes to Upgrade Spaghetti Night

From bright marinara to herby pesto, these sauces are surprisingly healthy.

bowl of healthy pasta sauce vegan bolognese
Mike Garten

Pasta night doesn't have to be indulgent — in fact, any plate of spaghetti can be part of a nutritious, balanced and delicious diet. With the help of these healthy pasta sauce recipes, you can satisfy your next craving for carbs and hit your health goals all in one delicious bowl of herby pesto or classic marinara.

The key to any nutritious pasta sauce is a good base of veggies — think spaghetti loaded with roasted vegetables (cauliflower! broccoli! onions!) or penne packed with fresh herbs, in-season tomatoes or heaps of leafy greens. Try lasagna layered with protein-rich cashew cream or traditional tomato sauce loaded with light, flavorful ingredients like fennel, capers, olives and more. Topped with a filling protein like creamy white beans, lean chicken or any number of meatball recipes, pasta can be a perfectly balanced plate of protein, veggies, healthy fats and carbs.

Looking to ramp up the nutritional value of dinner even more? According to a GH nutritionist, the healthiest ways to eat pasta include enjoying whole-wheat pasta (which boasts a heartier, nuttier flavor than traditional pasta) or trying bean- and legume-based noodles. You can also break out your spiralizer to try vegetable-based "pastas" (hello, zoodles!) that offer a low-cal alternative. Many of these recipes adhere to nutritionist recommendations, like doubling up on the veggie serving and cutting the pasta by a half or third. Grab a fork, because it's pasta for dinner tonight!

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1 Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
roasted cauliflower pasta
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Amp up this simple recipe with anchovies, capers, garlic and fresh lemon juice. Dinner in under 30 minutes!

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RELATED: Healthy Pasta Recipes That Will Keep You Full All Night

2 Vegan Bolognese
vegan bolognese
Mike Garten

This hearty dish uses meaty mushrooms and protein-rich lentils to beef up a completely plant-based dinner.

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RELATED: 70 Vegan Recipes so Good, You'll Forget About Meat and Cheese

3 Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
pasta with no cook tomato sauce
Mike Garten

When tomatoes are in peak season, there's no need to cook them for max flavor.

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4 Parsley Pesto Pasta
parsley pesto pasta
Faith Mason

Blended with garlic, walnuts and olive oil, this pesto is a simple and delicious sauce for any pasta.

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5 Vegan Lasagna
vegan lasagna
Mike Garten

This plant-based pick ditches the usual ricotta or butter-based béchamel found in typical lasagna recipes. Instead, it uses an easy cashew cream that's just as delicious as the real thing.

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6 Orecchiette with White Beans and Spinach
orecchiette with white beans and spinach
Mike Garten

Protein-rich white beans add creaminess (without the cream!) to this weeknight winner.

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SHOP GH COOKWARE

7 Penne with Spicy Anchovy Marinara
penne with spicy anchovy marinara
Mike Garten

Juicy tomatoes, salty anchovies and fiery red chiles add a ton of flavor to this sauce — without a ton of added calories.

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8 Lemon Orzo Salad
lemon orzo salad
Mike Garten

Raw zucchini gets “cooked” when added to the hot pasta for a veggie-based sauce in seconds.

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RELATED: 50+ Zucchini Recipes That Are Easy, Healthy and Delicious

9 Spaghetti and Air Fryer Meatballs
spaghetti and air fryer meatballs
Mike Garten

The trusty air fryer cuts down on excess oil in this classic.

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10 Chicken Bolognese
chicken bolognese
Mike Garten

Instead of a hearty tomato-based sauce, this simple pasta gets tossed in a light broth with plenty of lemon and spicy red pepper flakes.

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11 One-Pot Spaghetti
one pot spaghetti
Mike Garten

Not only is this genius recipe made entirely in one pot, but the simple sauce is packed with a full cup of basil!

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12 Summer Squash, Mint, and Pecorino Pasta
summer squash, mint, and pecorino pasta
Danielle Daly

By weight, there are more veggies than pasta in this dish. Yes, please!

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13 Chilled Tortellini Romesco
chilled tortellini romesco
Mike Garten

Romesco is a Spanish roasted red pepper sauce made with blended nuts, herbs and a splash of vinegar for bright flavor. Serve it over pasta!

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14 Cauliflower Alfredo
cauliflower alfredo
Mike Garten

Alfredo without butter or cream? It's possible. This pick sneaks in cauliflower as a tasty, creamy substitute.

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RELATED: 30 Crazy-Delicious Cauliflower Recipes to Instantly Upgrade Your Veggie Game

15 Fennel Pasta Pomodoro
fennel pasta pomodoro
Mike Garten

Fennel adds extra flavor (and veggies!) to this tasty tomato sauce.

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