Pasta Recipes To Try When You Don't Want Red Sauce

It's hard to explain, but some days you just really crave a plate of delicious pasta. Those carb-packed noodles in a variety of shapes and colors are filling and energizing -– they even help fight off being "hangry." There also is a wide variety of healthy noodles to work with ranging from whole wheat, rice noodles, and black bean to red lentil. When paired with a healthy green salad or a buttery garlic breadstick, your dinner just became a hearty full meal that will leave you completely satisfied. 

Another perk of pasta is that it's affordable and easy to fix on a tight budget. It can sit in a box in your pantry or the cupboard overnight or for a month and won't go bad. Pop a box of pasta into a pot of boiling water and in no time at all, it'll be ready to slather with sauce and twirl around your fork. It's also exceptionally versatile. You can infuse a plate of pasta with sundried tomatoes, olives, and Parmesan cheese drizzled with a vinaigrette or keep it simple with an Alfredo sauce, bits of broccoli, and chunks of chicken. A plate of whole-grain pasta also offers some health benefits, such as its lower fat content and can help with keeping blood sugar in check. But sometimes, a traditional red sauce smothered across a bed of noodles doesn't sound appetizing. Thank goodness we have alternative recipes for just such a meal!

Perfect pasta primavera

A plate piled high with pasta primavera just might curb your craving for carbs. This recipe calls for an ample amount of yummy veggies mixed with rotini noodles and topped with hearty Parmesan cheese. While you can alter the lineup of produce for this dish, this particular recipe calls for flavorful grape tomatoes, seasonal asparagus, tart yellow squash, and versatile zucchini. This recipe boasts red pepper flakes and an olive oil base to give it a little extra kick. 

If you're really hungry, you'll be happy to know that this quick-fix dish takes a mere 15 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. Most of your time will be spent prepping the produce, but trust us, it'll be worth it once you scoop up a hearty forkful of this dish.

Succulent shrimp fettuccine Alfredo

Fans of fettuccine Alfredo know that the glass jars of sauce available to buy at the grocery store taste nothing like what's served atop noodles at a restaurant. It's disheartening how big the difference there is between the creamy, cheesy Alfredo sauce served at an eatery. Well, now you can have that restaurant-quality Alfredo sauce right at home with this homemade recipe for shrimp Alfredo pasta. All you will need is one pan, 20 minutes and eight ingredients. It's easy to pick up the ingredients at the store, but be sure to purchase 16/20 or 30/40 shrimp, which means there are 16 to 20 shrimp per pound or 30 to 40 shrimp per pound. This recipe uses 30/40 shrimp — and be sure they're fresh and deveined. It'll make the dish taste even better!

Relish Rachael Ray's carbonara pasta

Celebrity chef Rachael Ray has created a carbonara pasta dish that we've tweaked to include ground Italian sausage and kale for an extra powerful punch of protein. The kale also adds vitamins A, K, and C to the dish. This carbonara pasta recipe calls for pancetta, an Italian rolled bacon seasoned with herbs. If your store doesn't carry it, you can substitute American bacon instead. For extra seasoning, use red pepper flakes and garlic to season the sauce, which is thickened with egg yolks. Be careful when tempering the eggs for this recipe so they don't scramble. The end result will be rich from the dry red wine sauce, hearty from the meat, and healthy from the kale.

Pile high your plate with pasta puttanesca

If you're wondering what on Earth puttanesca is, it translates to "lady of the night" in Italian. So how did that moniker affix itself to a pasta dish? As history has it, the recipe hails from the mid-20th century in the Spanish Quarters of Naples, a former red-light district, according to Italy Magazine. No matter its colorful and possibly sordid past, this pasta dish is brimming with flavor and will fill you up. 

All you'll need are anchovies, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, curly parsley, pasta, and seasonings, not to mention olive oil and water for boiling the noodles. The key to infusing this dish with flavor is to bring the ingredients to a boil, then allowing it to simmer to where the pasta soaks up all of the liquid. While pasta puttanesca tastes fantastic fresh, it also works wonderfully as leftovers.

Magnificent mac and cheese

Sure, mac and cheese out of a box will work in a pinch, but if you have 40 minutes to spare, then whip up this five-ingredient broccoli chicken mac and cheese. Your taste buds will thank you! Feel free to use pre-cooked chicken breasts to expedite the time from oven to eating, or allocate a little extra time to prepare the chicken instead. In addition to macaroni pasta and chicken breasts, grab some broccoli, milk and a three-cheese blend. The amazing cheese sauce is so creamy because you'll mix it with milk over medium heat. The homemade cheese sauce quite possibly is the best part of this meal. You definitely will be returning for seconds.

Creamy chicken fajita pasta

If you love chicken fajitas, you'll love this pasta recipe for chicken fajita pasta that takes the flavors of Southwestern style cooking and morphs it into more of an Italian dish. It takes just five minutes to prep the veggies and 20 minutes to cook. This recipe will be even easier to whip up if you use precooked or canned chicken. When paired with fresh, colorful peppers and a hearty taco seasoning mix, this recipe will quickly become a favorite. All you'll need to do is saute your peppers and the onion, make a thick sauce using vegetable broth and cream, boil the pasta noodles, and add the chicken and shredded cheese. Once the cheese has melted all the way through, this amazing dish is ready to scoop onto your plate and gorge on.

Tasty TikTok feta pasta

Social media is the perfect tool for sharing recipes. When scrolling down your Facebook feed, you're bound to find a friend who has reposted a delicious recipe he or she wants to try. One pasta dish quickly became a star on TikTok and after going viral, even caused a feta cheese shortage in some areas, according to Eat This, Not That!. But does it actually live up to the hype? We think it does! All you'll need for this TikTok feta pasta recipe is a block of feta cheese, dry pasta, dried oregano, black pepper, salt, cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a shallot. Be prepared to spend a little time working with the cherry tomatoes, which really infuses flavor into this delicious recipe.

Gorgeous grilled summer veggie pasta salad

Pasta tastes perfect year-round, but this grilled summer vegetable pasta salad will taste terrific on a cool summer's night while eating al fresco under the stars. Light and savory, this pasta dish calls for an assortment of produce including asparagus, a red bell pepper, summer squash, a zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and a sweet Vidalia onion. 

You can modify the recipe to include your favorite summertime produce if you'd like, of course, whatever you have on hand from the farmer's market or is ripe and ready to pick from the garden works, too. Fire up the grill, prep the veggies, and drizzle them with olive oil. A sprinkle of garlic salt, oregano, and cumin gives this summertime pasta salad some extra zest and zing. It will become a refreshing recipe you turn to quite often during the warm summer months.

Wonderful whole wheat pasta carbonara

Pasta carbonara is that perfect pasta dish when you're dashing around in a hurry and contemplating what on earth you can throw together for a quick dinner ready on the table in no time. This hearty recipe for whole wheat pasta carbonara requires just a few ingredients and doesn't require too much time to fix. The recipe traditionally calls for pancetta, but American bacon can be swapped in for it. It also uses whole wheat pasta instead of traditional pasta to infuse a nutty flavor and offer a healthier option. With its creamy, smoky flavor, this dish quickly will become a family favorite, particularly when time is of the essence.

Fantastic fettucine Alfredo

If you can't imagine making a homemade Alfredo sauce that rivals what you've dined on in restaurants, guess again. This recipe for fettucine Alfredo whips up a dish that can stand on its own as the main meal or as a side to a fish or meat dish. The secret to this dish is the sauce, which calls for salted butter and heavy cream, along with a hint of nutmeg and pepper. If you're surprised by the addition of nutmeg, don't worry. This spice gives the sauce a bit of a nutty flavor and is commonly used in traditional fettucine Alfredo recipes.

Tempting spinach and feta mac and cheese

Homemade mac and cheese usually hits the spot, but if you're looking to take the healthy factor of this dish up a notch or two, look no further than this recipe for one-pot spinach and feta mac and cheese. Grab your favorite type of pasta, fresh or frozen pasta, feta cheese, Swiss cheese, milk, and water or vegetable stock. The blend of Swiss and feta cheeses bring a sharp tang to the creamy sauce that accents the flavor of the spinach. If you've never cooked spinach, just know that it's quite easy to do. Don't worry about using too much seasoning while cooking the spinach as you can never have too much for this delectable dish.