There’s something so wholesome and comforting about Italian food. The great thing is that with a few modifications, we can indulge in very low calorie pasta when we are in the process of losing weight. These are amazing recipes that you will come back to over and over again since they are healthy, fit your calorie limits, and most importantly, are absolutely delicious!
Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Meatballs
Let’s get back to the basics with your classic spaghetti and meatball recipe with a twist. This is a very low calorie pasta that will satiate your hunger and tickle your taste buds.
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Italian seasoning
- 50 g ground turkey
- 1 jar of natural tomato sauce
- 1 egg
- Cut your squash open lengthwise and put one half of it away (only one half per serving). Take the remaining half, scoop and throw out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, and season. Roast in a 400C oven for about 45 minutes, or when it’s easy to pierce with a fork.
- While the squash is roasting, combine the ground turkey with the egg, seasoning, and add breadcrumbs until you get a consistency that is easy to roll into balls. Brown the balls on a non-stick skillet and then pour in the jar of tomato sauce. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Once you squash is roasted, used two forks to remove the “spaghetti” from the rind and transfer onto a plate or shallow bowl.
- Arrange your meatballs on your “spaghetti” and pour the sauce over it. It’s time to dig in!
Pesto Chicken Zoodles
This recipe has it all: veggies, lean protein, and amazing flavors. It only takes about 15 minutes to put together, so we have a feeling that it will be in high rotation!
- 1 small chicken breast
- 2 tbsp of pesto
- 1 medium sized zucchini
- 5 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- Use a spiralizer to make zoodles out of your zucchini. Put the zoodles in a strainer, sprinkle some salt on top, and let some of the excess water drain.
- Dice the chicken breast, season with salt and pepper, and sauté it at medium heat on a non-stick pan. Once the chicken looks cooked, lower the temperature and add the pesto. Sauté together for about 7 minutes.
- Squeeze the remaining moisture from the zucchini and add it to the skillet. After about 2 minutes, remove from heat, add the tomatoes, and enjoy!
Lasagna is everyone’s favorite casserole, and it’s no wonder why. The richness of the sauce and broiled cheese on top will win anyone’s heart. Though usually quite a calorie-high dish, we have made some simple substitutions to dramatically lower the sinfulness without taking away what we love best about it.
- 2 large zucchinis
- 250 g ground turkey
- 1 natural tomato sauce
- Italian seasoning
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 15 g grated Low fat cheese
- Mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- Slice the zucchinis lengthwise as thinly as possible. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for a few minutes. In the meantime, dice the onion and sauté until clear, and then brown the ground turkey, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Mince the garlic and add it to the skillet.
- Add the tomato sauce, reserving about a 5th of the jar, to the skillet and lower the temperature. You’ll want the mixture to simmer for a bit before you start layering, around 15 minutes. Add Italian seasoning to taste.
- While you were working on the sauce, the zucchini will have “sweated” out some of its juices thanks to the salt. Use a paper towel to squeeze the excess water from the zucchini slices.
- Pour the remaining tomato sauce onto a medium-sized rectangular casserole dish. Then start layering the components: zucchini, meat sauce, cheese, etc. If you choose to add mushroom, put them on top of a meat layer. Make sure to end with a cheese layer in order to get a nice baked top.
- Put into a preheated 375C oven for 35 minutes and enjoy!
Spaghetti with Avocado Sauce
Though the pasta in this recipe brings the calories up to around 435, the nutritional value of whole wheat spaghetti makes up for it. Full of healthy fats and fiber, this is a fast pasta dish that you should be eating on the regular. Suitable for vegans.
- 300 g whole wheat spaghetti pasta
- 25g of blanched (skinless) almonds
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 garlic clove
- Bunch of basil
- The zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 25g of Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative (optional)
- Stone, peel, and chop the avocados, and then place them, along with the garlic, half of the basil, almonds, and the lemon juice & zest, in a food processor. Blitz until it has a smooth, cream-like consistency.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil with some salt, and cook the pasta per the instructions on the package. Once al dente, drain and toss with the previously made sauce.
- Before serving, garnish with the remaining basil leaves and parmesan cheese if desired
As you see, pasta doesn’t need to be complicated or an “enemy” to those looking to live a healthy lifestyle. Just a few simple substitutions are enough to take these dishes from guilt-inducing to meals you can feel good indulging in.