Whether you’ve sworn off refined carbs or are simply trying to eat healthier, you might be tempted to cut noodles from your diet. But you don’t need to forego your favorite pasta dishes. Instead, you can use healthier noodles in place of standard white pasta, which has often been stripped of its nutrients due to the refining process. Filled with whole grains, such as whole wheat and quinoa, and various vegetables including spinach, carrots, and zucchini, you never need to feel guilty about making these 6 nutritious noodle recipes for dinner. Select your favorite recipes, grab your pasta maker or rolling pin, and head to the kitchen — it’s time to get cooking!
1. Whole Wheat Pasta Noodles
You don’t need a pasta maker to prepare Food.com’s 4-ingredient Whole Wheat Pasta Noodles. Using whole-wheat flour, eggs, salt, and water, you can make 100% whole-grain noodles that your family will love. We suggest serving your pasta with Wellness Mama’s healthy Homemade Tomato Sauce.
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Directions: Mix together the flour, eggs, and salt. Add water as needed slowly. Dough should be firm, but not sticky. Pour dough out on a lightly floured surface until it has elasticity to it. Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes to relax the dough. Roll dough out to your desired thickness with a rolling pin or place in your pasta machine. There are different ways to form your pasta. Either cut pasta in strips, cut in squares, pushing sides toward the center, or wrap around a kebab stick and let dry. Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes to avoid clumping. Cook fresh pasta for 2 to 4 minutes. Enjoy!
2. Unique Spinach Noodles
There are plenty of benefits that come with preparing AllRecipes.com’s Unique Spinach Noodles: They’re healthy, easy to make, and taste great served by themselves or in soups. We guarantee that these fresh-tasting noodles will be a hit at suppertime! The recipe yields 2 to 4 servings.
- 1¼ cups torn spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Directions: Combine spinach and water in a saucepan. Cover, and cook until spinach is very tender. Cool slightly. Place spinach and liquid in blender container. Add egg and salt. Cover, and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Roll very thin on a floured surface. Let rest 20 minutes. Roll up loosely. Slice ¼-inch wide. Unroll. Cut into desired lengths. Spread out on a rack to dry for 2 hours.
3. Egg Noodles
To make Betty Crocker’s Egg Noodles as healthy as possible, use whole wheat flour instead of white. With just 5 ingredients, it can be ready in an hour and works wonderfully as a dinner side. If you’re looking for something to put on your pasta, we recommend making Food Network’s Basil Pesto. Yields 6 servings.
- 2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ to ½ cup water
Directions: In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add egg yolks, whole egg, and water to well; mix thoroughly. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. On lightly floured surface, roll one-fourth of dough at a time into rectangle, 1⁄16 to ⅛-inch thick. Loosely fold rectangle lengthwise into thirds. Cut crosswise into ⅛-inch strips for narrow noodles, ¼-inch strips for medium noodles, or ½-inch strips for wide noodles.
Unfold and gently shake out strips. Hang pasta on pasta drying rack or arrange in single layer on lightly floured towels; let stand 30 minutes or until dry. Break strips into smaller pieces. In 6- to 8-quart saucepan, heat 4 quarts water to boiling; add pasta. Boil uncovered 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until firm but tender. Begin testing for doneness when pasta rises to surface of water. Drain pasta.
4. Zucchini and Carrot Noodles
Williams-Sonoma’s unique take on noodles results in a dish that is simple, flavorful, and seasoned to perfection. Because you don’t need to make dough in order to prepare this recipe, it’s a great pasta-like meal to make when you’re short on time. If you’d prefer to add your own toppings to your Zucchini and Carrot Noodles, use a mandoline, or another utensil that allows for precision cutting, to cut your veggies into thin slices, and then prepare them the way you’d like.
- 6 zucchinis, about 2 pounds total, ends trimmed
- 4 carrots, about 1½ pounds total, peeled and ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Directions: Using a mandoline, cut the zucchini and carrots into long, thin matchsticks. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the zucchini, carrots, and chili flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chives and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
5. Quinoa Pasta Noodles
Thanks to Cradle Rocking Mama, you can enjoy quinoa in pasta form. Forbes notes that quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids and has almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. In addition, the superfood contains iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese. This recipe was adapted from Just Eat Love.
- 1½ cups quinoa flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Up to ½ cup warm water
Directions: Mix flour, starch, and salt; place on counter. Make well in your flour, add olive oil and 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Begin mixing your dough from the outside in until you reach a pliable consistency. Add water until the right consistency is reached. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. Flatten dough into a disc shape, cover in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Break the dough into two halves. Working with the first half, roll dough out as thin as you like it using either a pasta maker or a rolling pin. Repeat with second half. Cut into whatever shape you like. At this point you can dry the noodles, or store in the refrigerator for later. Add noodles to salted, boiling water; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
6. Fresh Gluten-Free Pasta
Eating gluten-free does not mean swearing off pasta for life. Instead, make this recipe for Fresh Gluten-Free Pasta, which can be found in Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, or via Epicurious. Two different flours, including quinoa, starch, eggs, thickeners, and sea salt create these diet-friendly noodles.
- ⅔ cup corn flour
- ½ cup quinoa flour
- ½ cup potato starch
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon guar gum
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 egg yolks from large eggs
Directions: Sift the corn flour, quinoa flour, and potato starch into a large bowl. Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt, and stir. Sift the entire mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Put the eggs and egg yolks into the bowl of dry ingredients. Run the stand mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the dough feels fully formed, about 3 minutes. The final dough should feel firm yet still pliable, a little like Play-Doh. If you are using a pasta machine, cut the ball of dough into quarters and roll out each piece of dough to about a ½-inch thickness. We like to roll out each piece between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Lightly flour both sides of the dough with a bit more potato starch.
Run the dough through the machine, increasing the setting each time, until the dough is paper-thin and long. If the pasta sheet starts to break, it is thin enough. If you are making the dough by hand, we suggest you cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces, and then cut each of those pieces in half, so they are about the size of golf balls. Roll out each piece of dough as thin as you possibly can. For fettuccine, use the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine. If you are cutting the dough by hand, you want ribbons of pasta, about ¼-inch wide. For spaghetti, use the spaghetti setting on the pasta machine. If you are cutting the dough by hand, you want thin strings of pasta. For ravioli, cut the rolled-out pasta into 2-inch-square pieces. Dollop the filling in the middle of a square of pasta.
Brush the edges of the pasta with an egg wash. Place another pasta square on top and press down, crimping the edges. For lasagna, leave the pasta in long sheets. To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the pasta shape of your choice into the boiling water. When the pasta rises to the surface, take a little piece and taste it. You should be able to bite into it without it falling apart. Cooking times will vary for the different shapes. Fettuccine generally takes 4 to 5 minutes, spaghetti 3 to 4 minutes. Ravioli takes a little longer, about 5 to 6 minutes. The cooking times will differ in each kitchen, depending on how thin you were able to roll out the dough.