26 Pasta Dinner Recipes in 20 Minutes or Less
Get a healthy and delicious meal on the table quickly with these pasta dinner recipes. Each recipe comes together in just 20 minutes or less and is packed with hearty proteins and vegetables. You can easily swap pasta shapes depending on what you already have in your pantry. Recipes like Creamy Spinach Pasta and Butternut Squash Ravioli with Chicken Sausage & Kale are flavorful, filling and perfect for busy weeknights.
Spaghetti & Chicken Meatballs with No-Cook Tomato Sauce
This crowd-pleasing and easy dinner recipe takes just 20 minutes to make, start to finish, so it's perfect for weeknights! When tomatoes are at their in-season best, just a quick chop and a few ingredients are all you need to make a spaghetti sauce in minutes. Store-bought chicken meatballs keep the low-effort theme going all the way to the table.
Creamy Lemon Pasta with Shrimp
Yogurt makes a fine substitute for cream in the sauce for this easy pasta recipe. Just warm the yogurt (do not boil) and add some pasta-cooking water to thin it out. Lemon and fresh basil brighten up the whole-wheat pasta and complement the shrimp in this quick dinner recipe.
Spinach & Artichoke Dip Pasta
If you've ever wanted to make a meal out of warm spinach and artichoke dip, this creamy pasta is for you. And here's what's almost as good as the flavor of this comforting dish: the fact that this healthy dinner takes just 20 minutes to prepare.
Classic Sesame Noodles with Chicken
Classic sesame noodles become a healthy meal with lean chicken and tons of veggies in this quick recipe for Asian noodles. Be sure to rinse the spaghetti until it's cold, then give it a good shake in the colander until it's well drained. Are you a spiralizing pro? Swap 5 cups of raw zucchini, carrot or other veggie “noodles” for the cooked pasta.
Easy Pea & Spinach Carbonara
Fresh pasta cooks up faster than dried, making it a must-have for fast weeknight dinners like this luscious yet healthy meal. Eggs are the base of the creamy sauce. They don't get fully cooked, so use pasteurized-in-the-shell eggs if you prefer.
One-Pot Lemon-Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan
This hearty pasta dish with bright, fresh flavor is ideal for busy weeknights. The Parmesan adds welcome saltiness and notes of umami and you get added texture from the slight crunch of broccoli and whole-wheat noodles. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp or crispy chickpeas to punch up the protein.
Cherry Tomato & Garlic Pasta
This easy and healthy pasta recipe takes just 20 minutes to prep so it's a perfect weeknight dinner. Cooking garlic cloves whole and then mashing them into the sauce not only saves time, it creates a mellow garlic flavor that melds seamlessly into the silky burst cherry tomatoes.
Creamy Spinach Pasta
This might be one of the creamiest light pasta dishes you've ever had! The mascarpone cheese adds a richness to the spinach pasta that's unexpected--especially in a healthy pasta recipe.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Chicken Sausage & Kale
What's the secret to making store-bought butternut squash ravioli even more delicious? Add apple-chicken sausage, tender greens and lots of caramelized onions. We add a bit of sugar to help the onions caramelize faster, but feel free to omit it (just cook the onions a bit longer if you do). Buy prewashed chopped kale to cut down on prep time. It all adds up to an easy dinner that's ready in just 20 minutes.
One-Pot Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts
Taking a minute to sizzle some garlic in olive oil is a simple way to pep up the cheese sauce for this easy homemade mac and cheese, and the flavor plays well with the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in this family-friendly pasta dish. This recipe is designed for you to make a big batch of the cheese sauce to use in different dishes: Stir it into pasta and veggies to make this pasta a one-pot dinner then use it for Cheesy Beef Enchilada Casserole later in the week (see Associated Recipes). Or simply serve it over your favorite steamed vegetables for an easy side dish. If you'd rather make just enough sauce for this pasta, simply cut the sauce amounts in half.
Three-Cheese Vegetable Pasta Toss
Traditional macaroni and cheese is transformed by adding mushrooms, spinach, and tomato sauce. And it's ready in just 20 minutes!
Spinach, Lima Bean & Crispy Pancetta Pasta
We opt for fresh spinach pasta here--it cooks quickly and adds a pop of color. Cooking lima beans in pancetta drippings infuses them with flavor.
Mediterranean Ravioli with Artichokes & Olives
Store-bought spinach ravioli and a handful of basic pantry items are all you need to get a healthy dinner on the table in 15 minutes. Ingredients like oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, briny Kalamata olives and toasty pine nuts help to build big flavor fast. If you can't find frozen artichokes, swap in a 15-ounce can (just be sure to drain and rinse them well).
Quick Fettuccine Alfredo
In this healthy fettuccine Alfredo recipe, the sauce for this classic pasta dish gets a makeover, using yogurt. Although we like to toss this creamy pasta sauce with fettuccine, any whole-wheat pasta can be used.
Beef Pad Thai
We've bulked up the serving size of beef pad thai by adding in lots of healthy veggies like matchstick carrots, snap peas and scallions. Look for whole-grain brown-rice pad thai noodles to add an additional 3 grams fiber to each serving.
Quick Shrimp Puttanesca
Because refrigerated fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta, this Italian pasta dish will be on the table lickety-split! Puttanesca, traditionally made with tomatoes, olives, capers, anchovies and garlic, gets a makeover with shrimp for extra protein and artichoke hearts to boost the vegetable servings (and the fiber!). If you can't find frozen artichoke hearts, sub in drained canned artichoke hearts.
Classic Mac & Cheese
No sneaky ingredients here, just delicious comfort food. You can enjoy this super-cheesy mac and cheese in the same time it takes to cook the boxed version. Whole-wheat noodles add fiber, while sharp Cheddar adds richness. A hefty twist of black pepper balances the cheese's salty tang.
Italian Penne with Tuna
Need a quick pasta dish that's flavorful and colorful? This penne pasta dinner-for-two combines leeks, baby spinach, tuna and sun-dried tomatoes--and it's ready in just 20 minutes!
Spaghetti with Meat Loaf Sauce
Get ahead on dinner this week! Leftovers from the Mediterranean Meat Loaf are the perfect addition to this low-fat, tomato-based spaghetti recipe.
Linguine with Lemon Alfredo Shrimp
This bright and lemony shrimp pasta dish was inspired by traditional Alfredo but comes in at only a fraction of the fat and calories. Reduced-fat cream cheese adds body to the sauce, while Parmesan cheese adds its signature robust flavor. This recipe calls for brown rice pasta, which is gluten-free, but if gluten is not a concern for you feel free to serve this sauce over regular linguine or fettucine--or any pasta you like!
Spaghetti with Broccolini Pesto
Broccolini stems are quickly softened in the pasta-boiling water before being whirled with basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano into a flavorful pesto sauce in this healthy vegetarian pasta recipe. It's worth seeking out Parmigiano-Reggiano to make the pesto-its superior flavor elevates the final dish. Edamame bumps up the protein to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Skillet Ravioli Lasagna
This easy inside-out ravioli lasagna is the ultimate weeknight comfort food--no layering or mixing bowls required. Feel free to swap in ground turkey for the beef. Look for fresh mozzarella balls (also called "pearls") in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store.
Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Feta Penne Pasta
In this quick 20-minute dinner recipe, tender penne pasta is combined with garlic, roasted red peppers and spinach and topped with crumbled feta cheese for a fast and easy Mediterranean-inspired meal. This recipe was graciously shared by EatingWell reader Dottie Carpenter, who states, "Recipes are no good if they're not shared!"
Shrimp scampi is a favorite dish at many Italian restaurants but our version takes just 20 minutes to prepare, so it's perfect for a weeknight dinner at home. Large shrimp are cooked with garlic and then served over linguine pasta with a buttery-wine sauce--it's so good your family may think you ordered takeout!
Pesto Ravioli with Spinach & Tomatoes
Looking for a new way to turn a bag of frozen cheese ravioli into a satisfying and healthy dinner? This easy pasta recipe calls for just five ingredients but is loaded with fresh flavors. By using grape tomatoes, prewashed spinach and prepared pesto, we eliminate all prep work, making this 15-minute Caprese-inspired ravioli the ideal weeknight meal.
Shrimp Tofu Noodles
Watching your carb intake? This 20-minute recipe is one you'll want to try. We've paired shrimp with a time-saving store-bought fresh vegetable medley and a zesty homemade sauce and served it over tofu noodles. These noodles are gluten-free, so they're lower in carbs and have fewer calories than spaghetti.