Low-Calorie Pasta Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy, delicious low-calorie pasta side dish recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Easy Whole-Wheat Couscous

Feel free to double this recipe to suit your needs. To add more flavor, swap reduced-sodium broth in for the water.

Lemon Herbed Orzo Pasta

This quick and easy lemony and herb pasta dish makes a delicious side. Try adding chicken or shrimp for a more complete meal.

Vegetarian Quinoa & Squash Casserole

Rating: Unrated
4
An aromatic mixture of garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, allspice and cayenne flavors this vegetarian quinoa and squash casserole recipe. Frozen squash is a super-easy topping.

Macaroni Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

Give classic pasta salad a fresher, more flavorful spin. This fast pasta dish calls for avocado to replace some of the mayonnaise, which makes it extra creamy. Whole-wheat elbow macaroni and fresh vegetables lighten up this healthy pasta salad that you'll be making all summer long.

Couscous With Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes

Enjoy the benefits of good-for-you whole-wheat couscous with this quick and easy grain side dish. Fresh cherry tomatoes, crisp-tender zucchini, and earthy thyme are a perfect accompaniment to the delightful, nutty taste of the couscous.

Penne with Brussels Sprouts & Bok Choy

This tasty recipe of multi-grain pasta and Brussels sprouts makes a scrumptious side for roasted turkey, baked ham, or roast beef.

Orzo & Grape Salad with Feta & Mint

Rating: Unrated
2
This brightly flavored, healthy orzo pasta salad recipe is a bright, refreshing and easy side dish to pair with chicken or lamb. Great served warm, room temperature or cold, this healthy pasta salad recipe is also delicious when made with quinoa instead of orzo.

Couscous Tabbouleh

Packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, whole-wheat couscous is ready to eat in minutes. Make it a meal: Fill pita bread with this salad for a tasty sandwich.

Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf

Rating: Unrated
1
Great-tasting whole-grain pilafs are available these days, and they are a step up (nutritionally speaking) from the original San Francisco treat, but unfortunately they are usually loaded with sodium. Our version combines whole-wheat pasta, onions and brown rice for delicious results with less sodium.

Mock Noodle Kugel

In this healthy version of the traditional noodle favorite, spaghetti squash serves as a low-carb alternative to pasta.

Broccoli Rabe & Orzo Salad

Rating: Unrated
2
Lemon, oregano and feta add zing to broccoli rabe tossed with whole-wheat orzo.

Cauliflower & Couscous Pilaf

Rating: Unrated
2
Pilaf is usually made with rice plus nuts, fruit, vegetables or even meat. In this version we use couscous instead of rice, so it's nearly instant, and add a sweet accent of orange and currants.

Inspiration and Ideas

Gingered Couscous with Chickpeas

Whole-wheat couscous is as fast and easy to prepare as regular couscous. Here, it makes a delightful simple side dish or stuffing for baked winter squash halves.

Herbed Orzo

Orzo may look like rice, but it's actually a type of pasta. In this quick side dish recipe, it's served with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese and is flavored with citrus and herbs.

Tomato & Kale Pesto Pasta

Rating: Unrated
1

This 25-minute pasta side dish goes well with chicken or fish and can be served either warm or at room temperature. Kale and basil create a fresh-tasting pesto that is packed with protein and taste, thanks to the addition of chickpeas. We like shaved Parmesan sprinkled on the top, but feel free to add toasted pine nuts or walnuts for some crunch.