Having a handful of trusted, family-friendly pasta recipes can be the key to surviving a busy week. And I love that a lot of pasta dishes are naturally low in fat and healthy, too, when dressed right. Sure there are some creamy, high calorie offenders, but for the most part, there are a ton of delicious skinny pasta recipes that are great for nights when dinner has to be easy.

These dishes have become my go-to healthy meals when I forget to defrost the chicken and need dinner on the table STAT. They’re everything you love about pasta, just a little skinnier. Now, if we could just apply that to everything else in our lives.

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Related: 6 no-cook pasta sauce recipes

Made with extra-lean ground beef, fresh peppers, and whole wheat tagliatelle, the Healthier Pasta Bolognese at The Scrumptious Pumpkin (above) satisfies those cold wintry nights when we crave something hearty in a bowl, but don’t want to feel greasy or overstuffed. All done in 30 minutes. Yes, please.

 

Need a good skinny pasta recipe for busy weeknights? One Pot Lemon Orzo Shrimp is fresh, flavorful and on the table fast. | Damn Delicious

Is it sad that the words one pot are my idea of an enticing proposition these days? One Pot Lemon Orzo Shrimp at Damn Delicious has all the ingredients to make this a regular for my kids: shrimp, tomatoes, peas, orzo, and a quick cook time. My littlest one still struggles with big shapes and noodles, so anything with orzo means easier eating.

Related: How to cook with frozen shrimp, the ultimate time-saving protein, plus 8 super-fast shrimp dinner recipes.

 

Skinny Fettucine Alfredo is the kind of skinny pasta recipe that will satisfy even the most serious of pasta addicts. | One Hungry Mama

If you have a pasta addiction, our editor, Stacie, can relate. Heck, she can host the meeting. Which is why her Skinny Fettucini Alfredo at One Hungry Mama is one of our favorite skinny pasta recipes. Flavorful broth, low-fat milk, and a little less cheese come together beautifully for a sauce that still satisfies. Toss in some cooked asparagus or peas for a complete meal.

 

A winning combination of low-fat chicken breasts, juicy tomatoes, mozzarella and spinach come together in one of our favorite skinny pasta recipes: Chicken Caprese Pasta. | Well Plated

A little balsamic vinegar amps up the flavor in this Caprese Chicken Pasta at Well Plated. Low fat chicken breasts, spinach, and whole wheat rigatoni make this a nourishing, easy-to-the-table weeknight dish.

 

Pesto is a great shortcut to adding flavor and healthy greens to your skinny pasta recipes. Healthy Baked Rigatoni is a hearty dish that uses both kale and spinach. | Pinch of Yum

Pesto is my jam. Or, well, it’s not really jam, but you get it. It’s an easy way to incorporate flavor and healthy greens, without the tough, fibrous texture of produce like kale. This Healthy Baked Rigatoni at Pinch of Yum uses both kale and spinach, and balances the dish out with juicy tomatoes. And don’t let the use of olive oil turn you off; high in omega fatty acids and monounsaturated fat, olive oil has the good kind of fat we want in our family’s diet.

Related: How to make perfect pesto, and 4 mouthwatering, basic recipes to help you use it all up.

 

Skinny pasta recipes are a must for busy weeknights. Healthy Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese is delicious, freezes well and low in fat. | Turnip the Oven

If you want a meaty sauce, but no red meat, Slow Cooker Turkey Bolgonese at Turnip the Oven is a perfect choice. Pop it in the slow cooker on Sunday for a leisurely family dinner, and enjoy leftovers on Monday when the kids are losing their minds and you’ve got one hand on the wine opener. If you’re watching carbs, go for some zucchini noodles (you could even try fooling the kids). A mandoline would help, but my friend keeps touting her success with the Paderno Spiralizer from Williams-Sonoma.

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