It’s about time your pasta sauce evolves from the usual concoction of crushed tomatoes and spices to something a bit more mature. Luckily, stepping up your pasta sauce game doesn’t come with a hefty price tag. These recipes do score big on flavor, though — without picking up tons of calories.
If you want a sauce that’s a little richer (and a lot more unique) than marinara, you’ve come to the right place. From an Asian cuisine-inspired chili and garlic sauce to a more basic pureed pumpkin — and everything in between — we have six unique pasta sauce recipes that will change your noodle experience for the better.
6 Delicious and Healthy Pasta Sauce Recipes
Normally, when we chop veggies, we leave behind the leaves and seeds. But not with this recipe! Think of this sauce as an ode to whole foods. It combines the leaves of carrots and seeds of a pumpkin to create an out-of-this-world pesto sauce. Consider it food you can feel good about for the price and the nutrition. Photo and recipe: Erica Julson / EricaJulson.com
A grown-up mac and cheese — loaded with even more flavor. From roasted red peppers to cashews to fresh basil, the ingredients in this sauce come together to make a perfectly delicious (and pretty) dish. Roasted, seasoned chickpeas top it off to keep you feeling satisfied. Photo and recipe: Richa Hingle / Vegan Richa
It’s beginning to look a lot like…the right time to cook a butternut squash. What better way to take advantage of this season than feasting on pureed squash over a giant bowl of pasta? The use of garlic and chili flakes give the veggie a nice kick, while a dash of cream and parmesan cheese add a divine thickness. Photo and recipe: Emily / Inside the Rustic Kitchen
Talk about a sauce that packs a punch. Soy sauce, rice wine, grated ginger and chili bean paste give this sauce a unique Asian flavor, making it the star of the dish. Thanks to the unexpected kick, this spaghetti and meatballs dish will be anything but standard. Photo and recipe: Holly / The Healthy Hunter
Finally, a healthy take on alfredo! And you don’t even have to cook this sauce. (Don’t worry, it’s just as decadent as the others.) Almonds and almond milk give the sauce that creaminess you covet, while the chipotle pepper provides a smoky flavor. Photo and recipe: Dora / Dora’s Table
Chock-full of veggies like cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms and onions, this sauce has that chunky, “meaty” texture, without the actual meat. The oregano, basil and a touch of maple syrup also elevate the flavor. Toss it over zoodles for the ultimate vegetarian dinner. Photo and recipe: Beth / Eat Within Your Means