On its own, pasta is pretty nutrient-poor. (Unless you go-for an alt-pasta, like chickpea, edamame, or lentil.) But it's actually a cinch to turn it from a carb-heavy meal into a well-rounded one—including really upping the fiber intake. And you can do it without dirtying another dish in the process.
Watch the video below to see how to eat pasta every day, according to a registered dietitian:
Rounded up here are six, one-pot pasta recipes that are loaded with fiber (not just carbs). Getting enough fiber—a good goal to aim for is 25 grams a day—is key for not only maintaining good digestion, but optimal gut health overall. And as scientific studies have shown, gut health is linked to essentially everything, including brain and immune health.
Ready to get cooking? Keep reading to see six one-pot pasta recipes loaded with fiber.
1. One-pot tomato lentil pasta
One easy way to majorly up the fiber in your pasta dinner is to add lentils to the pot. They can cook together and it helps vary the texture, too. This recipe by Pick Up Limes creator and dietitian Sadia Badiei, RD, does exactly that, incorporating a tomato sauce and fresh spinach (for even more fiber).
Yields 4 servings
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 tsp Italian spice mix
1/2 tsp chili flakes
10.5 oz. dry spaghetti noodles
3 cups tomato sauce
2 cups water
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2cups cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup green olives, sliced or chopped
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato in oil, drained, from a jar, chopped
1 Tbsp capers
2 cups fresh spinach
1. Add the oil to a large pot on medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic, onion, bouillon cube, Italian seasoning, and red chili pepper flakes, sautéing for two to three minutes. Add splashes of water as needed to deglaze the pot. Then, add the pasta, pasta sauce, water, cherry tomatoes, lentils, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers.
2. Bring to a gentle simmer and partially cover with a lid. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat until pasta is al dente. Check on it every few minutes to stir and ensure the bottom of the pot doesn't burn.
3. When the pasta is al dente, add the spinach and stir, cooking for an additional minute before removing the pot from the heat.
4. Serve it generously into bowls, top with some freshly sliced basil leaves, and enjoy!
2. One-Pot Farmers' Market Pasta
Adding lentils to cook with your pasta is one way to up the fiber, but another easy alternative is throwing your favorite veggies in there. It's also the perfect way to use what's in your crisper before it goes bad. Here, View From The Great Island creator Sue Moran shares one of her favorite pasta-and-veggies recipes. Besides the noodles, she incorporates greens, eggplant, asparagus, broccoli, onion, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers all into the dish.
Yields 4–6 servings
12 oz. spaghetti
1 medium red onion peeled, halved, and sliced
1 small Japanese eggplant halved lengthwise and sliced
Several stalks asparagus cut in 2 inch pieces
A handful of broccoli florets cut in half
2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
1 colorful bell pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced
2 handfuls baby greens
1 tsp salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp white wine or sherry vinegar
1 cup shredded hard Italian cheese
Halved cherry tomatoes (to garnish)
1/2 cups finely shredded basil leaves (to garnish)
1. Put everything except the cheese into a large pot. Add the wine and water (measure exactly since you will not drain the pasta) to the pot and bring to a boil. If your pasta doesn't fit completely into the pot, nudge it down into the water as it softens. Cover the pot while it comes to a boil then uncover and continue boiling for about seven to nine minutes, or until the pasta is just al dente. Babysit the pot a little bit to ensure that the pasta doesn't stick. Don't over cook the pasta, there will still be some water left in the pot.
2. Toss the pasta with the cheese, and serve with the extra tomatoes and lots of fresh basil.
3. White Bean Pasta
White beans, spinach, cherry tomatoes...this pasta dish from The Clever Meal creator Katia P is loaded with high-fiber foods. Here's something else that's great about it: it's ready in just 15 minutes.
Yields 4 servings
Pasta (short shapes like penne)
Cannellini beans (or Great Northern beans)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1. In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 45 seconds, or until fragrant.
2. Add chili flakes, paprika, white beans, black pepper, and give a good toss.
3. Stir in the vegetable broth or hot water, salt, and bring to a boil.
4. Add pasta, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook with the lid on, stirring frequently. The broth should partially cover the pasta; however, add a touch of water if needed just to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to pot.
5. Add fresh spinach in the last two minutes of the cooking time, a handful at a time, and cherry tomatoes. Stir until the spinach is wilted; it will take about two minutes.
6. Turn the heat off, add grated parmesan cheese and toss until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
7. Serve hot with more freshly ground black pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and parmesan cheese if desired.
Watch the video below to see how to make a gluten-free pasta dinner in 30 minutes:
4. Creamy Kale Pasta
This recipe from Heaven Made Easy creators and registered dietitians, Wendy Lopez, MS, RDN and Jessica Jones, MS, RD, also combines pasta and white beans. It incorporates another high-fiber food as well: kale. Here, the fibrous greens are blended with the beans, milk, Parmesan cheese, and garlic to make a creamy sauce.
Yields 4 servings
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups whole milk
1 cup cooked white beans
1/2 cup Parmesan
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 lb. fettuccine or another pasta of your choice
1/4 cup of butter (if making single portions, toss one serving with 1 Tbsp of butter)
Optional toppings: olive oil basil and/or other fresh herbs, Parmesan, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes
1. Start by blending the kale, milk, white beans, Parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper in a high-speed blender until you get a smooth sauce.
2. Add the sauce to a medium pot and bring to a light simmer.
3. Cook for five minutes over low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. Set aside.
4. Add the pasta to a pot of salted boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes without the lid, stirring occasionally. Drain well, and add the pasta to a bowl with the butter.
5. Toss together until all the butter is melted into the pasta. Then add the kale sauce to the bowl, and continue tossing together until the pasta is completely coated with the sauce. Enjoy with your favorite toppings!
5. One-Pot Pasta With Vegetables and Meatballs
Beans strike once again as the high-fiber ingredient in this recipe from Eat. Live. Travel. Write. creator Mardi Michels, but there's another one that's more of a wildcard: squash. One taste of this dish and you'll wonder why you don't pair them together more often.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups butternut squash, chopped into 2cm cubes
3 spicy sausages, skin removed and divided into 10 pieces each, rolled to form rough meatballs
2 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1 1/5 small pasta (farfalle, penne, or rotini)
1 cup cherry tomato halves
1 can romano beans, rinsed and drained
Freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 large handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 cup grated cheese
To top: freshly chopped parsley
1. Preheat the broiler to 400˚F.
2. Heat the oil in a large, deep oven-safe pot over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic, onion and thyme until the onions are translucent and smelling fragrant.
3. Add the butternut squash cubes and cook for approximately three minutes.
4. Add the meatballs and cook until they are browned all over (they will not be completely cooked at this point), stirring from time to time to make sure they don’t stick.
5. Add a splash of chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot clean.
6. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot along with the rest of the stock.
7. Bring to a boil then add the pasta, stirring to combine well. Make sure the pasta is covered in liquid.
8. Place the lid on the pot and cook for four minutes less than the package directions for the pasta.
9. Remove the lid, add the cherry tomatoes and beans, stirring to combine well.
10. Add the spinach on top of the pot, cover and cook a further four minutes.
11. Sprinkle the cheese on top and place the pot under the broiler for approximately seven minutes until the cheese is browned and the sauce bubbling.
12. Sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley to serve.
Another way to up the fiber in your pasta dinner? Beet noodles! Watch the video below to see how to make them:
6. One-Pot Pasta and Beans
Hot cooking tip from Hedi Hearts creator and recipe developer Hedi: Fry a bit of garlic and oil in your pot before adding your pasta (and in this case, beans) to boil. That way, flavor is literally cooked into every bite. Also in this recipe are carrots, celery, tomatoes, and paprika.
1 1/2 cup of your favorite pasta
1 tin of beans
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pint vegetable stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for frying
Optional: 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast and 1 handful of spinach
Serve with: chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper
1. In a large pot, fry the onion, carrot, and celery in a bit of oil until they start to soften.
2. Next, add in garlic and smoked paprika, and stir it all together.
3. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, veggie stock, and the pasta.
4. Cook for around 15 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Make sure you stir it occasionally and taste to adjust seasoning.
5. Now add in the beans and (if you are using) the spinach and nutritional yeast, and cook for a minute or so.
6. Serve it with some freshly chopped basil.
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