What Are the Different Types of Low-Calorie Pasta?

Karize Uy
Karize Uy
Fresh basil leaves are often used to season pasta dishes and don't really add any calories.
Fresh basil leaves are often used to season pasta dishes and don't really add any calories.

Low-calorie pasta noodles can range from spaghetti to ravioli, but the important factor is the ingredients. Ingredients such as whole-wheat, semolina, and soy flour are healthier choices and supply fewer calories or kilojoules than just the starchy white flour. Noodles can be made either with or without eggs; of course, pasta made without eggs generally contains fewer calories or kilojoules than those with eggs.

The ingredients in pasta can make a big difference in the calorie count of the dish.
The ingredients in pasta can make a big difference in the calorie count of the dish.

To substitute the moisture eggs give to the noodles, many people use vegetable purees, adding a splash of color to the pasta without the calories or kilojoules. Spinach is probably the most popular ingredient, giving the noodles a greenish tint. Squash and pumpkin are also used, as well as beetroot that creates a pinkish color in the pasta.

As for the dishes, the different types of low-calorie pasta are those that veer towards being vegetarian dishes. Pasta dishes made with fish and other seafood are also more likely to contain fewer calories or kilojoules than other meat pasta dishes, such as with chicken and beef. Low-calorie pasta meals also tend to have sauces that are tomato- or olive oil-based. This is because cream sauces are generally made with high-calorie ingredients like milk and butter. Dishes with fewer ingredients will also contain fewer calories or kilojoules.

Beetroot can be used to make low-calorie pasta.
Beetroot can be used to make low-calorie pasta.

One example of a simple low-calorie pasta is the “spaghettini aglio e olio." This dish only has two primary ingredients: the aglio, which is the garlic, and the olio, the olive oil. The spaghettini, on the other hand, is the thinner version of the classic spaghetti pasta. Some spices such as basil and thyme can be added for some flavor, while chili flakes or cayenne pepper can be sprinkled on top of the dish for a little more kick.

Top pasta with diced tomatoes for a low-calorie sauce.
Top pasta with diced tomatoes for a low-calorie sauce.

Pasta arabiata is another low-calorie pasta meal that has more color and flavor. It has a tomato-based sauce, added with some garlic and onion to taste. Italians prefer to use the penne pasta for this dish, as the pasta’s shape makes it ideal to hold the sauce. For a fresher and healthier pasta arabiata, fresh tomatoes can be used to make the sauce from scratch.

Low-calorie pastas do not contain large amounts of butter or related fats.
Low-calorie pastas do not contain large amounts of butter or related fats.

One cream-based dish that can be a low-calorie pasta snack is the pasta primavera. Usually, this dish uses any green vegetables available in the springtime. These veggies can include asparagus, broccoli, fennel, and green peas. The ingredients of the sauce can be made with healthier ingredients like cheese and sour cream, instead of milk and butter.

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    • Fresh basil leaves are often used to season pasta dishes and don't really add any calories.
      By: Natika
      Fresh basil leaves are often used to season pasta dishes and don't really add any calories.
    • The ingredients in pasta can make a big difference in the calorie count of the dish.
      By: Shawn Hempel
      The ingredients in pasta can make a big difference in the calorie count of the dish.
    • Beetroot can be used to make low-calorie pasta.
      By: Wolna
      Beetroot can be used to make low-calorie pasta.
    • Top pasta with diced tomatoes for a low-calorie sauce.
      By: Dusan Kostic
      Top pasta with diced tomatoes for a low-calorie sauce.
    • Low-calorie pastas do not contain large amounts of butter or related fats.
      By: sommai
      Low-calorie pastas do not contain large amounts of butter or related fats.