No more feeling guilty after eating a big bowl of pasta. In this article, I will discuss the health benefits found in pasta and share my favorite guilt-free rotini recipes to help you get lean and trim. Find more mouth watering recipes that won’t stay on your hips.

Heart Healthy Rotini Recipes You Need To Try

Kale Pesto Rotini

Delicious kale pesto rotini recipe

This dish was inspired by publish chef Joshua McFadden’s kale pesto recipe. Light and creamy this recipe is sure to get you your daily dose of greens.

Ingredients – serves four

  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removedKosher salt
  • 12 oz. whole wheat rotini
  • ⅓ cup raw pistachios
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 oz. Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tsp. Lemon Juice
Step 1

Cook kale leaves in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green and wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet with tongs; keep water boiling. Let kale cool slightly; wring out excess water with your hands.

Step 2

Cook pasta in pot of boiling water, stirring occasionally, until al dente or as desired.

Step 3

Blend nuts, oil, garlic, lemon juice, and ⅓ cup water in a blender until very smooth. Add kale and 1 oz. Parmesan. Purée, adding water 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed, until smooth. Transfer pesto to a large bowl.

Step 4

Transfer pasta to bowl with pesto; add butter and ⅓ cup pasta water. Toss, adding more pasta water by the tablespoonful if needed, until sauce coats pasta. Top with more Parmesan and a few grinds of pepper and enjoy!

Summer Bolognese

Fresh new take on a classic dish.

These Rotini Summer Bolognese is a simple light and fresh take on a weeknight classic. Using ground chicken or turkey instead of beef leans up this dish and protects your heart health. Try this chicken florentine recipe for another lean protein fix.

Ingredients – serves four

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red chile thinly sliced; such as Holland or Fresno
  • 12 oz. rotini
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
  • 2 cups basil leaves, torn if large
Step 1

Heat oil in a large pot over medium until shimmering. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, season with salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until there are only a few pink spots left, 5–7 minutes.

Step 2

Add wine and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, smashing down on chicken with a wooden spoon, until wine is evaporated and meat is finely ground, 4–6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally and still pressing down on meat, until tomato paste is slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.

Step 3

Add tomatoes and chile and cook, stirring to coat, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 4 minutes. Smash some but not all of the tomatoes with the back of wooden spoon to help create a sauce, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and about half of tomatoes are completely broken down, 4–6 minutes.

Step 4

Meanwhile, cook rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.

Step 5

Transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add butter, 2 oz. Parmesan, and ½ cup pasta water. Cook over medium heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from from heat and gently stir in basil until fragrant and leaves are slightly wilted.

Step 6

Top with more Parmesan and enjoy!

Fennel with Artichoke

Feeling fancy, step up your game with this hearty dish

Did you know that one serving of artichoke contains 60 calories, 7 grams of fiber, along with your daily dose of magnesium and potassium. My personal favorite, this hearty dish will be sure to please garlic lovers everywhere.

Ingredients – serves four

  • 3 large fennel bulbs (about 2½ lb.)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large artichoke; approximately 40 artichoke hearts
  • 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup (packed) mint leaves, plus more torn for serving
  • 1 orange or tangerine
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 3 oz. Pecorino Romano, finely grated (about 1½ cups)
Step 1

To prep the fennel – Remove tough outer layers and fronds from fennel bulbs and discard. Working one at a time, cut bulbs lengthwise (through root ends) into quarters, remove cores, and slice quarters lengthwise into ½”-thick wedges.

To prep the artichoke hearts – Remove thorny tips from the leaves. With a serrated knife cut about an inch off of the top of the artichoke and cut off the end of the stem, leaving only an inch. Peel off 5-6 layers of external leaves from the artichoke, snapping off the leaves and setting them aside, till you reach an inner layer of leaves that are fresh looking and white at the base.

Step 2

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over high until shimmering. Add fennel to pot, arranging in as even a layer as possible. Season with salt and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath and starting to soften, 6–8 minutes. Using tongs, turn fennel over and cook until golden brown on the other side, 6–8 minutes.

Step 3

Reduce heat to low and add artichoke hearts, garlic, red pepper flakes, and ½ cup mint to pot. Cook, stirring often, until anchovies are disintegrated and garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and finely grate zest of orange and lemon directly into hot oil; stir well to evenly distribute. Cover pot to keep sauce warm and let sit until pasta is done.

Step 4

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta water.

Step 5

Uncover sauce, add pasta and 1 cup reserved pasta water, and set over medium-low heat. Add Pecorino and cook, tossing vigorously and adding more pasta water if needed, until sauce is emulsified and pasta is coated, about 2 minutes.

Step 6

Top with torn mint and serve.

Rotini and Herbs with Turmeric Fish

Test your skills with this spin on a traditional southeast Asian dish

Feeling ambitious and a bit wanderlust? Inspired by the Vietnamese dish, Cha Ca La Vong, this dish is bursting with flavor and brain fuel. Commonly used in the Middle East and Southeastern Asian countries, turmeric has also been used as a form of medicine for centuries. Turmeric decreases inflammation, maintains blood sugar, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents viral infections, and is known to help cognitive function by fighting symptoms of depression and decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ingredients – Serves two

  • ½ small red or green chile, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated, divided
  • 6 oz. rotini
  • 1 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 Tbsp. neutral oil, divided
  • ¾ pound boneless, skinless cod, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of dill, very coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 scallions, white parts very thinly sliced lengthwise, green parts cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup roasted, skin-on peanuts, coarsely crushed
Step 1

For nuoc cham, mix chile, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, half of garlic, and ¼ cup cold water in a small bowl until sugar dissolves; set aside.

Step 2

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Step 3

Mix ginger, turmeric, 2 Tbsp. oil, and remaining garlic in a medium bowl. Add fish and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add fish mixture and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and just cooked through, 4–5 minutes. Add dill and scallion greens, toss a few times, then continue to cook until greens are barely wilted, about 30 seconds.

Step 5

Divide noodles, fish mixture, and peanuts among bowls. Top with scallion whites and serve with nuoc cham on the side. Enjoy!

Creamy Pantry Pasta – Vegan

Creamy pasta that'll leave your mouth watering

This vegan pasta sauce is bean based, meaning it is protein packed!!! (and a healthier more efficient form of protein when compared to meat).

Ingredients – Serves 4

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 garlic cloves, 1 whole, 4 thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 30 oz. cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 12 oz. rotini
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsleyFreshly ground black pepper
Step 1

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add walnuts and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until nuts are deeply golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and grate in whole garlic clove; set aside.

Step 2

In the same pot. Combine ¼ cup oil and remaining sliced garlic in pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil around garlic is bubbling vigorously and garlic is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Firmly crush rosemary in your hand to bruise; add to pot along with beans and stir to coat. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are just beginning to take on color, about 3 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.

Step 4

When pasta is about 4 minutes away from being done, transfer 1 cup pasta water to pot with beans (make sure to keep heat on medium so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate too quickly). Using a wooden spoon, gently mash about three-quarters of beans into a creamy sauce.

Step 5

Drain and transfer pasta into pot with beans and add 1 cup pasta water and 2 Tbsp. oil; mix well to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring gently with a heatproof rubber spatula, until sauce coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Note: Sauce might look soupy but will thicken as it sits so don’t worry!

Step 6

Finely grate in about one-quarter of zest from lemon, then cut lemon in half. Squeeze in juice from 1 lemon half and add parsley; mix well to combine.

Step 7

Before serving, drizzle with oil, season with black pepper, and top with reserved nut mixture. Serve with lemon wedges as necessary.

Carbs ≠ Fat

Enter the world of healthy carbohydrates

Pasta provides the ideal base for a nutritious and delicious meal. This is because it pairs so nicely with lean protein, omega-rich fish, and nutrient-dense veggies. Furthermore, pasta provides a healthy source of carbohydrates, fueling your mind and body throughout the day. Other five star carbohydrates include oatmeal, quinoa and sweet potatoes

Let’s get this straight. Carbs are good, and pasta is a powerhouse when it comes to carbs. Pasta is composed of complex carbohydrates that slowly breakdown glucose throughout the day, providing long-lasting energy without any spikes. Further, pasta is low in sodium and cholesterol as well as rich in iron and B vitamins.

Most pasta is fortified, meaning it is dosed up with folic acid. Folic acid is known to benefit pregnant mothers. Studies show folic acid can provide substantial benefits in men’s health too. Also known as Vitamin-B9, folic acid reduces cardiovascular risk. It does so by maintaining the amino acid homocysteine levels in the body. Additionally, folic acid aids in the breakdown, use, and generation of new proteins. Learn what foods can help lower your risk of cancer.