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20 Insanely Delicious Spaghetti Recipes That You’ll Thank Me For

If you shudder at the phrase, “Let’s just make spaghetti for dinner,” it’s high time you met these killer spaghetti recipes.

When it comes to Italian food, spaghetti is like the little brother that desperately wants to be as cool as chicken parmesan or tortellini alfredo.

Because spaghetti is so easy to make—boiling water, salt, 10-15 minutes, and you’re done—it’s frequently overlooked. Or it’s the meal that you throw together when you’re hungry and don’t have a lot of time to cook.

But as these recipes show, it can be so much more than jarred marinara sauce over noodles.

These spaghetti recipes cover a whole range of taste and macronutrient preferences, from the light (Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas and Kale), to the comforting (Creamy Ham, Leek and Mushroom Spaghetti), to the elevated (Spaghetti with Wilted Greens & Walnut-Parsley Pesto), to the protein-packed (Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil & Salmon), to the truly decadent (Deep Dish Spaghetti Pie).

Find your favorites, master them, and you’ll never again feel bummed when someone suggests spaghetti for dinner.

Enjoy!

Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese & Ground Beef

Serves 8

This spaghetti casserole is even easier to make than pasta on the stove. That’s because you can prep it ahead of time, assemble in the casserole dish, and then bake later on. So ok, it’s the same amount of work.

Yet you can keep this cream cheese spaghetti dish ready to go in the fridge, and once baked, you’re eating a fresh meal instead of leftovers.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

423

Calories

26 g

Protein

34 g

Carbs

20 g

Fat

Ingredients

12 oz. spaghetti

1 jar (28 oz.) spaghetti sauce

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 clove garlic, minced

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese

1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) grated Parmesan

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Spaghetti Salad with Garlic Almond & Herb Crumbs

Serves 3

This delicious spaghetti mixed with fresh sage, spinach, and crushed almonds is a hit whether served hot or cold. Instead of making pasta sauce, all the mix-ins are sautéed in butter and olive oil so the flavors develop and meld together.

Serve this at a potluck, adding shaved Brussels sprouts to make the servings stretch further. It’s also great as an easy and adaptable dinner, and leftovers can be kept in a to-go container to take out the door as a cold lunch.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

704

Calories

25 g

Protein

88 g

Carbs

29 g

Fat

Ingredients

10.5 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. butter

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

8 cloves garlic, minced

10 sage leaves, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup raw almonds, crushed

1 cup finely chopped spinach

1/2 cup chopped basil

Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) Romano or Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs

Serves 6

The great thing about homemade meatballs is that they’ll keep well in the freezer, so you can toss them into a quick dinner like this skillet spaghetti anytime.

When you spot some ground meat on sale, like turkey or pork, then it’s time to make a batch of frozen meatballs.

Add breadcrumbs, fresh or dried herbs, and other seasonings of choice, and bake for about 15 minutes. Once cool, freeze them in a single layer on a sheet pan before transferring the meatballs to an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

475

Calories

25 g

Protein

51 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

18 turkey meatballs

1 jar (24 oz.) marinara sauce

1/2 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

12 oz. spaghetti

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) grated Parmesan

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Spaghetti Carbonara

Serves 4

This bowl of spaghetti is easy to make, loaded with protein, and super cheap. Each serving comes out to barely more than a dollar.

Yet with the creamy sauce from the eggs and Parmesan, plus a touch of bacon, this is good enough to serve on date night. And you’ll have enough dough left in your wallet to spring for some fresh bakery bread and a decent bottle of wine to go with.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

484

Calories

29 g

Protein

48 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

3 oz. bacon

2 cloves garlic

12 oz. spaghetti

3 large eggs

3/4 cup (about 3 oz.) grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Handful of fresh parsley (optional garnish)

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Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Sausage & Peppers

Serves 4

Don’t have time to make meatballs? Enjoy spaghetti with sausage and peppers instead. You’ll need about ten minutes to brown the Italian sausage links in the pan, and then use any fat renderings to cook the veggies.

For a leaner sausage, you may need to add a touch of olive oil to the pan. Then you can make a quick tomato sauce in the skillet, add the sausage back in, and spoon it over a plate of spaghetti.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

603

Calories

35 g

Protein

78 g

Carbs

17 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. Italian chicken sausage (hot or mild)

1 onion, chopped

2 red bell peppers, diced

1 3/4 tsp. salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp. dry white wine (or dry vermouth)

3 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

3/4 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

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Crockpot Spaghetti with Chicken & Broccoli

Serves 6

When you make shredded chicken, marinara, and broccoli in a slow cooker, all you have to do come dinnertime is prepare the plain spaghetti in a pot of boiling water.

Then stir everything together, or let everyone fix their own plates. Tailor the spaghetti to your own tastes with a pinch of crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

568

Calories

50 g

Protein

70 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 cups homemade pasta sauce (or 32 oz. jar)

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 box (12 oz.) whole-wheat spaghetti

4 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta

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Cold Sesame Noodles

Serves 6

Spaghetti can be used for more than Italian food. The trick to making an awesome Asian noodle salad is the sauce.

It’s made from a mix of sesame paste (or tahini) and peanut butter, along with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste. You can fill out the noodle salad with any crisp veggies like cucumber, carrots, and seasonal ingredients like snap peas.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

379

Calories

10 g

Protein

44 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

Noodles:

12 oz. spaghetti (or Chinese egg noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut oil

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 cucumber, peeled and julienned

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

2 tsp. white sesame seeds

2 scallions, green parts thinly sliced

 

Sauce:

3 Tbsp. Chinese sesame paste (or tahini + 1 tsp. sesame oil)

2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 tsp. chili paste

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. ground Sichuan pepper (optional)

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Spaghetti with Wilted Greens & Walnut-Parsley Pesto

Serves 6

Spaghetti gets a bad rap as plain and full of carbs, but it’s just a noodle base for any flavors or nutrients that you want to fill up on.

Start with whole-wheat pasta, and you’re getting complex carbs to fuel your system without impacting blood sugar levels. Then add loads of fresh greens like Swiss chard, fresh parsley, and baby spinach for nutrients.

With all that in the mix, a little garlic, lemon, salt, and pepper are the only necessary seasonings. And for added protein and the rich, creamy yolk, top your bowl of healthy spaghetti with a fried egg.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

439

Calories

20 g

Protein

62 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti

1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided

6 large eggs

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Baked Spaghetti Casserole

Serves 12

Rather than make a giant stockpot of spaghetti and marinara for a big gathering, put it all in the oven with this casserole recipe. That way by the time guests arrive, you’ll be done with all the work in the kitchen.

You can even prep a big green salad ahead of time as a side. With smart meal planning, there will be plenty of home-cooked food to feed a crowd, and yet your kitchen can be clean before people even show up to eat.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

303

Calories

20 g

Protein

28 g

Carbs

13 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 cup onion, chopped

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 container (28 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 can (2.25 oz.) sliced black olives

2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend

1 lb. 93% lean ground beef

12 oz. whole-grain spaghetti, cooked and drained

2 cups (about 8 oz.) shredded sharp white cheddar

1 carton (10.75 oz.) cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup (about 2 oz.) grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas & Kale

Serves 2

Plain spaghetti is hardly dinner, but when you mix in wholesome ingredients like chickpeas, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes, you’ll be able to enjoy the flavors of Italian food without making marinara.

This mix of flavors will work with either spaghetti squash or pasta. And if you miss the sauce, a spoonful of pesto or a touch of alfredo would be delicious on top.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

418

Calories

14 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic

1/2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

Pinch of red chile flakes

1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups chopped kale, packed

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (or capers)

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) grated Parmesan (optional garnish)

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Frittata with Chard & Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Serves 6

Spaghetti doesn’t have to be served in a bowl. This one takes frittata form, and with spaghetti used as a filing instead of the main ingredient, you can satisfy your pasta cravings without overeating.

The recipe is mostly eggs, Swiss chard, and Parmesan. So you’ll fill up on protein and fiber, as well as get a significant amount of calcium from the cheese.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

234

Calories

16 g

Protein

19 g

Carbs

11 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. Swiss chard, trimmed and coarsely chopped

5 large eggs

1/3 cup reduced-fat milk

3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked

1 Tbsp. butter

1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded Provolone or mozzarella

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Lentil Bolognese with Buckwheat Noodles

Serves 4

Vegan pasta sauce is great when you want to cut down on the fat but still want it to be filling. And even if you’re a die-hard carnivore, this recipe is one to remember for when your freezer isn’t stocked with meat.

You can keep almost everything you need in the pantry, including tomato sauce and red wine. Then use the staple produce you probably have on hand, like onions and carrots, or even shallots with a handful of shredded zucchini.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

406

Calories

17 g

Protein

70 g

Carbs

8 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/2 cup dry lentils

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion

1 stalk celery

1 carrot

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. dried oregano (plus more for garnish)

1 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup red wine

9 oz. soba noodles

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Creamy Ham, Leek & Mushroom Spaghetti

Serves 4

It doesn’t take many ingredients to make this restaurant-quality spaghetti dinner. The rich sauce is made with cream cheese, leeks, and mushrooms. It comes together easily and is much faster than homemade marinara.

The dish is finished with Parmesan, fresh basil, and thinly sliced ham – although you could also use bacon. Either way, you’ll wind up with a major upgrade to basic spaghetti that takes only a half hour to cook.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

384

Calories

21 g

Protein

53 g

Carbs

11 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium leeks, thinly sliced

7 oz. chestnut mushrooms (about 3 cups), sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

10.5 oz. spaghetti

2/3 cup (about 5 oz.) light cream cheese

3 oz. thinly sliced smoked ham, shredded

Handful of fresh basil

3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

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Spaghetti & Meatball Cups

Serves 12

Turn spaghetti and meatballs into an inventive appetizer with this recipe, which uses a muffin pan to prep a nest of noodles.

When the spaghetti is baked in individual portions, the noodles stay together in a pile, and there’s space in the middle for a meatball or roasted veggies. Top with marinara sauce, and serve as part of a larger meal or as a snack to feed a bunch of hungry kids.

If you want to freeze leftovers, keep the noodle nests and meatballs separate until serving. Microwave the frozen spaghetti for a few seconds under a damp paper towel, or reheat in the oven in a muffin pan.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

206

Calories

17 g

Protein

20 g

Carbs

6 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. 95% lean ground beef

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1 large egg

1 Tbsp. skim milk

8 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti, broken into 2–3” pieces

3 egg whites

1 oz. grated Parmesan

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella

1 1/2 cups + 3 Tbsp. marinara sauce, divided

Fresh parsley or basil (optional garnish)

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Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lemon, Basil & Salmon

Serves 4

You don’t even need to worry about sauce to make an incredible spaghetti dinner. Especially when it’s served with salmon, spaghetti can be great with just lemon, basil, and capers.

This is the ideal weeknight dinner when you’re low on energy but want something that feels like you’re treating yourself. Just remember, as with most recipes, it’ll be faster to make the second or third time through.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

478

Calories

33 g

Protein

43 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 fillets salmon (about 4 oz. each)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

3 Tbsp. capers

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 cups fresh baby spinach

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Deep Dish Spaghetti Pie

Serves 8

This savory sausage pie doesn’t use pastry crust. Instead, the pie dish is filled with spaghetti and then smothered in marinara, crumbled sausage, and mozzarella cheese.

And even though this looks like tons of pasta, there’s less in a slice than you’d put into a bowl. That gives you a better protein-to-carb ratio than most spaghetti with sausage.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

468

Calories

35 g

Protein

41 g

Carbs

18 g

Fat

Ingredients

16 oz. spaghetti, cooked

2 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp. salt

4 cups (about 16 oz.) shredded mozzarella, divided

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 tsp. oil

16 oz. sweet Italian sausage, cooked, crumbled, and divided

8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced and divided

1 jar (25 oz.) roasted garlic tomato sauce

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Spaghetti Squash Chicken Parmesan

Serves 2

Comfort food meets low-calorie alternatives in this version of chicken parm with spaghetti. First, slice a spaghetti squash in half, drizzle with olive oil, and put it in the oven. While that roasts, coat chicken breasts in bread crumbs, and bake on a separate sheet pan.

Put the two together, finishing with a large spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of cheese. Finally, they bake until the mozzarella on top melts and begins to brown.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

384

Calories

44 g

Protein

3 g

Carbs

12 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 small spaghetti squash (about 4 cups)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz. each)

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs

1 cup low-sodium marinara sauce

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) shredded mozzarella

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

Serves 6

Forget the jarred pasta sauce, and make it from fresh tomatoes. It might seem lot a lot of work, but a simple spaghetti sauce doesn’t need more than a handful of common ingredients. And since it’s a rustic sauce, you don’t need to perfectly dice the onion or tomatoes.

Roughly chop all the ingredients. Then cook in a stockpot, starting with the onions and then the garlic, and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the sauce thickens.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

131

Calories

3 g

Protein

11 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil,

3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 lbs. plum tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 bunch fresh basil, minced

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15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Serves 4

For pesto pasta that’s creamy like alfredo, just add ripe avocado. Even without a meat sauce, this is an extremely filling plate of vegetarian pasta thanks to the healthy fats in the avocado and pecans.

It makes a great lunch for extra-busy days when you’re afraid you’ll burn through the meal too fast and be starving at your desk. Or, turn avocado spaghetti into a protein-rich dinner by serving with a green salad topped with shredded chicken or turkey.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

447

Calories

13 g

Protein

46 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

10 oz. spaghetti

1 clove garlic

1 large avocado

1 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup (about 1 oz.) grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 cup pasta water (more if necessary to thin)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Basil Zucchini Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

Serves 4

This deconstructed spaghetti dish has a gourmet presentation, but it’s nutritious and low-carb with zucchini noodles. And you don’t have to worry about making a marinara sauce. Instead, simply slice up a ripe tomato.

To turn them into a delicious pasta topping, lay the tomato slices on a baking sheet, season, and sprinkle with cheese. Then broil for a few minutes until the mozzarella is melted and browned.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

168

Calories

11 g

Protein

12 g

Carbs

9 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, each cut into 4 thick slices

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 oz. fresh mozzarella, grated

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4tsp. crushed red pepper

3 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles, trimmed

1/3 cup sliced fresh basil leaves

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OVER 100,000 PEOPLE HAVE USED MY COOKBOOK TO GET THE BODY THEY WANT EATING THE FOODS THEY LOVE. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

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In short, what if I told you that proper dieting--whether you want to maximize fat loss or muscle growth--is much simpler and more enjoyable than you’ve been led to believe?

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Well, I have good news.

All these “fantasies” can be a reality...if you know how to do a handful of “little” things correctly.

You see, when you know how to diet properly--and this doesn’t mean learning to eat boiled chicken and raw broccoli six times per day--getting lean and muscular becomes simple, convenient, and dare I say...enjoyable.

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I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like my articles, then you'll love my bestselling books. They'll show you exactly what you need to do to build muscle and lose fat without hating your diet or living in the gym.

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