Do you crave carbs but know you shouldn't indulge because you're on a diet? Yeah, us too! Too often we get back from the gym with Thor-sized cravings for pasta, pizza and every other bread-y thing on the planet. While we encourage refined and processed carb intake be in moderation, we decided to make your job easier by collecting 54 healthy Italian recipes that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.
1. Skillet Baked Creamy Tomato Pasta: If your skillet is oven-safe, you’ll use one dish the entire time and wind up with a cheesy, delicious and healthy pasta meal. Pair this skinny pasta dish with a green salad or veggie for a balanced meal, or even add your favorite protein like cooked chicken or Italian sausage. Find the recipe here.
2. Chicken Parmesan Casserole: This dish is so delicious you'll completely forget that you're eating healthy! Even better, you don't have to cook the pasta before throwing it in the oven. Here's the recipe!
3. Pizza Lasagna Rolls: Your entire family will gobble up this dish, and you'll be smiling the entire time because you'll know they're getting the healthy ingredients they need. With 20 grams of protein, this pizza lasagna is not only packed with rich flavor, but with nutrients and eight grams of fiber. Check out the recipe here.
4. Cauliflower Breadsticks With Marinara Sauce: Cauliflower is super trendy right now and can cut a TON of carbs! Who’d have thought it was so versatile? PLUS, for two “breadsticks” you’re only consuming 112 calories — and that includes the marinara! Find the recipe here.
5. Zesty Italian Meatball Wrap: Ready for a recipe that's crazy high in protein, making it the perfect post-workout meal? With 37 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber, this meatball wrap is jam-packed with nutrients to make your diet delicious and satisfying. Find the recipe here.
6. Lightened Up Chicken Fettuccine with Broccoli and Bacon: For under 400 calories, you can indulge in this Italian-restaurant classic and not feel guilty. Rich in protein, and even richer in flavor, this dish will draw your family to the dinner table without being asked. To see the nutrition information, click here.
7. Grilled Italian Flank Steak Pinwheels: Turning your food into fun shapes is no longer just for children! This flank steak is first marinated and then stuffed with cheese, spinach and sundried tomatoes. After they come off the grill, you can eat these guys on the sticks or take them off to knife and fork 'em. Click here for the recipe.
8. Tilapia Piccata: This traditional Italian dish gets a skinny makeover but keeps its crispy, buttery taste (you’re welcome). Besides the delicious flavor, the simplify factor of the recipe may be the best part. We used a traditional Italian tart wine sauce known as “Piccata” that gives this dish its decadent flavor. Looking for the recipe? Click here!
9. Skinny Veggie and Turkey Meatballs: These yummy nuggets are too good not to include in your meal planning this week. At five meatballs per serving, you'll be able to eat until you're full and know you and your family are getting the proper amount of nutrients. Click here for the recipe!
10. World's Best Skinny Lasagna: Our time-tested lasagna is a guilt-free recipe you can whip out when you're low on time. Throw the ingredients in the pan and then let it bake while you go about your chores. Enjoy the rich flavor—trust us, it will satisfy all your cravings without ruining your diet. Print a copy of the recipe for your friends here!
11. Spinach Stuffed Shells With Meat Sauce: Big jumbo pasta shells filled with spinach and creamy ricotta cheese make the base for the recipe. Finish this recipe with our Skinny Meat Pasta Sauce or to save time, you can easily top this recipe with your own homemade sauce or a reduced-sugar spaghetti sauce bought at the grocery store. Here's the recipe.
12. Skinny Italian Beef and Peppers: This dinner is the answer to the challenge of cooking low-carb Italian meals, and the results couldn’t be more delicious! Peppers, onions, celery and a little surprise (garbanzo beans!) balance out the hearty ground beef in this perfect weeknight meal! Click here to find the recipe.
13. Skinny Chicken Parm Meatballs: The classic chicken Parm dish that you love just turned into a bite-size morsel! You'll love how easy these are to eat as leftovers, as well as how nutritious they are. At 23 grams of protein per serving, these little guys are the perfect Italian meal that won't ruin your diet. Here's the recipe!
14. Skinny Mini Caprese Pizzas: If you haven’t tried an English muffin pizza, then you haven’t tried one of the best recipes ever! These couldn’t be easier to make, and the results are pretty much perfect every time! Best of all, you can get all that baked pizza taste without the gross grease that comes with ordering delivery! Looking for the recipe? Click here.
15. Italian Pasta Soup: Craving Italian flavor, but don’t want to commit to a full pasta dish? Then you have to try this dish. Two different kinds of beans and three varieties of diced veggies make this a colorful and nutrient-dense soup. Here's the recipe!
16. Lean Turkey and Spinach Lasagna: Under 350 calories per serving, this lasagna is rich and creamy, combining lean turkey meat with cheese, garlic and lasagna noodles. Find the recipe here!
17. Skinny Pasta Carbonara: Are you surprised this recipe made the "healthy" list? We aren't, because we know how nutritious the ingredients are! Without all the fat normally included in this classic dish, you're left with something you won't feel guilty feeding your kids. Plus, it's so delicious they'll ask for seconds. Click here to be taken to the recipe!
18. Skinny Florentine Flatbread: This flatbread is crunchy like a thin crust pizza but with way fewer carbs. Our version is an edited Weight Watchers recipe, a flatbread recipe, and a spinach casserole recipe all rolled into one! This makes for a perfect skinny appetizer or even a vegetarian meal that is surprisingly filling! Here's the recipe!
19. Skinny Manicotti: This is a fun way to feel like you’re going out to a fancy Italian restaurant, but actually staying healthy at home. Pair it with a green salad and a thin slice of a whole-wheat baguette to get the full “restaurant” experience. Check out the recipe here.
20. Spaghetti Squash With Turkey Meatballs: Combined with the marinara sauce, these meatballs stay nice and juicy. If there are leftovers, use them in a skinny meatball sub the next day! For another amazing low carb Italian dinner try our Slow Cooker Pepperoni and Chicken. Here's the recipe.
21. Cheesy Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna Rolls: This recipe was so popular it found its way into the Skinny Suppers cookbook! This fun take on the classic lasagna is juicy, rich and contains a whopping 17 grams of protein. Sign us up! Find the recipe right here.
22. Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Alfredo Bake: Cheesy Alfredo sauce paired with the nutrients and rich flavors of spinach and red peppers makes this dish your new go-to on a busy night. The flavor alone will ensure that your leftovers don't sit in your refrigerator day after day! Here's the recipe.
23. Skinny Veggie Spaghetti: Picky eaters won't complain when you set a plate of this on the table! The vegetables, fresh onion and garlic give this dish plenty of rich flavor and will sneak your child two servings of vegetables without them even realizing it. Click here to see the recipe.
24. Skinny Hawaiian Pizza Pasta: Part Hawaiian, part Italian, this yummy pasta dish is sure to exceed your expectations with its mouthwatering cuts of ham and sweet chunks of pineapple. Find the recipe here!
25. Creamy Mac and Alfredo: This recipe sounds like it's fatty and full of carbs, but we're here to tell you otherwise. This easy-to-make pasta bake is actually high in protein and fiber, plus it won't take you more than 10 minutes to prepare! Don't believe us? Check out the recipe!
26. Chicken Alfredo Pizza: Can’t get enough chicken Alfredo? Who can? Next pizza night, try out this delicious and low-calorie recipe rather than picking up the phone and ordering in. Think: light Alfredo sauce, chicken, bacon, spinach and mozzarella cheese all melted together onto a warm, heavenly slice of pizza. Is your mouth watering yet? Here's the recipe.
27. Chicken Pasta Primavera: By using a lighter version of milk and cheese, this traditionally fatty meal just became a little healthier. We're always game when a pasta dish doesn't ruin our diets! Check out the full recipe and nutrition facts here.
28. Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce: Remember the days you could practically consume Alfredo by the spoonful without feeling the consequences? If those days are long gone, you’ll be delighted by this skinny “Alfredo” recipe. You won’t believe this sauce is made from cauliflower — creamy, smooth and full of flavor. Here's the recipe!
29. Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce: Ah, pasta night, how we love thee! The only problem is that with the wrong ingredients, pasta night can go from oh-so-delicious to oh-so-fattening. With this homemade lightened up Alfredo sauce, you can abandon the guilt that comes along with pasta night altogether! Find our recipe here.
30. Skinny Tortelloni and Pepper Sauce: Ready to try something new? Tortelloni is the big brother to tortellini, a much smaller version of the same thing. These cheese-stuffed noodles are surrounded by fresh peppers and rich flavors. You'll be eating seconds, take our word for it. Check out the recipe and nutrition facts here!
31. Skinny Lobster Mac & Cheese: If you saw the name of this dish at a restaurant you'd probably shy away because "of course, it'll be too fatty for my diet." We're here to tell you you're wrong! This skinny version uses lightened-up alternatives to the regular fatty ingredients, making this an enjoyable meal, not one you'll regret after your last bite. Check out all the nutrition facts here!
32. Whole-Wheat Penne with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce: This low-calorie, high-protein comfort food meal will soon be a favorite in your household! The cheese and sun-dried tomatoes come together for a creamy, perfectly blended sauce the kids and hubby will love. No one will ever know it’s healthy! Here's the recipe.
33. Skinny Mediterranean Pasta: Feta, fresh tomatoes, spinach and olive oil are a combination that everyone loves — for good reason. So why not pair them with some whole wheat noodles (or even zoodles!) for dinner tonight? You'll want to check out this yummy recipe.
34. Skinny Linguine With White Clam Sauce: This quick, healthy pasta dish will be ready on the dinner table in 30 minutes! We used lemon juice, clam sauce, parsley, garlic and red pepper flakes to liven up whole-wheat linguine for a meal your family will love. A serving of this pasta dish contains only 322 calories and 4 grams of fat. Check it out here!
35. Loaded Chicken, Cheese and Veggie Calzone: We used chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese and all kinds of spices to create a flavorful and healthy dinner. Serve it alongside a green salad for a balanced and delicious supper you can have on the table in 30 minutes! Here's the recipe!
36. Italian Breakfast Casserole: This casserole contains Italian spices galore! This oh-so-comforting breakfast casserole also contains all the flavor without including all the fat, calories or carbs. It's a match made in heaven. Check out the recipe here!
37. Homemade Italian Ciabatta Croutons: Most diets would tell you to avoid croutons like the plague, but we say a few is okay especially when you use our homemade, skinny recipe that lacks all the fat and calories that the store-bought croutons contain. Check out the recipe here.
38. Fettuccine Alfredo Gets Skinny: The most economical aspect of this recipe is that you likely have most of the ingredients needed already (butter, garlic, flour, milk, etc.). The few items you may have to add to your shopping list are the whole wheat fettuccine, which can also be substituted for spinach fettuccine depending on which one might be on sale or you have a coupon for. Here's the recipe!
39. Skinny Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich: It's ooey, it's gooey and it's oh-so-cheesy! This caprese sandwich is perfect for lunch or an early dinner, since it's light and low in calories. Find the recipe here.
40. Skinny Mozzarella Bites: Hello, delicious! Mozzarella sticks are one of our greatest weaknesses when we go out to eat. They're so fried, and yummy and gooey... so we decided to make a skinny version! You won't feel guilty biting into these little guys, because we've made them with a lighter panko breadcrumb. Try the recipe here!
41. Italian Antipasto Salad: For 250 calories, you can indulge in this cold salad without wondering if you're overstepping the boundaries of your diet! (via Skinnytaste)
43. Italian Style Meatloaf: Would this article be complete without a meatloaf recipe? We think not! Try out this healthy dinner time classic and prepare to have delicious leftovers for work tomorrow too! (via Skinny Ms.)
44. Simple Crockpot Italian Chicken: This high-protein meal is perfect for a night in with your family. The flavors are rich, and you won't be disappointed by the nutrition facts. (via Skinny Ms.)
45. Tomato, White Bean & Cauliflower Soup With Spaghettini: In under 40 minutes, you could have a gourmet Italian meal for under 320 calories. How does that sound? You'll want to try out this low-fat recipe! (via The Healthy Italian)
46. Microwave Risotto: This all natural combination is easily microwaved and ready for the table in under eight minutes, meaning you have time to make other dishes while this is cooking! You'll want to try this recipe. (via LiveLighter)
47. Pumpkin, Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni: Lighten up this yummy Italian recipe by using non-fat cottage cheese and reduced-fat mozzarella. This baked dish serves eight! Your family will think you've turned into a professional chef after you dose out a serving of this yummy cannelloni. (via LiveLighter)
48. Creamy Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms: These little guys make the perfect light lunch or appetizer, or you could even use them as a snack! Feel free to substitute the sour cream for low-fat sour cream to make this recipe a little skinnier. (via Slice of Kitchen Life)
49. Healthy Pesto, Tomato and Broccoli Pasta: For under 250 calories per serving, you can feel guilt free digging into this savory bowl of pasta. Enjoy the rich flavors of the garlic and vegetables! (via ifoodreal)
50. Pasta Puttanesca with Baby Spinach: For under 320 calories per serving, you could be indulging in this classic Italian dish jam-packed with the good stuff, like garlic, tomatoes, black pepper and basil. (via Skinny Ms.)
51. Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes and Grilled Chicken: This light and summery zucchini pasta is a lighter version of the heavy Italian meals you might be used to! Add or omit chicken as desired! (via Closet Cooking)
52. Healthy Tuscan Soup: Using garlic, thyme and vegetable broth, this healthy soup is rich in nutrients while still being the perfect meal or midnight snack! (via Pickled Plum)
53. Italian Quinoa Protein Patties: At only 79 calories per patty, you can eat until you're full with these li'l guys. They're low in all the bad stuff, like carbs and sodium, while still tasting delicious. Plus, they're not so "scary" that your kids won't eat them, and that's a success in our book! (via Apple of My Eye)
54. Garlic Pesto Rigatoni: Doesn't this one look drop-dead-amazing? The pasta, chicken and vegetables mixed together in this healthy conglomeration are making our mouthes water! (via Apple of My Eye)