6 light pasta dishes for summer

Pasta shouldn’t be reserved for the winter months. If you’re craving the carbs but not the calories this summer, these lighter pasta dishes will hit the spot.

Pesto pasta salad with roasted asparagus, string beans, cherry tomatoes and olives


This ravioli dish from EatsWellWithOthers.com will make you the hit of the summer cookout. Packed with roasted summer vegetables — asparagus, string beans and cherry tomatoes — mixed with sun-dried tomato ravioli and tossed in pesto, this pasta salad can be eaten alone as a full meal or served as a side at barbecues and picnics. Try grilling the asparagus to add even more flavor.

Spinach fettuccine with zucchini, peppers and yogurt-cream sauce


Now’s the time to indulge in zucchini, the veggie known as the “summer squash.” And it couldn’t taste more heavenly than it does in this spinach fettuccine recipe from Self.com. We’ve recently caught on to the genius concept of using yogurt and less high-fat cream to create the creamy sauces we love but usually feel guilty about after eating. This recipe beautifully uses that concept to create a healthy, tasty, nutrition-packed summer dish. Like the asparagus we mentioned in the previous recipe, you can grill the squash to put a twist on the original preparation.

Balsamic chicken, spinach and tomato pasta salad


If you’re a newbie in the kitchen, this ridiculously simple pasta salad recipe from MultiplyDelicious.com is for you. You don’t really need to make a pesto or sauce. All you need is Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette and some Dijon mustard — turns out the dressing is wonderful on pasta in addition to salad. Not only is this recipe low in calories, fat and difficulty, but it also offers the nutritional benefits of spinach, bell peppers and tomatoes.

Asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta


The cook behind the recipe wrote: “This comes together so quickly that I forgave it for not winning any beauty contests.” Yet we couldn’t stop drooling when we first saw the photo. Instead of whipping up a sauce, SmittenKitchen.com coated the pasta in creamy goat cheese. Once again, we’d throw the asparagus on the grill rather than boiling it, but either way, this recipe is on our list of favorite summer dishes

Diet lasagna (with ground beef)


If you’re itching for a classic pasta dish but want to keep it low-carb, this recipe from the My Pans And Pots blog found a way to make lasagna WITHOUT the pasta. Instead of layering the wide, flat pieces of pasta used in lasagna, this recipe sandwiches the meat sauce and cheese between layers of eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers.

Risotto with artichoke hearts and lemon


Yes, we’re aware risotto is technically rice. But we tend to think of it as pasta because of the soft texture that comes with cooking it for so long. And speaking of the lengthy cooking time, you can make this an actual pasta dish in less time than it takes to make risotto by substituting orzo for the rice. Whatever you decide to do — rice or pasta — we guarantee it will make for a yummy dinner for one of those nights when you’re craving something a little heartier than usual.