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3 Healthy Pasta Sauces

You won’t miss the extra fat and calories in these favorite dishes

If you’re thinking pasta isn’t part of a healthy diet, think again. The following pasta recipes are not only good, but also good for you! In two of the three sauces — light Alfredo and vodka — I substitute evaporated milk for heavy cream, making lo-cal versions of these rich popular classics.

See also: Take the healthy cooking trivia quiz.

Another healthy strategy is to add vegetables to the cooking pasta during the last few minutes. This is not only a great way to get in a serving or two of the five fruits and vegetables you need each day, but also a way to bulk up the pasta so you don't need as much.

Finally if you make these dishes with 100 percent whole grain pasta, you’ll be getting one of the five to six serving of the preferred whole grains you need each day. So if pasta has been off your list, add it back because:

Healthy Pasta Sauces+Vegetables+100% Whole Grain Pasta=A Healthy Diet!

Spaghetti with Spring Vegetables and No-Cook Avocado Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

This quick, no-cook pasta sauce is made with healthy avocado flavored with lemon juice, garlic and basil, and thinned with pasta cooking liquid. This quick sauce is a great source of potassium, vitamins C, K, folate and B6.

If you don’t have a food processor, just mince the garlic, mash the avocado, and mix the sauce by hand. You can also make this pasta sauce with one avocado. Just save and use more pasta liquid.

12 ounces spaghetti or linguini (whole grain or white, your choice)
4 medium carrots, coarsely grated
1 cup frozen peas
3 large garlic cloves
2 avocados halved and pitted
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup juice from a large lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a soup kettle. Using back-of-the-box times as a guide, add spaghetti and cook, partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Add carrots and peas to the boiling pasta the last few minutes of cooking. Reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, drain spaghetti and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, mince garlic in a food processor. Add avocados and basil; process until smooth. Add lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkling of salt; process until smooth.

Add sauce and enough pasta cooking liquid to the spaghetti to create a light, creamy sauce; toss to coat. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Next: Fettuccini and asparagus with light alfredo. »

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