48 Healthy Italian Dinners That Are Guilt-Free
Your favorite Italian dishes don't have to be guilty pleasures anymore.
This recipe tastes like an Italian restaurant specialty and cooks while you take care of other things. What a marvelous way to jazz up pasta sauce! —JoAnn Brown, Latrobe, Pennsylvania
For parties, I turn melon and prosciutto into an easy salad with a honey mustard dressing. To add zip, stir in fresh basil and mint. —Julie Merriman, Seattle, Washington
If you're looking for recipes with turkey sausage, stop here. This has the perfect blend of meaty, veggie and cheesy goodness. You'll be craving what's good for you when this pasta dish is on the menu. —Mary Tallman, Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin
Chock-full of zucchini, tomatoes, sweet pepper and carrots, this hearty pasta dish puts your garden harvest to good use. For variety, I sometimes add one-half cup of salsa or one-half cup of thickened teriyaki sauce. —Vickie Spoerle, Indianapolis, Indiana
Once a week, I create a new recipe for my blog, An Officer and a Vegan. I first made this risotto when I needed something cheerful and comforting. It would be fantastic with asparagus, zucchini or summer squash, but use whatever veggies are in season. —Deanna McDonald, Grand Rapids, Michigan
A mother deserves a beautiful salad that combines her favorite flavors, like fresh peppery greens, golden raisins, crunchy almonds and shredded Parmesan. I put this simple arugula salad together for my mom, and the whole family ended up loving it! —Nicole Rash, Boise, Idaho
For something new to do with tuna, I suggest this tangy dish. Although I prefer the marinade on tuna or mahi mahi, it's scrumptious on any fish, grilled, baked or broiled. —Caren Stearns, Austin, Texas
We love Italian sausage sandwiches, but because the bread isn't diet-friendly for me, I created this recipe to satisfy my craving. If you like some heat, use hot peppers in place of the sweet peppers. —Tina Howells, Salem, Ohio
Besides tasting great with shrimp, this pesto can be used on pasta or spread on a portobello mushroom or garlic bread topped with melted mozzarella. —Amy Jo Dale, Long Beach, California
With two young boys constantly on-the-go, I’m always looking for ways to simplify meals. This recipe uses just one skillet, making it a cinch to prepare dinner for a hungry family in half an hour. —Sara Richardson, Littleton, Colorado
My niece introduced me to this colorful recipe some time ago. I make it when I have buffets or large gatherings because it can be prepared hours ahead. This is a wonderful way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes. —Myrtle Matthews, Marietta, Georgia
I had to get my firefighter husband to eat more fruits and veggies to lower his cholesterol and triglycerides. Fresh chard and tomatoes add a lot of fiber and vitamins to our diets, but we love this recipe for the flavor. While he would never admit to eating "health food" around the firehouse, this dish is one of many that made his trips to the doctor much more pleasant! —Carolyn Kumpe, El Dorado, California
JoAnn McCauley of Dubuque, Iowa shares her version of traditional Chicken Cacciatore with this easy recipe. The tasty sauce and chicken can be served over rice or noodles. If you want to lower the sodium, use garlic powder instead of garlic salt.
A veggie and pasta combo makes a hearty entree that comes together easily. Wine lends an extra touch of flavor to the sauce and makes this main dish a winner. —Mike Tchou, Pepper Pike, Ohio
Don't skip the anchovy paste! It gives a good, salty flavor, but doesn't taste fishy at all. Add a salad and crusty bread for an incredible meal. —Lynne German, Woodland Hills, California
For a crisp, refreshing side dish, this tasty salad can't be beat. It's the perfect salad to go with lasagna. —Gina Squires, Salem, Oregon
The addition of wholesome bulgur gives extra nutrition to this Italian entree. It's so zesty and flavorful, your family will never realize it's good for them. —Mary Gunderson, Conrad, Iowa
Enjoy the convenience of this make-ahead dish or bake right away. Either way, it has half the saturated fat of the original recipe but is just as meaty. —Blair Lonergan, Rochelle, Virginia
When my aunt first told me about these shells, they sounded like a lot of work—but the recipe whips up in no time. Sometimes I add a little cooked bacon to the ricotta filling. —Amelia Hopkin, Salt Lake City, Utah
I've always had to be creative when getting my family to eat vegetables, so I decided to make stuffed zucchini using the pizza flavors that everyone loves. It worked! We like to include sausage for a main dish but it could be a meatless side dish, too. —Donna Marie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts
This is one of my favorite dishes to order in restaurants, so I created a version that I could make in a flash on a weeknight at home. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho
Here's one of my most-requested recipes, thanks to the special white wine and mustard sauce. It makes an ordinary weeknight dinner feel like a little party. —Susan Warren, North Manchester, Indiana
Sweet onion seasons turkey, adding rich flavor to Mary Relyea’s wholesome pasta dish. At home in Canastota, New York, she tosses it together with light cream, basil and tomatoes for a quick, springy meal in minutes.
My husband had a poor perception of healthy food until he tried this beefy casserole. The combination of pasta, oregano, mushrooms and green peppers makes it a favorite in our house. —Theresa Smith, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Wine and mushrooms lend elegance to this oh-so-simple pork dish. Use pre-sliced mushrooms and minced garlic to save time. Cleanup is one-pan easy. —Kim Gillis, High Falls, New York
Slow cooked and savory, this dish is perfect for any night of the week, and is sure to become a staple in your home.–Shelli McWilliam of Salem, Oregon
This is my daughter Tonya's favorite meal. Sometimes we make it with rigatoni and call it "Riga-Tonya." It's a great dinner and a nice way to prepare yummy vegetables for the kids. —Sandra Eckert, Pottstown, Pennsylvania
This easy recipe is part of a meal plan along with "Balsamic Brioled Asparagus". I typically serve this with crusty french bread and Balsamic Broiled Asparagus.
The mildness of the fish contrasts perfectly with the deep flavor of the sauce. This pesto halibut takes just minutes to prep, so it's a great dinner for weeknights. —April Showalter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
This recipe has been enjoyed by three generations of my family. My mother concocted it years ago using a few ingredients she said were handy at the time. The aroma from these ingredients brings back fond memories of home.
This recipe is so versatile! Look in your fridge for anything else you want to throw in, like red pepper, mushrooms, extra zucchini—you name it. And if you're a vegetarian, go ahead and leave out the chicken. —Stephanie Loaiza, Layton, Utah