17 Italian Recipes That Are Surprisingly Healthy



We think it’s safe to say that Italian fare is on everyone’s list of favorite foods. But unfortunately, much of the ooey-gooey grub we know and love isn’t always the healthiest, as the dishes you’ll find in popular Italian-American restaurants have strayed away from the authentic ingredients you would encounter if you ordered these dishes in Italy. But have no fear—you can still chow down on classic Italian meals that won’t damage your waistline.

We rounded up some of the best Italian recipes that not only taste good, but are all low-calorie, made with fresh ingredients, and are easy enough for you to whip up right at home. We’re talking everything from the tastiest pasta dishes to a wholesome pizza to plenty of satisfyingly cheesy delights. Yes, there are such things as healthy Italian recipes.

Here are 17 delicious healthy Italian recipes.

Vegetarian 3 cheese ravioli with cherry tomatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Yes, you can easily make ravioli! And here, you get to dive into ravioli made with three different types of cheese: ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Did we mention this pasta dish is just a little more than 500 calories? A total win for a restaurant-level meal.

Get our recipe for Homemade 3-Cheese Ravioli With Cherry Tomatoes.

Healthy baked ziti
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Baked ziti is a simple dish—just noodles covered in red sauce, topped with cheese, and maybe some meat mixed in. Instead of ordering this while dining out, make this healthier version at home that tastes just as delicious and won’t cost you nearly as many calories and fat as a restaurant version would.

Get our recipe for Baked Ziti.

healthy spaghetti meatballs
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Spaghetti and meatballs will forever be one of the best combinations of all time. Plus, it’s no secret that turkey is a much leaner, lower-calorie choice when it comes to crafting up traditional meatballs.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs.

Paleo meatball soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Paired with noodles and a handful of vegetables, this soup makes for a bowl of goodness that’s low in calories, yet still packs a ton of flavor. Think of it as a next-level chicken noodle soup alternative.

Get our recipe for an Italian Meatball Soup.

Healthy chicken parmesan
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Is there a more beloved Italian-American staple than this dish? Here, we shallow-fry chicken and then use fresh mozzarella to top it off. Pair this with some sautéed spinach for some classic comfort food.

Get our recipe for a Chicken Parmesan.

Healthy fettuccine alfredo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Fettuccine Alfredo is hands-down the creamiest pasta dish of all. To avoid all the heavy cream and excess butter, our recipe turns to a béchamel instead, which still results in a thick, creamy sauce, just without all those extra calories.

Get our recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo.

Healthy shrimp fra diavolo
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You might think ordering any seafood dish is always your best bet when dining out, but that isn’t always the case. Seafood-based pasta dishes are usually the ones to avoid because they end up drowning in a heavy sauce. We did the opposite of that here, letting the shrimp be the star of the pasta dish that is made with crushed tomatoes, white wine, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

Vegetarian bruschetta two ways
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Bruschetta has simple ingredients, so it’s easy to see why it makes for a great appetizer. Chain Italian restaurants such as  Carrabba’s tend to get a bit carried away with their versions, but trust us when we say our recipe is low-calorie and won’t have you blowing all the calories allotted to your dinner just on the first course.

Get our recipe for the Best Bruschetta.

Healthy pizza with arugula, cherry tomatoes, and prosciutto
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This pie is based on a prosciutto arugula pizza, inspired by the flavors of Positano, along Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Essentially, if you close your eyes and take a bite, the cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, and arugula all come together for a pie that tastes like you’re on vacation.

Get our recipe for an Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, and Prosciutto Pizza.

Low-calorie bolognese fettuccine turkey
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

The classic bolognese sauce gets a makeover as we turn to turkey, which allows for a healthier pasta dish. Go ahead and get seconds!

Get our recipe for Turkey Bolognese With Fettuccine.

Vegetarian caprese tomato towers
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Here we have the classic tomato salad from Capri, Italy. It’s simple: just sweet tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and fresh basil. This is a caprese salad you’re never going to be able to resist.

Get our recipe for a Caprese Tomato Tower Salad.

Healthy lasagna rolls
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Lasagna is a dish that isn’t necessarily the easiest to make, but it is a crowd-pleaser. We decided to simplify the process a bit with the lasagna roll. It’s a tight pasta bundle that is filled with everything you get in a lasagna, but without having to construct all the layers. Not only is it less messy, but this way, you save on calories, too.

Get our recipe for a Baked Lasagna Rolls.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

plate of italian hash with fried egg next to skillet and water glass
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

For this breakfast, we took inspiration from an Italian sandwich. There are peppers and onions, but we added in chicken sausage, kale, and eggs to the mix for a healthier alternative to a greasy, carb-heavy sandwich at a deli. A healthy Italian hash? Count us in!

Get our recipe for an Italian Hash With Eggs.

Healthy chicken cacciatore
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Chicken cacciatore is one of those Italian-American dishes that is known for being a bit on the lighter side, as it’s basically a stew of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and wine—not a dish that features loads of cheese or anything fried. Our recipe comes in under 450 calories and is super flavorful.

Get our recipe for Chicken Cacciatore.

Paleo italian sausage soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This is basically chicken soup with an Italian twist! There are plenty of vegetables that pair perfectly with the noodles and Italian-style turkey sausage. It’s a hearty soup you’re going to want to turn you every time the temperature drops.

Get our recipe for an Italian Sausage Soup.

chicken piccata

The name of this classic Italian staple, piccata, translates to “cooked in a lemon and butter sauce.” And the dish is just that—thin pieces of chicken breast made in a zesty lemon-butter sauce that is topped with capers for an extra burst of flavor. With this recipe, you’ll have dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.

Get our recipe for Chicken Piccata.

Healthy spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A bowl of spaghetti might just be the ultimate comfort food. Here, we add in some bacon, which infuses the pasta with just the right amount of meaty flavor for more of a spicy take on the classic.

Get our recipe for Spaghetti With Spicy Tomato Sauce and Bacon.

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