Healthy Ways to Add Protein to Your Pasta Dishes | a2 Milk® USA Blog
Healthy Ways to Add Protein to Your Pasta Dishes | a2 Milk® USA Blog

a2 Milk® blog

Get the latest healthy living tips.

Healthy Ways to Add Protein to Your Pasta Dishes

Posted on October 9, 2017

Spaghetti. Penne. Lasagna. Ramen. Risotto.

Pasta isn’t just food; it’s a delicious meal to enjoy with your family.  You can dress it up, dress it down, spend five minutes or spend all day. You can also create recipes that are full of veggies, nutrients, healthy fats, and protein.

For those families looking for protein packed pasta ideas, check out the ingredients below. Each will transform your pasta into a healthy, well-balanced meal. Here are some ways to add protein to pasta at home!

Add Beans

Pasta with Beans

Beans are not only packed with protein; they are full of fiber and zinc (among other vitamins and minerals). Adding beans to your pasta will instantly boost the protein amount, up to 34 grams in one serving! Here are the beans with the most protein per serving (½ cup):

Soy Beans / Edamame

34 grams of protein

Recipe: Vegetable and Edamame Pasta with Basil Cream Sauce

Kidney Beans

21.5 grams of protein

Recipe: Healthy Kidney Bean Pasta

Black Beans

21 grams of protein

Recipe: Southwestern Black Bean Pasta

Great Northern Beans

20 grams of protein

Recipe: Pasta and White Beans with Garlic-Rosemary Oil

Veggies for a little bonus protein

Some vegetables have a little more protein than you probably expect! Peas, spinach, kale and broccoli (which all happen to go with pasta perfectly) can add a touch more protein to an already delicious dish. Some recipes that are loaded up with veggies include:

Use Protein-rich Sauces

Pasta with Protein Sauce- Bechamel

If you want to keep the ingredients minimal, whether you’re pressed for time or have picky palettes to feed, you can still add protein to pasta with your sauce selection.

Meaty Marinara Sauce

Add sausage, chicken, or beef to your standard tomato sauce.

Easy Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel sauce is made with milk, which naturally contains protein and is a fan favorite for kids. Béchamel sauces are versatile; you can add cheese, seasonings, or lemon to keep your pasta sauce interesting. Here’s a basic recipe to get your started.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in flour until it starts to thicken and bubble (about 2 minutes). Slowly add the milk and bring to boil. Stir until desired consistency and then add seasonings.

Chickpea or Black Bean Sauce

Puree canned beans with herbs and seasonings for a healthy, creamy, protein-rich sauce.

Top with Chicken, Beef, or Tofu

Adding chicken, beef, fish, or tofu is the most simple and easy way to top your pasta with protein-packed goodness. Some simple and easy ideas include:

  • Add Italian sausage to your spaghetti dinner
  • Add chicken to garlicky pasta dinners
  • Add tofu or shrimp to Asian noodle dinners

Try Buckwheat Noodles

Udon Noodle Soup

Buckwheat noodles, also known as Soba or Udon noodles, have more protein than any other type of noodle (6 grams per cup) and lower calories as well. These Asian noodles are delicious, hearty, and versatile.

Try Soba noodle salad or hearty Udon noodle soup. Add chicken or tofu for even more protein.

Add protein to pasta; so you can have your pasta and eat it too.

*The recipes and bloggers linked to in this blog are not affiliated with a2 Milk®. 

Back to top