Move over, mac and cheese.
There's a reason pasta dinners are so popular. Not only are they quick and easy—and totally delicious—but even the pickiest eater will find a pasta dish or two they love. While there's a lot to love about a traditional pasta marinara or mac and cheese, if you find yourself reaching for these same go-tos when you're menu planning, maybe you need a little push to freshen up your pasta game.
And here it is! Try some of these 32 amazing pasta dinner ideas that aren't your standard spaghetti, so you can tempt your tastebuds with a whole new set of dishes.
Mushroom and Burrata Orzotto
If you love creamy and earthy flavors, this elegant (yet easy!) pasta dinner recipe will definitely be your jam. It combines an array of roasted mushrooms (choose your favorites!) with risotto-like orzo pasta and generous dollops of creamy burrata on top.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta With Leeks
Butternut squash isn't just a roasted side dish! Here it's combined with leeks, sage, parmesan and a bit of half-and-half to create a silky, decadent pasta dish.
French Onion Pasta
TikTok has given us some amazing (and at least a few questionable) recipes, and this tasty pasta dish is one of the best ones. Just make sure that you fully caramelize the onions to give you that sweet-savory flavor that's the signature of French onion soup.
Tapas-Style Pasta Salad
Think of this like a charcuterie board in pasta dinner form. Flavorful olives, manchego cheese, almonds, and chorizo pack this dish with plenty of flavor. (Plus, it's a picnic-friendly option for when you're enjoying dinner al fresco.)
Skillet Mexican Pasta
One-pot pasta dishes are a little hard to come by, but this flavorful Mexican dish is easy to make—the pasta simmers in smoky adobo sauce, then is topped with sour cream and avocado.
Linguine With Broccoli Mint Pesto
Basil is the traditional star of the show for pesto, but for this recipe, broccoli and mint are added to give it a fresh kick of flavor and a boost of nutrients. Swapping in almonds for pine nuts adds to this pesto's superfood profile.
Lemony Spaghetti With Sardines and Bread Crumbs Recipe
Sardines have become a trendy ingredient lately. Here their smoky saltiness is a perfect foil for the tang of lemon.
Pasta With Chicken Sausage, Corn, Leeks, and Mushrooms
Corn is an uncommon pairing for pasta. But it works beautifully in this fast and easy pasta dinner, which features plenty of ingredients you probably already have around. (Swap in another aromatic like scallions or mild onions if leeks aren't hanging out in your produce drawer.)
Edamame Pasta Salad
It takes just 15 minutes of prep work to create a tasty edamame pasta salad, which is big on bold flavors—peppery arugula, salty feta, and earthy walnuts and edamame.
Walnut Mushroom Bolognese
You won't miss the meat in this plant-based take on the classic bolognese. Walnuts and mushrooms give you that meaty texture (along with plenty of anti-inflammatory goodness).
Crispy Tofu Noodle Soup
What's more comforting than noodle soup? Try a meatless version for the next time you have a cold, with swiss chard and crispy tofu.
Slow-Cooker Pork Ditalini Stew
The slow cooker is your friend for busy weeknights, and this pasta dish couldn't be easier. Drop everything but the pasta, spinach, and Parmesan in in the morning, then cook the spinach and pasta for the final minutes.
Thai Peanut Butter Ramen
The college dorm classic gets a more sophisticated flavor profile, thanks to a spicy peanut sauce. Use this dish as a base to clean out leftovers from your produce drawer—it's great with broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, or carrots. And pop in a little tofu or some shredded chicken to up the protein profile.
Hazelnut Romesco Pasta Salad
Romesco sauce is a Spanish variation on red sauce, featuring red peppers, sherry vinegar, and a touch of tomato paste. Add a little chorizo to bring the heat.
Spicy Coconut Noodles
Rice noodles and coconut milk get kicked up with chili powder and paste in an Asian-inspired dish that'll switch up your pasta night standards.
No-Bake Summer Veggie Lasagna
Lasagna's a time-honored pasta dinner classic, but this fast-and-easy version breaks it down to the basics—cheese, veggies, and pasta—and comes together much faster than the traditional version. (And bonus: That makes it perfect for those hot summer nights when you definitely don't want to turn on the oven.)
Udon with Seared Beef & Zucchini
If you're looking for a satisfying addition to your pasta night rotation, this savory beef noodle dish definitely fits the bill. (And it's also a great way to use up some of that zucchini bounty if you have too much from your garden!)
Tortellini With Squash, Egg, and Breadcrumbs
If you want comfort food that's not mac and cheese, try this dish, which features cheese-stuffed tortellini, breadcrumbs, and a fried egg, with just a touch of zucchini to make it a one-dish meal.
Saucy Shrimp and Noodle Stir-Fry
Stir fries are great for busy nights—and this shrimp-filled version is no exception. The sweet and spicy sauce gives it a punch of flavor.
Ricotta Roll-Ups in Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
This creamy pasta dish is kind of like a deconstructed lasagna. Pumpkin puree and sage make it perfect for fall—especially if you're looking for a tasty plant-based main dish or side for Thanksgiving.
Spaghetti Funnel Cakes
Pasta for dessert? Why not give this deep-fried fun dessert as a perfect way to use up leftover pasta from your last pasta dinner.
Lemony Cucumber-and-Herb Pasta Salad
A summery pasta dish, this cold salad still brings the heat with a touch of red pepper flakes alongside the lemon, cucumber, and feta.
Pesto Skillet Lasagna
A skillet lasagna requires just a few minutes in the oven to help the top layer of cheese bubble and brown. Mixing in pesto with a quick and creamy bechamel sauce punches up the flavor.
Whole-Wheat Pasta With Chard and Pine Nuts
Whole wheat pasta and Swiss chard combine forces for a healthier (but still delicious) take on pasta dinner.
Zucchini butter isn't quite what you probably think. It's the summer garden staple shredded and cooked with chopped onions and garlic until it's butter smooth to make a rich and decadent sauce for pasta.
Swiss Chard Mac and Cheese
If your kids (or, well, you) can't live without mac and cheese, why not look for a variation? Swiss chard adds a little touch of green, and red pepper flakes kick up the flavor.
Creamy Veggie Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is a time-honored classic dish. But adding a little cream makes it feel richer.
Pho-Inspired Vegetable Noodle Soup
Pho is a classic Vietnamese soup that features a spice-infused broth and plenty of noodles and veggies. (Cilantro is optional if you're one of the folks who doesn't love the flavor.)
Curry Rice Vermicelli
For a punch of flavor (and a fast 20-minute pasta dinner), you can't beat this Singaporean classic.
Green Coconut Curry With Zucchini Noodles and Tofu
Zucchini noodles (AKA zoodles) are a way to pack even more veggies into a pasta dish. It's a plant-based take on a Thai favorite.
Southwestern Pasta Salad
Avocado is the secret ingredient in this pasta salad's creamy sauce, which features many of the same ingredients as cowboy caviar. You can punch up the spice with a few slices of jalapeño in the mix.
Ravioli With Apples and Walnuts
The ingredient list may sound a little strange: cheese ravioli, apples, and walnuts? But it's a perfect meld of autumnal flavors—and a nice alternative to mac and cheese that even a picky kid may be willing to try.
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