Pasta dishes are a great way to create a simple dinner when you're short on time. You can spruce them up in a variety of different ways and come up with an entirely new dish to get you started. Here are 7 recipe ideas for healthy pasta dinners.

1.) Pesto Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp

The first of the 7 recipe ideas for healthy pasta dinners won't have you spending hours in the kitchen if the ingredients are already prepped ahead of time. It's just a matter of running the zucchinis through a spiralizer, boiling them, then adding your pesto sauce and shrimp.

2.) Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Turkey Sausage and Bell Peppers

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Cook turkey sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink, breaking sausage into pieces. Remove sausage and drippings, and drain well on paper towels. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in hot oil until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes, salt, and pepper; cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in sausage, pasta, and cheese. Transfer mixture to serving platter, and serve immediately.

3.) One-Dish Chicken Pasta

This dish can be made in as little as 30 minutes and makes a great cheesy pasta dish with all your favorite ingredients.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute until tender. Add mushrooms and saute. Remove from heat. Melt remaining butter in Dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir chicken, sauteed vegetables, and hot cooked pasta into sauce. Add cheese, pepper, and salt. Serve with desired toppings.

4.) Pasta With Turkey Sausage and Kale

A favorite of the 7 recipe ideas for healthy pasta dinners is kale with sausage. Cook the pasta, chop the onions, and toast the pine nuts the day before. Prepare the pasta the same way as you normally would and mix with your favorite sauce. Remove sausage from its casings and cook over medium heat until it starts to crumble. Add onions and garlic and saute. Add vinegar and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the ingredients you made the night before and serve.

5.) Spinach Ravioli

This can be made with the left overs in your refrigerator. Use store bought pesto sauce and buy ravioli already stuffed with cheese. Prepare the pasta in the same way as you usually would and then add in your refrigerator ingredients. Cook only until hot, remove from heat and serve.

6.) Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is always a family staple but you can make it fairly healthy if you want by adding butternut squash. Not only is this dish tasty, but it also keeps the mac and cheese on the lighter side when your trying to shed a few pounds.

7.) Rotini With Crumbled Meatloaf and Tomato Sauce

Saute tomatoes in hot oil until they blister and start to wilt. Stir in garlic, and cook, for 30 seconds. Crumble meatloaf and broth into the skillet. Cook for another 3 minutes remove from heat and season to taste.

Cook pasta according to instructions reserving one and a half cups of the pasta water to add to the meat mixture and cook until liquid is reduced to about a cup. Stir in butter, add pasta and cheese and sprinkle with basil and cheese and serve.