Plates of spaghetti

Spaghetti is the perfect dinner when you’re in a pinch for time and helps fill up bellies on a budget. Even better is this recipe from registered dietitian Kristen Carli that uses just one pot and saves you time and energy when cleaning up afterward. This recipe takes just five minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. It serves six and tastes just like a dish you would order from an Italian restaurant. Don’t worry about consuming all those carbs, either. According to Self magazine, pasta actually offers health benefits.

For example, one-half of a cup of whole wheat pasta only has 90 calories and three grabs of fiber. It’s key to keep your meal at one serving, which is one-half of a cup of cooked noodles. You can even use whole wheat, buckwheat, rice, soba or Japanese udon, which is a healthier option. If you prefer white pasta, be sure to cook it al dente and not totally tender, so your body has to work harder to process it. This keeps ones blood sugar level steadier and avoiding a sudden spike. Carli’s recipe also doesn’t use red sauce, cutting out extra sugars from your meal and giving it a rich, healthy taste.

Grab the one pot spaghetti ingredients

spaghetti Ingredients on counter

For this natural one pot spaghetti dish, you’ll need a long noodle pasta like linguine or spaghetti. If you don’t have a long noodle handy, you can swap it out for a rotini or penne, Carli said. You’ll also need a large white onion, a can of diced tomatoes, lightly dried basil, minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, chicken broth and Parmesan.

"I would recommend sodium-free chicken broth as most chicken broth is very high in sodium and most of us are eating too much sodium. But that’s my registered dietitian hat speaking," Carli said.

No red sauce in this one pot spaghetti recipe

Bowl of raw noodles and vegetables

The lemon juice and lemon zest provide the flavorful base for this tasty dish. You can swap out the can of diced tomatoes for a can of fire roasted tomatoes if you "want some heat," Carli advised. Lemons are a flavor enhancer like salt, but without a ton of sodium. Lemon also draws out the acidity of the tomatoes and makes the dish more savory.

"The lemon juice and the basil help create brightness in this dish, too," Carli said.

Start by boiling the one pot spaghetti noodles

Pasta and ingredients in broth in Dutch oven

In a large Dutch oven, place 16 ounces of noodles, one diced white onion, a 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1/4 of a cup lightly dried basil, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/4 of a cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 a teaspoon pepper and 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Stir to combine all ingredients. Break the noodles in half to help submerge them completely in the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and leave on high to cook for ten minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Don’t add oil to your pasta water

Cooking oil

People believe that adding oil to pasta water keeps the noodles from sticking together but that’s not really the case. Instead, adding olive oil to boiling pasta water helps prevent the water from boiling over. According to Michael Easton, a chef and owner of a retail studio that designs pasta, olive oil sits on top of the boiling water and prevents it from foaming up and boiling over the sides of pot, making a big mess. But that’s really only needed when boiling a denser pasta for more than ten minutes. Quality noodles shouldn’t stick together but if they do, toss the finished noodles in cooked butter.

Polish off the one pot spaghetti recipe

Pot of noodles with Parmesan on top

Remove the concoction from the burner and add 5 ounces of shredded Parmesan then stir to combine. It’s ready to be ladled onto a plate and paired with a tasty side such as a salad or breadsticks.

"It’s amazing because you throw it all into one pan and boil — it couldn’t get any easier," Carli said. "And having the pasta boil in broth, tomatoes, and onion adds so much more flavor than boiling in water."

Sipping water or a savoring a glass of wine while noshing on this rich and hearty dish will only accentuate the flavors even more.

Perfect sides to compliment one pot spaghetti

Bowl of salad

For many people, a heaping plate of pasta is enough for a meal and they don’t need anything else to go with it. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish to accompany this fantastic one pot spaghetti dish, you have several options.

A cool side salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and other refreshing veggies would work, as would a warm salad made with ingredients like roasted eggplant, grilled zucchini or roasted cauliflower. Of course, a buttery breadstick or crunchy slab of Texas toast would be taste fantastic, too. It just depends upon your dietary needs and what sounds the best for everyone sitting at the table with you.

Plates of spaghetti
Ready in 20 minutes
  • 16 ounces of linguine, spaghetti or other long noodle pasta
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup lightly dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 5 ounces of shredded Parmesan
  1. In a large Dutch oven add all ingredients except for the Parmesan. Stir to combine.
  2. Bring broth to a boil over high heat and cook the ingredients for 10 minutes, until pasta is tender.
  3. Remove from heat and add Parmesan. Stir to combine.