9 Things You Never Thought To Add To Pasta

Forget pasta with red sauce; these creative pasta toppings are delicious and easy to make.


Avocado makes an amazingly creamy pasta sauce — no milk, cream, or cheese needed. It's perfect for anyone trying to eat more heart-healthy fats or cut down on dairy products. This recipe for spaghetti with avocado sauce uses a combination of vegetable broth, leeks, avocado, and lemon juice to create a simple and delicious pasta sauce.


If you love a hearty spaghetti Bolognese, you'll love "Cincinnati-Style chili" — a.k.a. chili-topped spaghetti. Though the traditional version uses a variety of spices in the chili itself, you can feel free to make the chili to your liking; it will still be delicious!

Coconut Milk

There are a number of wonderful coconut milk-based dishes served over rice or rice noodles, so why not top wheat-based pasta with a savory coconut sauce? An easy way to incorporate coconut milk into savory cooking is to make a curry. You can curry just about anything, then serve it on top of al dente noodles for a unique and flavorful pasta dish.

Feta Cheese

Tangy feta cheese pairs really well with a number of other ingredients (including a classic combination often eaten with pasta — tomato and basil), so it's a great way to add lots of delicious and salty flavor to your pasta. Try topping pasta with feta and olive oil, or use feta instead of Parmigiano-Reggiano. 


Whether you juice it, zest it, slice it, or preserve it, lemon can really wake up an otherwise boring pasta dish. Try grilling the lemons before squeezing their juices for a sweet-and-smoky flavor, or use them in a simple 15-minute mushroom pasta.

Soy Sauce

Give your pasta extra umami by adding a dash of soy sauce. Better yet, make an Asian-inspired pasta dish by mixing soy sauce with stock or broth, a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat, and a drizzle of honey or orange juice for sweetness. When the sauce thickens slightly, toss it with the noodles, a mix of vegetables, and thinly sliced meat. Too much cooking? Serve last night's stir-fry over your pasta instead.


We know what you're thinking — we've missed the mark on this one — but trust us, this sweet and savory pasta dish is not one to be missed. Just toss freshly cut strawberries with al dente pasta and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Other delicious add-ins include thinly sliced red onions, a chiffonade of basil, or small pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese.

Toasted, Buttered Breadcrumbs

Make the easiest (and quite possibly the most delicious) pasta topping ever by melting butter in a pan and then toasting breadcrumbs in the butter over medium heat. When the breadcrumbs are brown and crispy, sprinkle them over any pasta for an instant pasta upgrade.


Plain yogurt makes a great substitute for milk or heavy cream in pasta sauce, adding a welcome tanginess. Try tossing pasta in a mixture of tomato sauce and yogurt for a quick mock vodka sauce, or simply mix yogurt with some of the pasta cooking water and fresh herbs for an easy, creamy sauce.