Pasta with Basil Yogurt Sauce

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Drink your milk”….. Is that phrase a familiar one from your childhood? It definitely is from mine. In my house, dessert wasn’t served until my milk glass was empty… which generally wasn’t a problem since I love milk and cheese and yogurt. Speaking of yogurt, does anyone remember those brightly colored Knudsen containers? Yup, I am a dairy lover from way back!  Which is a good thing since dairy products are a terrific nutritional value with nine essential nutrients including  calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, niacin  and Vitamins A,D and B12.  And when they are part of dishes like this Pasta with Basil Yogurt Sauce, even better!!! Yes, a yogurt pasta sauce that may just have you giving up your favorite Fettucine Alfredo… but more on that in a bit.

Ok, so dairy products are a great nutritional bargain. But there is more to dairy than that! In addition to being nutritional bargains, studies have suggested that  three servings of dairy as part of a balanced diet may help you maintain a healthy weight.

Hmm… foods that I not only love but that are good for me and help me manage my weight?? Bring it on!!!

Pasta with Basil Yogurt Sauce

But what if you are lactose intolerant? Well, as I mentioned in this post, even if you are lactose intolerant you can still incorporate dairy into your diet. Lactose intolerance doesn’t mean dairy avoidance. In fact, health experts recommend that those with lactose intolerance try to keep low fat and fat free dairy in their diets because of the powerful nutritional benefits of dairy. Yogurt and hard, aged cheeses are naturally contain a small amount of lactose and are also great choices for getting the 3 recommended servings of dairy every day.  Not sure what a serving size is? Here are some handy equivalents to keep in mind.

1 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2% or whole) = 1 serving

1 cup yogurt (non fat, low fat or whole) = 1 serving

1 ½ oz. of hard and semi soft cheeses = 1 serving

Dishes like this Pasta with Basil Yogurt Sauce are a  delicious and nutritious way to add  more dairy to your diet – but be warned, you may never make Fettuccine Alfredo again.

Looking for more suggestions on how to add more dairy to your diet? Check out the National Dairy Council website for some great tips on all things dairy and helpful tips for managing lactose intolerance.



5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta with Basil Yogurt Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: pasta, vegetarian
Cuisine: italian
Serves: 4 servings
  • • 1 lb. rigatoni or medium shell pasta
  • • 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • • ½ cup (packed) fresh basil
  • • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • • ¼ tsp. salt
  • • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (optional)
  • • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (optional)
  1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the yogurt, olive oil, basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, pepper and salt. Process until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  2. Measure ½ of the sauce into a large bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season water with salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente - about 12 minutes. Drain. Add the pasta GRADUALLY to the yogurt sauce. If you add it too quickly the sauce will break. Add additional sauce if desired. Extra sauce can be passed separately or refrigerated for 2 days for another pasta meal!
  3. Garnish with the chopped tomatoes and pine nuts if desired.


  1. says

    Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever combined pasta with yogurt, but I can totally see this working. And I mean really working well. Delicious and so much better for you than the usual heavy cream. Great recipe, Nancy!

  2. Val says

    Did this recipe exactly! Okay, well not exactly, we’re vegan so we substituted nutritional yeast for parmesan and used coconut yogurt turned out fabulous!!!!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    • says

      So glad you liked it and even happier that you were able to adapt the recipe!!! Hmmm…. I’ve never had coconut yogurt and I am now intrigued – definitely going to have to try it!

  3. Robert says

    sounds great! But I’m not clear on steps on the 2 halves of sauce. Set one aside, put the pasta on one and then stir in the other?

    • says

      Hi Robert!!!
      Sorry about that! The sauce recipe makes a fair amount so since some people like it with less sauce than others, I suggest using about 1/2 of the recipe to start. If it isn’t “saucy” enough you can always add more of the sauce!!!

    • says

      Hi Sarah! Great question – I didn’t heat the sauce because yogurt can break. The pasta is hot enough to heat the sauce so I didn’t have to risk it breaking!!!

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