Cooking Basics

What can I make with noodles

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noodle pasta dish
Sauteed noodles with veggies steal the show
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What can I make with noodles beyond the every day marinara

Pasta is an ever versatile food to base a meal around, but it’s easy to get in a funk where you’re making the same dish over and over again. Wondering what can I make with noodles? Spaghetti and marinara only scratch the surface.

One of the reasons why so many pantries stock noodles is that they’re easy to make and compliment any combination of flavors. Italian dishes may come to mind first, but they’re a staple of Asian and Eastern European cuisine as well. And if you’re up for desert, there are a number of sweet dishes to impress dinner guests.

Dry pasta is relatively easy and fast to make, so this list will focus on meals that are almost as simple as spaghetti with sauce.  

Italian Noodle Dishes

Olive Oil and Garlic Sauce

In order to break the cycle of repetition, you’re going to have to put down the jar of red sauce. Crush a few cloves of garlic and simmer them in a pan with olive oil until they turn deliciously golden. Throw in some spinach and chickpeas or chicken and mix in the cooked whole wheat pasta. Sprinkle low-fat cheese on top and take a bow for making a healthy dinner.

Time to Nest

Making a noodle nest from scratch isn’t easy, but they are delicious to chow down on. Fortunately many stores sell the pasta nests already made. Cook them according to the instructions on the package. Then layer chicken breast in a greased casserole dish. 

Sprinkle on basil, salt and pepper, and layer spinach and tomatoes on top. Pour a cream soup into the dish until it covers the top of the noodles. Bake for about an hour at 375 degrees and top with shredded cheese.


Asian may not be the first style that comes to mind when you ask what can I make with noodles, but stir-fries and drunken soup dishes are simple comfort food. According to BBC Food, authentic Asian dishes often use rice or thick egg pasta, but you can easily adapt this style. Boil the base for about half the time so it can absorb the flavors of your stir-fry without getting mushy.

Throw sliced onions, peppers, carrots, peas and other veggies in a pan with some diced and drained tofu. Sautee with fresh ginger, garlic, chili powder, teriyaki and a dash of water, and cover the dish to steam cook the veggies. Stir in your base, drizzling more teriyaki and a spoonful of hoisin sauce for a touch of sweetness. 

Beef with snow peas is another easy stir-fry for meat lovers. Add in some red peppers or shredded carrot for color.

Eastern European Flavors

Beef stroganoff, goulash and paprikash are just a few of the many Eastern Europen style dishes to try. If you love cream sauces or gravy, you’ll love Russian, Polish and Hungarian twists on everyday ingredients. These are the perfect dishes to warm your belly on a cold winter night.

Sauces in these dinners often call for sour cream, and the proteins are inexpensive, thinly cut meats. Goulash resembles a stew made with chicken, butter, onions and paprika (sweet, smoked or spicy). Layer it over a generous bowl of steaming noodles.


Cook up a small package and dump them into a casserole dish. Make vanilla custard with cinnamon and pour it in until everything is covered. Bake until the custard sets. 

Perfect Timing Tip

If your protein will take longer than other ingredients to cook, plan to prep and get that cooking first. If you set the water while chopping vegetables, the time it takes to cook the veggies and build a flavorful sauce will be very close to the time it takes for the dry ingredients to reach al dente.   

There’s no limit to what can I make with noodles if you’re feeling adventurous. They can be the star of the dish, or support a rich, creamy sauce with roasted meat. Bookmark the recipes you love and work them into the repertoire.

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