Carbonara is a classic Italian dish that is loved by many. It’s a creamy and rich pasta dish made with eggs, cheese, and bacon or pancetta. However, the traditional recipe is not always the healthiest option. Fortunately, there are ways to make a healthier version of carbonara pasta that is just as delicious. In this article, we’ll explore the tips and tricks to make a healthy carbonara pasta that is both nutritious and satisfying.
What is Carbonara Pasta?
Carbonara pasta is a classic Italian dish that originated in Rome. The dish is made with a few simple ingredients such as eggs, cheese, and bacon or pancetta. The dish gets its creamy texture from the eggs and cheese that are mixed together to create a sauce that coats the pasta. The bacon or pancetta adds a salty flavor that complements the creaminess of the sauce.
Traditional Carbonara Pasta Recipe
The traditional carbonara pasta recipe uses raw eggs that are mixed with grated cheese and bacon or pancetta. The heat from the pasta is enough to cook the eggs and create a creamy sauce. However, the use of raw eggs can be a concern for some people due to the risk of foodborne illness. Additionally, the bacon or pancetta used in the traditional recipe is high in saturated fat and sodium, which can be unhealthy in excess.
Tips for Making a Healthy Carbonara Pasta
- Use whole-wheat pasta: Whole-wheat pasta is a healthier option compared to white pasta as it contains more fiber and nutrients. It also has a lower glycemic index, which means it won’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
- Substitute bacon or pancetta with turkey bacon or lean ham: Turkey bacon or lean ham are healthier options compared to bacon or pancetta. They are lower in saturated fat and sodium and can still add a salty flavor to the dish.
- Use low-fat milk instead of cream: Cream is high in saturated fat and can add a lot of calories to the dish. Using low-fat milk can still create a creamy texture without the added calories.
- Add vegetables: Adding vegetables such as peas, asparagus, or spinach can add nutrients and fiber to the dish. They also add color and flavor to the pasta.
- Use a smaller amount of cheese: Cheese is high in calories and fat. Using a smaller amount of cheese or a lower-fat option can still add flavor without the added calories.
Healthy Carbonara Pasta Recipe
- 8 oz whole-wheat pasta
- 4 slices of turkey bacon or 1/2 cup of diced lean ham
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, cook the turkey bacon or lean ham in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the frozen peas to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are heated through.
- In a bowl, whisk together the low-fat milk, egg yolks, and Parmesan cheese.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the garlic and peas.
- Pour the milk and egg mixture over the pasta and stir until the pasta is coated.
- Cook the pasta in the skillet for 2-3 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and coats the pasta.
- Crumble the cooked turkey bacon or ham and add it to the skillet with the pasta. Stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the pasta hot, garnished with chopped parsley.
Benefits of Healthy Carbonara Pasta
By making a few simple swaps and additions, you can turn a classic carbonara pasta dish into a healthier option that still tastes amazing. Using whole-wheat pasta adds fiber and nutrients to the dish, while turkey bacon or lean ham reduces saturated fat and sodium. Adding vegetables such as peas, asparagus, or spinach increases the nutrient and fiber content of the dish, and using low-fat milk instead of cream reduces the calorie and fat content. By making these changes, you can still enjoy the rich and creamy texture of carbonara pasta without the guilt.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer. Whole-wheat pasta is just a healthier option compared to white pasta.
- Can I use a different type of meat for this recipe?
Yes, you can use any type of meat you prefer. Just make sure to choose a lean option to reduce saturated fat and sodium.
- Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, you can omit the meat and add more vegetables such as mushrooms or zucchini.
- Can I use a different type of cheese for this recipe?
Yes, you can use any type of cheese you prefer. Just keep in mind that some cheeses are higher in calories and fat than others.
- How long will this pasta keep in the fridge?
This pasta can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure to reheat it thoroughly before eating.