After two weeks in Italy a few years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the stuff. There, it’s served very simply, pretty much just a little pancetta, pasta, and sauce. So basically, just fat, carbs and salt. Something I could get away with daily whilst on vacation because I was walking around a lot but not an ideal way to end a day sitting at a desk at home.
So, it was time to play a bit with the nutritionals. Somehow I needed to bump up the veggies, scale down the fat and carbs and fill a big bowl with lots of flavour and fibre.
First thing I did was swap the pasta for spaghetti squash. If you’e never used spaghetti squash, you’re seriously missing out. No, it doesn’t taste like pasta, but it has a very satisfying stringy texture that holds its shape well and offers a good bite. It also only has about 40 calories a cup compared with about 225 calories for pasta. Kinda a big deal.
Next, in usual Abbey’s Kitchen style, I added a tonne of veggies. Peas are the obvious Spring choice (especially since they are customary in carbonara), but I also added some delicious in season asparagus and zucchini to the works.
Finally, the sauce. Because I was adding in a lot of extra veggies here, I needed something low calorie other than just eggs and cheese to make a sauce because I would need a lot of egg yolks to coat it all. My solution? Low fat evaporated milk. It has a thicker consistency, almost like a 10% cream, but contains only 2% miik fat and a good amount of protein. This just adds a bit of structure and a base to stretch the eggs and cheese.
The result? Super addictive, healthy, high fibre, low carb bowl of Italian goodness. The next time you have a creamy pasta craving, squash it with this bad boy and enjoy! This is what I did:
Spring Vegetable Spaghetti Squash Carbonara
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.