There’s nothing better than a big, creamy, steaming bowl carbonara pasta. The Italians definitely what’s up when it comes to putting yummy ingredients together. I mean, lasagna, pizza, gnocchi, cannelloni – people with taste buds have much to thank Italy for. And although these delicious foods are perfect in moderation, we need healthier alternatives to put together for our week on Meal Prep Monday.
But just because traditional carbonara isn’t that nutritionally great for you doesn’t mean you have to scrap the idea all together!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know recreating healthier, lighter and more nutritious versions of traditional comfort foods is pretty much my passion. From cauliflower fried rice to creamy chicken risotto and even healthy fudgy brownies, I’ve found healthier ways to make many of the classics.
So when it was time to meal prep dinner for the week and I was feeling creative, I got to work on creating a healthier version of my favourite pasta dish. While low-calorie pasta dishes aren’t something new, many still aren’t nutritious enough to eat 4+ days in a row. Sure, you can swap out white pasta for wholemeal and use light cream instead of the heavy stuff, you can even use leaner bacon. But even then, you basically just have a small bowl of carbonara with plenty of carbohydrates, not much protein and very little veggies.
In comparison, my healthy low-carb carbonara is packed with protein, nutrients and fibre. Some of the recipe’s benefits are:
- light cream cheese still gives a heavenly creamy flavour but for 65% fewer calories than cream.
- The addition of lean chicken breast lowers the amount of bacon needed and ups protein content.
- carrot noodles in place of pasta drastically lowers energy content, carb content and increases vitamins and minerals.
- Sneaky veggies in the form of green peas, carrot noodles and baby spinach
So if you want a creamy pasta fix or are just looking for healthy meal prep recipes for the week, try this low carb, high protein creamy carbonara recipe. Don’t forget to pin for later!
Low-Carb Creamy Carbonara
A low carb, high protein, gluten free version of creamy carbonara. It's also great for meal prep!
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- 1 Tbsp olive oil (15mL)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (10g)
- 1 medium brown onion, diced (100g)
- 250g of eye bacon, diced
- 500g chicken breast, sliced
- 3 cups sliced button mushrooms (130g)
- 4 cups baby spinach (70g)
- 1 cup frozen peas (130g)
- 1 250g tub light cream cheese
- 1 cup light milk (250mL)
- 6 medium carrots, spiralized into noodles
- Coat large pan with olive oil and bring to medium-low heat.
- Fry garlic and onion for five minutes. Push to the rim of pan and increase heat.
- Fry bacon in the middle of pan on medium heat for 5 mins
- Push contents to the rim of pan and cook chicken breast in the middle until brown - about 10 mins.
- Add mushrooms, spinach and peas and cook for a further 3 mins
- Add cream cheese, melt and coat ingredients. Add milk and stir for 2 mins.
- Reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 mins. Optionally add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add carrot noodles and cook for a further 5 mins* (see meal prep note). Serve.
- *When meal prepping this recipe, do not cook the carrot noodles further. Instead, mix them into the pan contents and then divide into containers. They will cook when you reheat each portion.
Sarah in Shape http://www.sarahinshape.com/