By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.
Hi Friends! Today I am so excited to bring to you this Healthy Carbonara with a garlicky cauliflower “cream” sauce recipe!
When we got the email notifying us of this challenge I was beyond excited! Pasta? Heck yes, enough said! Here is a little bit about the challenge:
“How Do You Celebrate National Pasta Month?” Recipe Challenge:
“October is National Pasta Month and the National Pasta Association wants to find out which pasta recipe fits into your healthy lifestyle.”
You guys know that I love my food holidays, and National Pasta Month is definitely one I can get on board with! Whole wheat pasta is a healthy carbohydrate that when paired with lean meats and vegetables creates a balanced filling meal. I find that pasta is often one of the first foods eliminated when people set out to lose weight. In fact many of my clients often tell me they haven’t had pasta or bread in forever.
Fun fact, you can lose weight and still eat pasta. I’m not just saying that, I know because I did it! When I set out to lose some of my college weight (about 20lbs) I had whole wheat penne pasta, shrimp, and broccoli with store bought alfredo light sauce almost every week. I didn’t know a lot about cooking but luckily it is super easy to boil pasta, defrost some shrimp and broccoli, mix with sauce and have a healthy meal ready to go for the week. It was convenient, filling, affordable, and satisfying, perfect for a busy healthy lifestyle.
Since then my cooking skills have graduated a bit, so when this challenge was introduced I asked Mr. Hungry what kind of pasta I should make. He quickly replied with quite the challenge: carbonara. Carbonara’s essential ingredients are a creamy garlicky sauce made from eggs, cream, and cheese topped off with bacon. Not exactly the world’s healthiest dish. I turned this traditionally high calorie, high-fat meal into a healthy dinner by using cauliflower to make a healthy garlic “cream” sauce and center cut bacon or turkey bacon (less fat). I was super excited because it turned out great and everyone loved it. Definitely, let me know if you give it a try!
[Tweet “#AD: Celebrate with a creamy garlicky Healthy Carbonara recipe via @hungryhobby! #pastafits #RecipeReDux”]
Don’t forget to check out the link up at the bottom too!
- 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (or any form of pasta, traditional would be longer pasta like spaghetti but we like short)
- 2 cups frozen vegetable medley (I used TJ's Foursome carrots, green beans, peas, and corn)
- 3-4 pieces center cut bacon or turkey bacon chopped
- Steam cauliflower florets for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat and let cool while pasta cooks.
- Add pasta to the water you used to steam the cauliflower and cook 7-10 minutes until al dente (or according to package directions). Stir constantly to prevent sticking together.
- While pasta cooks sauté minced garlic on low in butter until tender, fragrant, and slightly caramelized about 5-8 minutes.
- Add frozen vegetables to microwave safe dish, cover and microwave for 1-2 minutes until thawed (stir half way in between).
- Drain pasta but save 1 cup of pasta water to use for sauce (it will help thicken it). Add butter/garlic mix, Parmesan, salt, pepper, cauliflower and ½ cup of pasta water to high powered blender or food processor (I used a Vitamix). Blend/process till smooth. (Use more pasta liquid if too thick).
- Combine frozen vegetables, chopped bacon, pasta, and 1/2 of sauce (can use more if desired). *Store leftover sauce in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for future use.