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healthy pasta carbonara on a plate with a fork

Healthier Pasta Carbonara

Healthy pasta carbonara made with turkey bacon, angel hair pasta, plenty of pecorino or parmesan for a creamy sauce, and peas. You'll love this easy, lightened up version of traditional pasta carbonara for date night and weeknight dinners!
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Pasta
Keyword healthy pasta carbonara
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 435 kcal
Author Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano or grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces turkey bacon (or regular bacon)
  • 10 ounces dry angel hair pasta or spaghetti, feel free to use gluten free or whole grain pasta
  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed (add more peas if you like them!)
  • Freshly ground salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add eggs, cheese and garlic powder to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  2. Add bacon to a large skillet or pan and place over medium heat, cook bacon on both sides until golden brown. If the pan starts to smoke at any point, simply lower the heat. I always cook my bacon on medium to medium low heat. 
  3. Once bacon is done, blot with a paper towel to absorb excess grease, then chop into bite sized pieces and set aside. There shouldn’t be any bacon grease in the pan unless you used regular pork bacon. If you used regular bacon, drain bacon grease from pan, leaving only about 1-3 teaspoons grease in the pan. You’ll be using this pan for the pasta so remove it from the heat and the hot burner and set on aside on the stovetop.
  4. While the bacon is cooking, place a large pot of water over high heat and add in a generous amount of salt. Once the water boils, stir in the angel hair pasta and cook until al dente, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Once pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and set aside, then drain remaining pasta in a colander. IMMEDIATELY transfer pasta to the pan you cooked the bacon in; the pan might still be warm but it should not be over any direct heat. 
  6. Slowly stir in the egg and parmesan mixture and use tongs to coat the pasta with the mixture. The warmth of the pasta will help cook the eggs and make them nice and creamy to coat the pasta. The eggs should not be curdled or chunky. Add in a little bit of the reserved pasta water if necessary to make the sauce creamier. I usually only add a tablespoon or two or the reserved pasta water, but it depends on how creamy you like your pasta!
  7. Give the pasta another stir, then add in 1/4 teaspoon salt, LOTS of freshly ground black pepper, the chopped bacon and thawed peas. Stir again to coat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Add red pepper flakes if you like a little bit of heat. Enjoy! Serves 4. Garnish with extra cheese and dig in!

Recipe Notes

If you want to use spinach instead of peas, I recommend cooking 6-8 cups of spinach in a skillet with a little olive oil until it's completely wilted. You can do this after you cook the bacon, or you can do this before you start the recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Healthier Pasta Carbonara
Amount Per Serving (1 serving (based on 4))
Calories 435 Calories from Fat 91
% Daily Value*
Fat 10.1g16%
Saturated Fat 2.9g18%
Carbohydrates 58.2g19%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3.1g3%
Protein 30.9g62%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.