Mean Green Carbonara

Spaghetti carbonara. Pasta, parmesan and eggs. Pure comfort food. What's not to like? Well for one thing, it's rich, heavy on carbs and doesn't give your body much to work with in terms of vitamins and minerals. 

Just take a look at this BBC recipe. One serving contains around 900 calories, roughly 100 grams of carbs, 40 grams of fat and less than 4 grams of fiber. Yikes. While traditional recipes don't include cream like this one, it's a popular addition to the dish in many homes, restaurants and frozen dinners.

But you don't have to load up on empty carbs to enjoy pasta, cheese and egg. Adding fiber-filled veggies not only cuts the calories per serving, you'll find that you are full sooner and stay that way longer. Better still, your body gets more bang for its buck. This version includes broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms. 

Broccoli is pretty much one of your heavy weights in terms of the healthiest foods. It’s rich in fiber, vitamin A, C, E, K and B6 as well as potassium, folate and riboflavin. It has a LONG LIST of health benefits: promotes detoxification (phytonutrients), helps regulate blood sugar (fiber and chromium), prevents heart disease (lutein), fights high blood pressure (potassium) and lowers cholesterol, boost your immune system, improves eye health (carotenoids), act as an anti-inflammatory agent, which helps against cardiovascular diseases and allergies, and can decrease your risk of cancer (read more, here).

Zucchini is particularly great for those looking to manage their weight. It's a high volume, low calorie food that provides a lot of vitamin A & C to stimulate your immune system. One cup of it cooked is under 30 calories and gives you 40% of your daily vitamin A and a good dose of fiber. 

Mean Green Carbonara 

Serves 2-3.    |    Total Time: 35 min.


250 grams (1 package) cheese and spinach tortellini or roughly 3 servings of any type of noodles
Olive oil
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed
1 zucchini, diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 eggs
½ cup parmesan
¼ cup cream (optional)
Salt & pepper
Fresh parsley & basil (garnish)


1.  In a small bowl, whisk eggs, cream (optional) and cheese together, season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

2.  Boil water, add salt and cook tortellini or noodles. 

 3.  While they are cooking, heat a large nonstick pan to medium heat, add olive oil and sauté mushrooms until they give off their liquid and start to brown. Add zucchini and cook for an addition 2 to 3 minutes or until zucchini becomes soft. Add broccoli and drained pasta to pan. 

4.  Turn down heat and pour egg mixture over pasta and vegetables, tossing ingredients until everything is coated and egg has cooked (approx. 2 minutes). Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs and parmesan.

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