Under 250 calories #1: Spinach & Bacon Pasta

On my 5:2 post a few people said they’d be interested in seeing some healthy eating recipes. 250 calories is a low calorie meal whether you’re fasting or not, as I write this, I’ve just cooked and ate this, I’m not on a fast day, but I feel so full.

 This one is one of my favourites which has been adapted slightly from a 5:2 recipe book which I’ve purchased (5:2 Diet Photos).

bacon-and-spinach-wholewheat-pasta


Ingredients (per portion)

  • 30g Spinach (6 calories)
  • 40g Mushrooms (5 calories)
  • 70g Cherry Tomatoes (12 calories)
  • 40g Back Bacon (trim fat) (61 calories)
  • 80g Wholewheat Spaghetti (when unboiled) (128 calories)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Fresh Thyme

Total Calories per portion: 212

Optional Additions

  • 5 Tablespoons of Passata (10 calories)
  • Garlic Clove (8 calories)

 

Method

  1. Weigh out all your vegetables before you start, this is fairly quick to cook, so you’ll want everything ready to go. Slice your mushrooms and chop your thyme.
  2. Get your wholewheat spaghetti on the boil, using boiling water from the start should mean that it takes around 12-14 minutes to cook
  3. Put your cherry tomatoes in the oven at about 180 celcius for around 6 minutes total
  4. In a ceramic pan (explained in the tips), put in your bacon, wait for it to start to brown off before adding your mushrooms, and leave for a few minutes until they look done.
  5. Depending on how you prefer your spinach, raw or steamed, Steam by putting in a sieve over the boiling pan of pasta for the last 2-3 minutes before the pasta is ready, this is enough to heat it up, and make it wilt, but not make it taste too mushy.
  6. Drain the pasta and put back into the pan, put in all the other ingredients into your pan (don’t forget the thyme), give your tomatoes a little prod so the juices start to escape and serve!

 

Tips

  • Keeping the calories down: I fried my bacon using a ceramic pan. Ceramic pan = no need for using any fat as it doesn’t stick. Grill, oven cook
  • To halve or not to halve: You can halve your tomatoes before you put them in the oven, which is great for adding in the thyme with it, but they do dry out slightly. Personally I prefer to add them in whole, and when you come to mix everything together at the end is to give them a light prod so that they burst, the extra juiciness will run over the spaghetti.
  • No plain jane: If you aren’t a fan of plain pasta, add a few table spoons of pasatta, with a garlic clove, put in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up together and infuse the garlic with the tomatoes, before stirring in. because there is so little of it, it doesn’t need to get too hot as the pasta will keep it warm, but just enough for a quick blast through the microwave. A small amount will be enough to coat the pasta but not drown out all the other fresh flavours.
  • Be patient with your pasta: The first few times we’ve ate this I didn’t really like it, we’d never cooked with wholewheat spaghetti before and found it drier and crunchier, that’s because it takes longer to cook – when thoroughly cooked it tastes nicer than regular pasta.
  • Cut the calories even more: make courgetti to replace the pasta in the recipe, 2 small courgettes will give you around about the same amount of grammes of food, and will only be around 41 calories. It’s really tasty too. Just boil the courgetti for a few 2-3 minutes (any more and the high water content begins to mean it will turn to mush). Prepare for courgetti recipes coming up – I love courgettes (the one food I would choose if I could only pick one), so this is literally my favourite thing I’ve discovered.

The book uses 100g of tomatoes and 50g of pasta, I swap to 80g of pasta and 70g of pasta – the weight balances out, and is much more filling, is very similar in calories. The other way round is great for healthy lunch time meal.

I hope you enjoyed that post, let me know if you try! When I started the 5:2 I never thought I would be eating bacon and pasta on fast days!


Rachael

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