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Calorie Cutting Carbonara

We could argue until the cows come home as to how to cook the perfect carbonara; cream, mushrooms, onion, garlic and various other things are frequently found in 'Britalian' versions of this classic. I'm a purist, so for an actual proper spaghetti carbonara you would only find me using spaghetti, pancetta, eggs, a bit of butter and lots and lots of cheese. But, this would amount to approximately 900 calories of indulgence and that is not what I am about at the moment. So, here is a completely bastardised but pretty good duplicate for half the calorie clout. The unset egg simply would not work with this recipe, so instead I've had to perk it up with a few non-traditional ingredients. The body of the sauce is made using avocado... sounds weird, tastes genuinely delicious and so creamy its unbelievable - Rich even said he would happily eat this every single night, and this is a man devoted to proper carbonara. Omitting the cheese and bacon this would actually be vegan, that's how saintly this is. Give it a try and let me know what you think:

Ingredients (serves two):

1 large avocado, very ripe

About 10 mushrooms, sliced

2 garlic cloves

6 good quality smoked streaky bacon rashers, cubed (used because far fewer calories than pancetta. Check your bacon is British and is not pumped full of water if buying from a supermarket as I doubt the recipe will work - would make it too wet)

2-3 large courgettes

30g pecorino or parmesan, very finely grated. Weigh your cheese, dont estimate it as this is a big calorie hiding place.

Tbsp olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice


I now have a spiralizer with which to make my courgetti, which is excellent. If you do not, you'll have to do it the laborious way which is explained here. Set aside your courgetti or courgette ribbons on a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any moisture.

Make the sauce by blending one of the garlic cloves with the olive oil in a food processor. Add the scooped out avocado and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy.

Using a large dry pan, add your sliced mushrooms. Once they get a bit of heat to them add in the bacon, which will provide enough fat to continue cooking the mushrooms, and once crispy add in the other garlic clove (chopped) taking care not to burn it as there is nothing worse than that acrid taste. Toss the courgetti through before finally adding the sauce on a low heat just to warm it through - you do not want to cook the avocado. To serve you can feel free to add plenty of the (weighed) grated cheese, safe in the knowledge the whole dish is only 450 cals. We had ours with a little rocket and tomato salad. New fave dish.

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