I have been experimenting with different kinds of pasta – many higher in protein than traditional wheat pasta and often more digestible. Some are made with pea protein, some use lentils, some other grains and one with A much reduced calorie content made with konjac flour (my version called them zero noodles – not quite accurate but you get the gist). Often basic high protein ones are still wheat based but have supplementation in the form of spelt, barley and oats or pea flour.
I don’t have a problem with digesting pasta but I know many WLS patients do so these variations may well bring pasta back onto the post-op menu where it has been missed. I have been trying them since I have been seduced by the higher protein content and the extra ‘bite’ they seem to have when cooked.
I had been searching for a recipe to cover virtually all of them in terms of suitability and I believe this one is a good all-rounder. It features a meat sauce – using beef but also bacon in a barbecue style sauce which is then enriched with some cheese and baked (with the pasta until golden and bubbly). It can be prepared well ahead of time and the whole dish can be frozen if liked. I prefer to make the sauce and freeze it and then cook the pasta freshly for assembly when I have the time but it works both ways.
I use smoky bacon for an enhanced barbecue flavour and top with half-fat hard cheese – you could use a smoked one to bring in more smokiness but it needs to melt well for a great gooey finish. I don’t think it needs any side dishes save a little salad but you could add cooked green vegetables in season if preferred. And you can of course still make this with ordinary pasta if you can tolerate and enjoy it.
ULTIMATE BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER HIGH PROTEIN PASTA BAKE
4 slices smoky bacon, trimmed of fat and chopped
450 g/1 lb extra lean minced/ground beef
1 onion, chopped
350 g/1½ cups passata (crushed tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup (or sugar free syrup)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp made mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp chopped dill pickles
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250 g protein pasta of choice (I used high protein penne)
100 g/4 oz reduced-fat hard cheese, broken or chopped into pieces
2 spring onions/scallions, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/gas 6.
- Place the bacon in a non-stick casserole and cook over a medium hear until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the beef and onion and cook for 5-10 minutes to brown and soften.
- Add the tomatoes and 350 ml/1½ cups water, tomato paste, soy sauce, syrup, paprika, mustard, garlic, pickles and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked bacon and stir well to mix. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15-20 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the packet instructions (until al dente) drain and set aside.
- Mix the pasta with the cooked sauce and transfer to a large baking dish. Gently stir in half of the cheese and sprinkle the remainder on top. Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly golden.
- Sprinkle with the spring onions to serve.
WLS PORTION: ½
* SUITABLE FOR FREEZING
CALORIES PER SERVING: 285
PROTEIN: 31.8 g
CARBOHYDRATE: 18.5 g (5.5 g sugars)
FAT: 8.9 g
Recipe and image © copyright of Bariatric Cookery (UK) Ltd