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Healthy Baked Feta Pasta with Shrimps

TikTok, YouTube, Instagram … The internet is full of videos and recipes for the baked feta pasta. And with good reason! Because this dish not only tastes delicious, but is also made quickly and easily. But unfortunately it is not the healthiest recipe in this world. That’s why today I’m showing you a healthy baked feta pasta which provides great nutritional values and tastes at least as good as the original.

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a bowl of baked feta pasta with shrimps and eggplant served with grated parmesan cheese on top

The Global Food Trend of 2021

The feta pasta is truly a giant food trend this year. There are countless baked feta pasta videos circulating around at YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram. And contrary to what the dish might suggest, it doesn’t originate in the Mediterranean area. Instead, this trend is actually from Finland. That’ s the place where the first people came up with the idea of baking feta with oil and tomatoes and serving this sauce with pasta. In the meantime, however, the dish is known all over the world. Thanks to social media.

And yes, I’m a little late getting on board with this trend. The videos about it have been circulating for months now. So I’m sure you’ve heard about this new dish already. And maybe you have already tried it. If so, you have certainly already become a huge fan of it. I mean it tastes good and is super simple to prepare! What’s not to love with that?

ingredient shot for this healthy feta pasta recipe: raw shrimps, cherry tomatoes, a block of feta cheese, fresh garlic, uncooked rigatoni pasta and one eggplant

3 Ingredients Are All You Need!

To make the famous baked feta pasta, you only need three ingredients. First, you’ll need some very fresh cherry tomatoes. Next, you’ll need a block of feta cheese. And last but not least, of course, some pasta. When it comes to pasta, you can choose whatever you like best. In addition, most recipes still use olive oil. But since we already have that one at home, we do not count it as one of the main ingredients. 🙂

If you’ve watched a few of these videos, you can see that there are two methods of preparation. In the first type, people only prepare the pasta sauce in the oven. Meanwhile, the pasta is cooked on the stove as usual. At the end, they mash up the cheese and tomatoes to form a creamy sauce and add the pasta.

The second type, on the other hand, is a kind of one-pot recipe. For this, the pasta is cooked in the oven, along with the cheese and tomatoes. Of course, this is even easier. But I think that variant 1 tastes much better. Because if you cook the pasta in the classic way using boiling water, it will be really al dente in the end. With the oven version you run the risk that the noodles are still half raw, while the cheese almost burns.

oven roasted tomatoes and feta cheese in a baking dish

How Healthy is this Food Trend?

Now that I’ve already told you how delicious this pasta is, I’d like to address the question of how healthy it is. The first thing to note is that the ingredients themselves are all healthy foods. However, they are also quite high in calories. This is because both feta and olive oil are quite calorie dense. At the same time, the dish doesn’t really contain a lot of vegetables. Sure, we have tomatoes in here. Still, that’s not that much for a whole meal. After all, the more vegetables, the better it is. Believe me, there’s never such a thing as eating too many veggies.

So, to make this baked feta pasta more wholesome, we can add some additional vegetables like the eggplant or maybe some spinach. Furthermore we can add some extra proteins like shrimps. And that’s what we are going to do today!

sautéed shrimps in a non-stick pan

Healthy baked Feta Pasta – A couple of ideas:

So, here are my favorite ideas on how to make this baked feta pasta a bit more wholesome. Firstly, you can always try is to increase the amount of veggies. Because the more vegetables a meal contains, the better. In addition, this has another advantage. If you have more vegetables in your meal, you need fewer carbohydrates to get full. With a large amount of veggies, 60 to 100g of pasta is easily enough to satiate the average adult.

And speaking of pasta. Another tip to make pasta healthier is to use whole wheat pasta. And this tip doesn’t just apply to the baked feta pasta. In my opinion, you should always go for whole grains whenever it’ possible. For us, that means simply using whole grain spaghetti or penne instead of the classic ones.

Last but not least, I would take a look at protein. As mentioned earlier, “classic” feta pasta is not particularly high in protein. But that can be changed quite easily as well. All you have to do is add an extra source of protein. For example, you can add some shrimp or chicken. And there you go, you’ve got a really protein-rich dish.

And some more ideas for a vegan and healthy version

Even if you eat vegan, you can cook yourself a healthy baked feta pasta. Nowadays, you can also find a vegan feta cheese in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. You can simply use it instead of the classic cheese. And for the protein, I would recommend tofu or lentil pasta. Pasta made from lentils or chickpeas has the advantage that it contains a lot of protein. So even if you eat vegan, you can conjure up a healthy baked feta pasta with these few tricks.

a baking dish with a creamy feta tomato sauce in it

My healthy baked feta pasta with shrimp and eggplant

I also implemented those tips I mentioned before to make a healthy but just as delicious version of the baked feta pasta with shrimps. So to increase the vegetable content, I choose eggplant. All you need to do, is to put it in the oven for about fifty minutes. And at the end, you can add the soft flesh to the sauce. That matches perfectly with the texture and taste of the sauce. Furthermore, I used whole wheat pasta, needless to say. They taste just as good, but keep me full much longer. And finally, I also added shrimps. Because on the one hand they provide additional protein. And on the other hand, they go perfectly with tomatoes and feta.

My conclusion about the baked feta pasta: It’s a must try!

In conclusion, all what is left for me to say is that baked feta pasta really deserves its hype. Of course, the original recipe is not the healthiest dish in this world. But with a few little tricks you can manage to turn it into a well-balanced meal. And this obviously doesn’t compromise on taste at all. On the contrary, I find this version even better than the original.

I hope you like my healthy baked feta pasta with shrimps and give it a try. If you want to see more healthy versions of classics or famous dishes, feel free to write it to me here or on Instagram. Aside that, I hope you have fun trying it out and I’ll see you for the next recipe,
Jules

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a bowl of baked feta pasta with shrimps served with an oven roasted eggplant

Healthy Baked Feta Pasta with Shrimp and Eggplant

Julia Schmitt
With this delicious recipe, you'll transform the 2021 TikTok trend into a well-balanced and healthy dish that tastes at least as good as the original
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine international
Servings 2 servings
Calories 512 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 ovenproof baking dish
  • 1 saucepan or pot
  • 1 non-stick pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 eggplant
  • 500 g cherry tomatoes (~18 oz)
  • 160 g fat reduced feta cheese (≈ 5.5 oz)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 120 g uncooked whole wheat pasta (≈ 4.5 oz)
  • 200 g king prawns (≈ 7 oz)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C or 400°F heat.
    Wash the eggplant, prick it all around with a fork, place it on a baking tray and put it in the preheated oven.
    eggplant on a baking sheet
  • After 20 minutes, wash the cherry tomatoes and put them in a baking dish. Mix with a teaspoon of oil and a little salt, then place the feta in the center of the baking dish. Lightly crush the garlic cloves with the heel of your hand or the flat side of a knife, remove the peel and add them to the tomatoes. Place the casserole dish in the oven alongside the eggplant for about 30 minutes.
    Process shot: cherry tomatoes, crushed garlic cloves and feta cheese in a baking dish
  • About 15 minutes before the time is up, bring the pasta water to a boil and cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
    cooked rigatoni pasta
  • Just before the end of the 30 minutes, sauté the shrimps with the remaining oil for about 2 minutes per side over medium-high heat.
    sautéed shrimps in a non-stick pan
  • Remove the baking dish and eggplant from the oven. Mash the tomatoes and feta with a fork to make a creamy sauce. Then cut the eggplant lengthwise, scrape out the flesh with a fork and add it to sauce.
    a baking dish with a creamy feta tomato sauce in it
  • Then mix in the shrimp and pasta, season with pepper and salt, and serve with basil if desired.

Notes

nutritional values per serving:
  • calories: 512 kcal
  • fat: 15 g
  • carbohydrates: 51.6 g
  • protein: 41 g
Keyword baked feta pasta

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