Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese with Greek Yogurt

Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

It’s the day before Christmas Eve. And like just about everyone else, I have a ginormous to-do list.

I’m supposed to be bagging up the biscotti and wrapping caramels.

Instead, I’m watching a disappointing football game (spoil it and tell me it gets better – I’m an entire half behind), trying to relax after hitting 6 or 7 stores in what will forever be known as the Great Cranberry Clusterdebacle of 2012, and wearing a shirt that smells like I burned 4 pieces of bacon at breakfast.

And that’s because I burned the bacon at breakfast.

Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

But I didn’t burn the bacon at lunch. And that was important because it was the last of the bacon in the house and there’s no way I’m stepping foot into another grocery store until December 26th. At least.

Bacon and Pea Macaroni & Cheese

Dress up homemade macaroni and cheese with crispy bacon and green peas.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz penne or macaroni pasta (I use Dreamfields)
  • 8 oz frozen peas
  • 4 thick slices of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek)
  • Dash of hot sauce
  • 4 oz cheddar, shredded
  • 4 oz fontina, shredded (or other melt-friendly cheese - not more cheddar)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium saute pan, cook the bacon to a crisp and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
  2. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions, until al dente.
  3. Add the peas to the pasta water in the last minute of cooking.
  4. Reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining the pasta and peas.
  5. Return the pasta and peas to pot.
  6. Add 1/4 cup pasta water (it must be hot), the yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
  7. Stir in remaining cheese, one small handful at a time to prevent clumping.
  8. Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin and melt the cheese sauce.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the bacon, mix well, and serve.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Information*
Calories: 425.3 | Fat: 15.5g | Fiber 12.4g | Protein 23.8g | Carbs 14.5g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 7

*Your nutritional count may vary based on the brands you’ve used. I use Dreamfields Pasta (because my dad is diabetic and can eat it without too much of a noticeable spike) and it has reduced impact on digestible carbs and might account for larger discrepancies in fiber and carbs per serving.

52 comments… add one

  • If it makes you feel any better, I decided to make homemade pasta this afternoon for me and my boyfriend. For lunch. And now I’m SO BEHIND. Sigh. I need to stress-eat some of this mac and cheese. STAT.

  • Definitely going to have to remember to make this after all the holiday craze.

  • I love that you added peas! It makes it seem french :)

  • Oh my gosh this looks delish! I want it right now!

  • thanks for the healthy alternative tip! I usually use full cream or mascarpone – greek yogurt sounds like a great alternative!!

    and stunning mouth watering photos by the way!

  • I like that you used greek yogurt. I just made some light mac and cheese with some reduced fat milk and corn starch. But I imagine the greek yogurt can help cut a lot of those calories. I’ll have to try this out.

  • Angelika

    gonna have to eat this 😉

  • Fab idea! Must try it! Hope that the rest of your christmas went smoothly without any burnt bits!

  • Anna

    Curious, why not cheddar cheese (I have sharp and mild on hand)? Will be trying this recipe.

    • The sauce doesn’t get creamy & smooth if you use more than half cheddar.

  • Hey Shawnda, you’re one of the few bloggers I follow who has great photography AND does a lot of dinner-y foods… how do you work it out? You’d cook, say, a turkey (!) in the morning just so you can shoot it in natural light?

    • Thank you! It really depends on how dark it is and how motivated I am :) For totally dark, I use a tripod and bounce the flash in my totally dark dining room (set focus, switch off auto focus, turn off lights, shoot). For times when there is still some usable light outside, I use a tripod and super slow shutter speed (no flash) next to a window. Weekends are my best friends right now – big, late lunches = dinnery foods with lots of pretty light available.

  • Made this for dinner last night. It was AMAZING! Next time I think i’ll add mushroom just to make it that much better. Thanks!

  • Ariana

    Thank you!!!!! For putting weight watchers points on this recipe 😀

  • Kelda

    This was delicious, buuuut, the WW points are WAY off. The cheese alone (8 oz divided by 4 servings) is 6 points…I made with turkey bacon and high fiber penne (Ronzoni Smart Taste) and it still came in at 11 points! As written, it must be closer to 15 or 20.

    • I use and recommend SparkRecipes for all calorie calculations. You’ll get some variation because of different brands (example: I use Dreamfields Pasta and Total Fage yogurt) or inexact measurements (I weigh everything – “bad” things like bacon down to the gram) but 7 points is most definitely accurate for this recipe.

  • Julie

    I am making this next week!

    Just fyi, I’m a Spark user, and I got 494 calories per serving, assuming 4 servings. I use center cut bacon which is 50 calories for 2 slices, 10oz of peas (since the boxes are usually 10oz), 2% Fage, Barilla whole grain penne, 4oz of shredded cheddar and 4oz of shredded mozzarella. Maybe the calorie difference is the type of pasta or the difference in cheeses? I also got 31 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat so I’m thinking it’s the type of cheeses I’m using that is causing the difference.

    511 calories is still great for me though, so I’m not complaining. Just wanted to back up your comment that different brands etc really can lead to some variations. It’s always a good idea to do your own building on a site like Sparkrecipes if that’s something that’s important to you (not you Shawnda, you meaning the reader in general). :)

  • Julie

    Oops I mean 494 calories is still great for me.

  • Sara

    Just made this tonight for dinner. It was delicious and husband approved. I found shredded Cabot cheddar on sale so I just used that instead of cheddar and fontina and of course I added a little extra cheese but it was reduced fat so it’s ok. Def a keeper in the recipe box!

  • Yum! My son will love this, thanks

  • I made this dish and it was fabulous.
    I added red peppers and black olives and sprinkled
    some peccarino cheese on top.

  • I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING!!! I’m adding this recipe to my recipe book.

  • Lisa

    I stumbled upon this on Pinterest and made it tonight!!! I used whole wheat penne, fat-free Greek yogurt, and half cheddar/half mozzarella cheese (and I probably used closer to 2-3 oz of each). I used Srichcha for the hot sauce and I used probably a little less than a tablespoon I’m thinking? It was SO good!!!! Will definitely be making again! Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  • Shannon

    Making this tonight, changing the Penne to Angel Hair and Fontina to Pepper Jack because it’s what I have. Hope it works out.

  • I ate this pasta with bacon and peas in Italy long time ago and I just loved it. I am so glad I found this recipe because I really want to make it this weekend. It is so delicious!

  • Paula Atkinson

    OMG!!! This is so good I am almost speechless!!! I am standing here eating it right out of the pot!! The only thing I did differently was that I used Havarti instead of Fontina because I couldn’t find Fontina in the store. I also used an entire 6 oz. container of the Greek yogurt only because I didn’t want to have to save the tony leftover bit. This is incredible & I will be making it again!! I served it w/leftover chicken & broccoli casserole but it could definitely be eaten by itself! :)

  • Hannah

    Think this would be good as a cold pasta salad? I just made it to have for dinner tonight and am contemplating heating it back up or not, any thoughts?

    Thanks!

    • I think it would be better hot… but that’s just my personal preference.

  • Gennifer

    This was GREAT!! I actually put shrimp in as well and it was sooo yummy!! (Not healthy but I cooked the shrimp in a little bit of the bacon grease and some “seafood” seasoning) thanks for sharing. My 3yr old ate it up!!

  • Jessica

    I was planning to make this tonight but can I use regular plain yogurt instead of greek? I don’t have greek on hand.

    • Yes – I use Greek simply because of the extra protein. But plain will be fine.

  • Heather

    I did not think this would please my manly man husband, but it did! I used whole wheat pasta and there was enough cheese and bacon in this that he didn’t even mind! Great recipe. I did add a little cream cheese and flour because I thought it was a little too watery, and it worked out well.

  • Magen

    Maybe I did something wrong, but all my cheese clumped together with the peas. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • The pasta water should be hot hot and the cheese should go into the pot in batches. I make some variation of it once a week and don’t usually have any problems.

  • Wendy

    I made this a few days ago. Such an easy recipe and the kids loved it! A total hit in our home. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lisa

    I found this on Pinterest and made it for dinner last night, using swiss as the second cheese. It gave it a fondue flavor. And my 7 year old asked for seconds. Thank you for sharing.

  • jessemi

    Can I skip the yogurt, really not a fan, if so what can I use as a substitute?
    Thanjs

  • Siimone

    We loved this in our home and we added shredded rotisseri chicken…so yummy! Thanks for the recipe!!

  • Angelica K.

    Just wanted to FYI…I plugged this into the Weight Watcher’s recipe builder tonight using all the exact ingredients and measurements, and it came out to 13 points plus per serving. Not sure how the 7 pts was calculated, but just thought I’d give a heads up! 😉 Regardless, I am looking forward to trying it!!

  • Kristie

    Just made this with goat cheese instead of cheddar/other and it’s holy cow YUM!! So easy, too. Thanks for the great post!

  • tiffany

    I made this over the weekend, it is a keeper. I even forgot to add the greek yogurt and it still turned out great. I subbed prosciutto for the bacon, as the hubby doesn’t care for bacon. I think the yogurt would have helped with some of the stringiness of the cheese, but still totally worth it. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Tangi

    Just finished making this…so good! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Lin

    I made this exactly as stated, and I didn’t love it…I think it might have been too much yogurt? Any suggestions? I’d like to try this again.

  • Tina T

    I am going to try this, and while I agree with some of the comments regarding actual calories being a bit higher (I used Calorie Count’s recipe builder), I got 483 which isn’t too far off and not a major concern. However I must say the fiber content stated looks WAY off. There is no way this recipe has over 12 grams of fiber per serving. Even if you use whole wheat pasta you wouldn’t come close to this number. The only ingredients that would contain fiber are the pasta and peas but both are not considered high fiber by any means.

  • Cheryl

    This is really good with Asiago cheese also.

  • This was excellent! It was so good that I featured it on my blog! Thanks for the inspiration!

    xx,
    Cassie
    http://floatingendless.blogspot.com/

  • So I tried this with Gemelli pasta, and it turned out fairly good, but the recipe as is is thoroughly lacking in flavor.

    I used Colby/Jack instead of Fontina, and maybe the Fontina cheese gives it a bit more bite. In any event, I added way more hot sauce than the recipe specified (probably 10 dashes, maybe 20), and I added onion flakes. Since I am not counting calories, the next time I plan to add a couple more slices of bacon, as the distribution is minimal.

    Otherwise, great idea for a lighter version of Mac ‘n Cheese.

  • Stefanie

    This was delicious. Hard to stop eating it… But once you let it settle, you realize you’re quite full :) Ultimate comfort food. Very tasty

  • Emily

    Just made this tonight and while I had high hopes, it was sort of a disappointment. The flavors were good but like another poster, the cheese clumped to the peas and did not melt at all. And I followed the directions to a tee (my pasta water was hot, hot, hot; added the cheese a bit at a time; used cheddar and fontina, etc.). Not sure what the problem is. Might try it again as I really liked the flavor combination. Thanks!

  • Baird

    Any tips on helping the cheese melt well? This was just an epic fail with chunks of cheese in the middle of the pot and not creamy in the lease bit. Do I just have to buy specific brands? I used a shredded cheddar (store brand) and a nice havarti cheese. Quite a few bucks down the drain with how this turned out.

    • Does Havarti melt really well? Cheddar doesn’t, which is why I cut my mac & cheese with Fontina or White American – both of those melt smoothly, like a dream. Otherwise, splashes of really hot pasta water tossed/stirred with the “easy-to-melt” grated cheeses has always turned out.

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