Pack Extra Protein Into Your Pasta Sauce With This Clever Egg Hack

Pasta dishes, like our weeknight-friendly creamed corn pasta, are usually carbohydrate-heavy. There are about 38 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein per cup of cooked pasta, but there's an easy way to pack extra protein into your pasta sauce using a clever trick that involves an egg. After all, each large egg adds about 6 grams of protein to your diet.

This egg trick mirrors how we cook our simple spaghetti carbonara and even our breakfast carbonara recipe. Essentially, you're making a sauce creamy and thick with the addition of an egg. Instead of mixing an egg with parmesan cheese and then tempering the mixture with hot pasta water, you mix an egg with homemade or store-bought pasta sauce until smooth. Add hot pasta water to the mixture a spoonful at a time and mix until well incorporated and emulsified, like how you would make carbonara sauce. Finally, cook the pasta in the sauce with the heat off. You want a high-protein, thickened sauce, but you don't want the eggs to cook or curdle.

Selecting your sauce

This trick likely works with any sauce but may taste and work better with sauces that are meant to be white, cheesy, or creamier, such as pesto, vodka, or alfredo sauces. With marinara and tomato-based sauces that aren't meant to be thick and creamy, whisking in an egg may not be the best texture-wise and taste-wise for your dish. Now, if you're unsure where to start with pasta sauces, we recommend checking out this refresher where we explain the differences between 26 types of pasta sauce.

Of course, there are other ways you can pack extra protein into your pasta. For those who can't eat eggs (or prefer not to), you can mix a little plain protein powder into hot pasta sauce, though the result won't be as smooth or creamy as it would be had you mixed in an egg. With ramen, it's common to add peanut butter to the broth. And, if mixing a raw egg with sauce is not your thing for pasta, you can always add fried eggs to your pasta dishes instead.