Zucchini carbonara is a keto-friendly twist on the classic Italian pasta dish. The zucchini noodles, or "zoodles," are sautéed with crispy bacon, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper to create a creamy and flavorful low-carb meal. It's a quick and easy option for a satisfying dinner or lunch.
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Our keto zucchini carbonara is a low-carb version of the rich Italian pasta. The humble zucchini is transformed into noodles to represent spaghetti, while bacon, eggs, parmesan, and black pepper create a gorgeous sauce to coat every strand of zucchini. The saltiness of bacon and parmesan makes this dish feel luxurious and rich, with next to no carbs in sight.
Garnishing the zucchini carbonara with a handful of freshly chopped chives gives a visually stunning contrast of vibrant green against the creamy zoodles. Our keto carbonara can go from pan to table in under 30 minutes, making it the perfect recipe for a quick and satisfying weekday dinner or a luxurious weekend lunch.
Utilizing zucchini for the noodles is a great way to keep the total carbohydrates down without missing out on the texture and nature of spaghetti. Our recipe requires only a handful of ingredients, so it’s the perfect fall-back dinner if it’s nearing the end of the week and you don’t have too much left in the fridge or pantry.
Zucchini Carbonara Ingredients
- Zucchini: The versatility of zucchini makes it a wonderful ingredient in keto cooking. It can be sliced, roasted, shredded, and spiralized to create a huge variety of dishes. It’s the perfect vegetable for a keto carbonara as the creamy sauce can easily stick to the noodles, so every mouthful is as delicious as the last.
- Bacon: It’s impossible to ignore the mouthwatering smell and salty taste of bacon, and it’s a key ingredient for a carbonara. Cooking the bacon until it’s golden and crispy brings a welcomed crunch of texture to go alongside the silky smooth zucchini noodles.
- Eggs: There are generally a few different reasons for the creaminess of a traditional carbonara, and one of these is the addition of eggs. Adding a couple of eggs to a carbonara thickens the sauce, creating a velvety texture perfect for clinging to the zoodles.
- Parmesan Cheese: Grated parmesan whisked with eggs and black pepper is a no-brainer for echoing the traditional flavors of carbonara. The parmesan cheese melts into the sauce well, but if you don’t have any to hand, use a similar hard cheese able to act in the same way under heat.
- Black Pepper: Italians love using a healthy amount of cracked black pepper in a carbonara, and our keto zucchini version would be lost without it. Black pepper has a robust, woody flavor that works wonders with crispy bacon, fresh chives, and the silky cheesy carbonara sauce.
- Fresh Chives: Garnishing dishes is the work of seconds, but it brings a little extra beauty to each plate. Fresh chives have a subtle garlic note that gently hums in the background of the carbonara so as not to take away from the cheese, egg, and bacon flavors.
Making our keto zucchini carbonara requires little time and effort. In under 30 minutes, you’ll have piping hot Italian-inspired keto carbonara on the table for the whole family to enjoy. As the carbonara keeps well, any leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for a tasty and convenient lunch the following day!
Step one: On medium heat, warm a large skillet and cook the slices of bacon until they are crispy. Gently take the cooked bacon out from the pan and set the slices aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
Step two: Add the zucchini noodles into the skillet with the bacon fat and sauté them for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened but still al dente. Avoid overcooking the zucchini as it can become soft and mushy, unable to hold the noodle shape.
Step three: Take a small bowl and whisk together the eggs, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Move the zucchini noodles to one side of the skillet and pour the egg mixture into the opposite side.
Step four: Allow the mixture to cook for a few seconds until the edges start to set before using a spatula to quickly combine the zucchini noodles with the egg mixture. Toss everything around until all of the noodles are coated well, and the parmesan has melted.
Step five: The residual heat will cook the eggs without scrambling them, so the skillet can be removed from the heat once the cheese is melted. Off the heat, the crispy bacon can be chopped and added to the carbonara.
Step six: Serve the keto zucchini carbonara hot and garnished with finely chopped fresh chives.
Zucchini Noodles Without A Spiralizer: The ideal way to achieve zucchini noodles is by using a spiralizer, which creates even strands with little to no effort involved! If you don’t have a spiralizer to hand, use a vegetable peeler instead and create thin ribbons, which will also work well in the carbonara.
Keto Vegetarian Carbonara: Bacon is the only ingredient that needs to be omitted from the keto carbonara to make this recipe suitable for vegetarians. To ensure the carbonara remains satisfying and filling, mushrooms are a good replacement for the bacon. Chestnut mushrooms, in particular, work well as they hold their shape and have a subtle flavor that works well with the parmesan and black pepper.
Keto Broccoli Carbonara: Spiralizing zucchini produces lusciously long noodles, but other low-carb vegetables can work well as pasta replacements in this recipe, too. Broccoli can be transformed into noodles with the help of a spiralizer, but like most vegetable noodles, be sure not to overcook them as they tend to lose their form the longer they are cooked.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Zucchini A Good Substitute For Pasta?
Full of fiber, zucchini is a great vegetable to use in place of pasta, and after spiralizing it, you’ll hardly notice the difference. Once paired with a tasty sauce, zucchini noodles can become part of whatever pasta dish you desire, from carbonara to bolognese and more!
How Do You Keep Zucchini Noodles From Getting Mushy?
Overcooked zucchini noodles can become mushy, so only letting them cook for a couple of minutes is the best way to avoid this. If, when spiralizing the zucchini, the strands are quite moist, draining the noodles can be helpful in removing additional liquid that could otherwise make them go mushy in the pan.
How Do You Make Keto Carbonara Creamy?
There are many ways to create a creamy keto carbonara, from heavy cream and milk to whipping cream and lots of cheese. Our keto zucchini carbonara is velvety smooth from a couple of eggs cooked into the sauce and a ½ cup of parmesan cheese that melts down, thickening and enriching the carbonara.
Zucchini Carbonara Recipe
- 2 medium Zucchinis spiralized into noodles or peeled with a vegetable peeler into thin ribbons
- 4 slices Bacon
- 2 medium Eggs
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese grated
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Fresh Chives chopped, to garnish
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
- In the same skillet with the bacon fat, add the zucchini noodles. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened but still al dente. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become mushy.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper.
- Push the zucchini noodles to one side of the skillet and pour the egg mixture into the other side. Let it cook for a few seconds until the edges start to set.
- Using a spatula, quickly combine the zucchini noodles with the egg mixture. Toss until the noodles are coated, and the cheese is melted. The residual heat will cook the eggs without scrambling them.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the crispy bacon.
- Divide the Zucchini Noodle Carbonara into serving bowls. Garnish with fresh chives. Serve immediately while hot!