It’s Transformation Tuesday, which means another recipe creation that transforms a traditional non-paleo dish into a paleo meal anyone can love! Today’s target: Pasta Carbonara. I was going to make this with nicely spiraled zucchini noodles (zoodles) and some grilled chicken, but I just didn’t get my act together this weekend.
So instead, I made plain old pasta carbonara with what I call zucchini fettucine (read: wide, thin slices of zucchini made with a regular veggie peeler) and plenty of crispy bacon.
Despite the lack of chicken and fancy zoodles, this was super delicious! I’ll definitely be making this again, and will try adding some other veggies to it (I’m thinking asparagus and/or peas).
To be honest, I thought making a carbonara dish was going to be a bit more of a challenge. I always think of it as cream-based with lots of cheese, and while you can definitely make the dish this way, the real key to a great carbonara, it turns out, is eggs!
The other key to a good carbonara: patience! This sauce is a “low and slow” kind of thing, and if you try to cook the sauce too quickly, you’ll be eating zoodles with scrambled eggs on top. It would probably still taste great (because, bacon), but it won’t be carbonara! So take your time, people!
(**Note: if you can tolerate dairy, I do think this would be great with some grated romano cheese on top! I recommend romano because it’s typically made with goat or sheep’s milk and both animals are usually grass-fed.)
Here’s how you can make this in your own kitchen (makes 1 large or 2 smaller size portions):
- 2 strips bacon, diced
- 3 zucchini (summer squash would also work well)
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (if you can tolerate dairy, heavy cream would also work)
- 2.5 tsp arrowroot starch (potato starch would also work)
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk, whisked
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 stalk chopped fresh green onion (optional, for garnish)
1. Cook the diced bacon in a medium sauté pan until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain any excess fat, leaving about 1-2 tbsp of bacon pat in the pan.
2. Turn your zucchini into noodles. This can be done with a simple veggie peeler, making thin, fettucine-like shapes, or can be done with a julienne cutter or spiralizer. Over medium-high heat, cook the zoodles in the bacon fat , stirring, until they are cooked through and slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, arrowroot starch, garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine fully. Then, place the saucepan over low heat and warm up. You want the milk to be hot, but not boiling. While the milk is heating up, whisk together the eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Once the milk is heated through, slowly add the mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly. The key is to gradually eat the eggs so they don’t start scrambling.
4. Return the egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and add in about half of the chopped basil and half of the cooked bacon. Continue to cook the sauce over low heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens and becomes very creamy. This took me 5-10 minutes. It is a slow process and you don’t want to go too quickly! Once again, we are trying to avoid scrambling the eggs!
5. Once the sauce has reached your desired thickness, and resembles a typical alfredo-type sauce, pour the sauce over the zoodles. Top the dish with the remaining basil, bacon and green onions, and enjoy!
This was a great meal that was simple to make but so delicious! It’s filled with healthy fats that will keep you full for long after the meal. If you try this out, let me know what you think!