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Zucchini Carbonara With Bacon Recipe

It's the perfect swap that still lets you get your pasta fix in.
Zucchini Carbonara With Bacon RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Spaghetti carbonara is the Italians’ take on bacon and eggs. It’s comfort food at its finest: simple, unpretentious, soul-nourishing. The only problem is that a pile of bacon-strewn pasta won’t win any nutrition awards. Add to that the fact that most American restaurants add heavy cream to carbonara—a huge no-no in Italy—and things get even worse. To lighten the dish, we’ve added a good amount of zucchini, which is cut in long, thin ribbons to mimic the shape of the pasta and help you cut back on the overall quantity of noodles. Beyond cutting calories, though, it adds a nutty sweetness to this classic for a healthy, hearty upgrade.

Nutrition: 370 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 960 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

10 oz spaghetti
6 strips bacon, cut into 1⁄2″ pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1  large zucchini, sliced into thin ribbons
2  cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 eggs
Pecorino or Parmesan for grating
1 handful chopped fresh parsley

How to Make It

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (usually about 30 seconds to a minute less than the package instructions recommend).
  3. While the pasta cooks, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.
  6. Discard all but a thin film of the fat from the pan.
  7. Add the onion, zucchini, and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and lightly browned.
  8. Stir back in the bacon and season with a bit of salt and plenty of coarse black pepper.
  9. Drain the pasta, using a coffee cup to save a few ounces of the cooking water.
  10. Add the pasta directly to the sauté pan and toss to coat.
  11. Stir in enough of the pasta water so that a thin layer of moisture clings to the noodles.
  12. Remove from the heat and crack the two eggs directly into the pasta, using tongs or two forks to toss for even distribution.
  13. Divide the pasta among four warm bowls or plates and top with grated cheese and parsley.

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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