You don’t need to be keto to enjoy this pasta showcasing a low-carb alternative to regular noodles — you’ll see why zoodles are a delicious healthy, vegan vehicle for pasta sauce and get a taste of the keto diet along the way. Buy pre-packaged “zoodles,” or zucchini noodles, or use a vegetable peeler to create thin, long zucchini strips and try the recipe.
Working with Keto-Mojo to develop their free recipe library gave me a solid understanding of how and why the keto diet works — if you eliminate most carbs from your diet and eat mostly fat and moderate protein, your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs. It also enlightened me to the fact that contrary to popular belief, you can eat lots of vegetables on a keto diet and stay in ketosis — when your body, starved of carbs, transforms fat to ketones to burn as energy.
The secret is knowing the right vegetables to turn to, and zucchini is definitely a favorite. High in water content and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals but low in carbs, it’s great grilled, sauteed, or shaved or “spiralized” into long, raw pasta-like curls and used as a substitute for regular pasta.
This keto variation on classic pasta carbonara leverages all of the traditional pasta sauce ingredients, including eggs and olive oil. In fact, both eggs and olive oil are stars of a keto diet; eggs are packed with good fats and protein and olive oil is pure good fat. Pecorino and bacon are also high in fat, high in protein, and low in carbs, while zucchini takes the place of traditional, carb-heavy pasta. When combined, these ingredients don’t only have ideal macro ratios, they also taste delicious.
Keto Pasta Carbonara
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 slices thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
12 oz (about 2 cups) raw zucchini spirals/noodles
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, olive oil, water, half of the cheese, and all of the salt and pepper.
Add the bacon to a cold saute pan, heat it over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring a few times, until it starts to brown and is crispy-chewy, 4 to 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add the zucchini, and stir to coat and warm, 2 minutes.
Add the egg mixture, stirring constantly to evenly coat. If needed, add a little more water to make the sauce creamier.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, top with the remaining pecorino cheese, and enjoy.
PHOTO CREDIT: Erin Ng