Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara (Paleo)

Zucchini noodles with healthy dairy-free carbonara sauce.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

You’re never going to believe the trickery that went into these noodles. I made cream-less, cheese-less pasta carbonara using cauliflower of all things, wha whaaaa?! Okay, I guess using cauliflower to make a creamy sauce isn’t that revolutionary…in fact, we’ve done it multiple times on TRR, but healthifying carbonaaaaahra was a bit of an ego inflator for this girl right here.

Let’s back up. In case you’re unfamiliar with pasta carbonara, it is an Italian classic made by cooking up guanciale (or pancetta, bacon or other fatty meat), then whisking up eggs, cheese, and cream on the stove top into a ridonkulously sinful sauce. Pasta is then tossed in this sauce of dreams and served with that tasty meat. So to lighten the thing up, we’re cutting out some of the eggs, and all uh-duh cheese and cream, to be replaced with half a dang head of cauliflower. It’s fool’s gold, I tell ya.

But we keep the fatty meat, because: duh.

 Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

The sauce requires a lot of steps, but don’t worry: we’ve got pictures to guide us.

So here’s what we do for that cauli sauce I’ve been telling you about:

We steam up half a large head of cauliflower, then stick it in a blender. #SteamShot:

 Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

We gather our guanciale, pancetta or whatever fat-tabulous meat we’re using. I used thick-cut bacon. We cube up the meat, cook it in a skillet, then stick it on a plate.

 Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

Because we have all this delicious bacon fat for the cooking, we use it to saute our onion and garlic.

 Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

Stick said sauteed onion and garlic in the blender with the steamed cauli, along with a few egg yolks and some almond milk. We blend. We’re golden.

 Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

We heat the spiralized zucchini noodles in the same skillet we used to cook the bacon. Cook for just 2 to 3 minutes until the noodles are just slightly softened, but still super al dente.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

Then we add the cauliflower carbonara sauce to the skillet with the zucchini noodles and continue cooking until the whole mixture is steamy, hot, and thick, about 5 minutes. Since we have cooked bacon bits, we serve the zucchini carbonara with the cooked bacon.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

And that’s all she wrote! It may sound complicated at first, but it’s simple once you get the hang of it. And the whole meal is gluten-free and paleo-friendly!

As a side note, I’ve been collecting spiralizers the way my dad collects postage stamps, no joke. My newest spiralizer: the Common Sense Goods spiral slicer.

The folks at Common Sense Goods were kind enough to offer 25 of my readers 60% off on their spiralizer. The first 25 folks to purchase a spiralizer will receive this promotion. Simply use the promo code: VJG5JXQJ at checkout.

Spiralize up some zucchini and enjoy the this healthy pasta carbonara!

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara (Paleo)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Julia
Recipe updated 3/31/2015
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Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 large zucchini squash spiralized
  • ½ large head cauliflower steamed
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon or 4 to 6 ounces guanciale or pancetta
  • ½ large red or yellow onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper optional
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the tip and tail off the zucchini squash and use a spiralizer to make noodles. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Steam the cauliflower for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Place the cauliflower in a blender.
  3. Chop the bacon and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crispy, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Add the chopped onion to the skillet with the bacon drippings and saute until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the sauteed onion and garlic to the blender with the cauliflower, along with the egg yolks, almond milk, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Blend until completely smooth.
  6. Heat the zucchini noodles in the skillet you used to cook the bacon (add a small amount of oil if necessary) over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower carbonara sauce to the skillet with the zucchini pasta and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Note: If the sauce is thicker than desired, add a tablespoon or two of additional unsweetened almond milk.
  7. Serve zucchini carbonara with the cooked bacon.

Recipe Notes

If you end up with more cauliflower sauce than you need, you can either spiralize another zucchini or save the sauce for later uses. Just be sure to heat the sauce up before saving it, since there are raw egg yolks in it.

Use the cauliflower carbonara sauce recipe for any and all of your favorite pasta dishes!

Dairy-Free Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo

Dairy-Free Zucchini Carbonara - a healthful lightened up carbonara recipe made with cauliflower #glutenfree #dairyfree #paleo #zoodles

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Comments

  1. Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

    Would you believe I’ve never had carbonara? And I call myself an Italian, pssh.

    Using cauliflower in place of dairy is a brilliant idea! I’m sure the bacon grease gives it amazing flavor too, duh. 😉

    It looks like creamy low-carb perfection!!

    Reply
  2. Shirley

    We are going to love this dish! I can’t wait to try it. Carlo will like the vegyness along with his fatty meat!

    Reply
  3. Wei

    Saw your post on Foodgawker and clicked on it because it looked delicious! Just ordered the Common Sense Goods spiralizer using the promo code. Thank you!! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Sasha

    Julia, this looks AMAZING, I can’t wait to give it a try. It’s such a pretty article as well, I love your artistry.

    Reply
  5. Joanne

    Cauliflower cream sauce is for REAL a favorite thing of mine! Totally genius to sub it in for carbonara. I kind of want to lick that cast-iron pan clean.

    Reply
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  39. Jen

    It’s an alfredo, rather than a carbonara. BUT. It looks AMAZING and we will be having it for dinner tonight. Thanks!

    Reply
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