I got your green food right here.
And bonus, it’s coated in a sauce of parmesan, black pepper, and just a leeeettle bacon grease – just the way God intended fake pasta to be.
If there’s one thing we take seriously around here, it’s margaritas. And if there’s a second thing, it’s carbonara in its many beautiful forms. No cream, no extras. Just parmesan, eggs, black pepper, and (in the case of real pasta) a splash of pasta water.
When we substitute zucchini, we first run the squash through a spiral vegetable cutter (I have a Spiralizer and I adore it) to make zucchini noddles. Zoodles! (I love that word even more than my 5 year old.) Then the zoodles get a quick high-heat stir-fry to soften and remove some of the excess water before proceeding with the standard carbonara recipe.
What you get is a bowl full of vegetables in a deceptively not-overly-unhealthy sauce. Without a cup of cream or a bottle of green food coloring to be found.
But still, bacon.
Asparagus and Zoodle Carbonara
A healthier pasta carbonara made with zucchini noodles, bacon, and parmesan.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ~1/4-inch squares
- Black pepper
- 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into ~3-inch pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan (~1.5 oz by weight) plus more for garnish
- 1 1/4 lb zucchini, cut into spirals (I have this tool)
- Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crispy.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a large bowl (big enough to mix everything together at the end) and leave behind as much of the bacon drippings as possible (you want ~1 Tbsp of oil in the pan).
- Grind a generous amount of black pepper into the pan and add the asparagus and a pinch of salt, cooking for ~5 minutes until fork-tender.
- In the bowl with the bacon, add the egg, yolk, and parmesan and whisk it all together.
- Add the asparagus to the bowl and mix well for ~10 seconds to melt the cheese and prevent the egg from scrambling from the heat of the vegetables.
- Return the pan to the heat and add the zoodles, cooking uncovered and stirring frequently for ~5 minutes (there should be no standing liquid in the pan).
- Scrape out the pan to get all of the black pepper and bacon goodness into the bowl with the asparagus mixture.
- Use a large fork and spoon to toss the zoodles and mix well. Serve immediately.
- Best on the day of cooking - the zucchini will release a little more liquid after sitting a while and will create a standing thin sauce as leftovers. It's still delicious, but messy.
Yields: 2 generous servings
Estimated time: 30 minutes