This veggie-filled dish is light and full of flavor. Perfect for those days when you’re looking for a low-carbohydrate meal that really satisfies!
Filled with nutrition!
Zoodles (zucchini noodles) are just as fun to make as they are to twirl onto your fork, completely with all their well-seasoned flavor. Here, we combine them with another favorite green veggie, asparagus, plus tender shrimp and crispy bacon. Feel free to swap in chicken or another protein for the shrimp.
Curious about how to choose the safest seafood? Read this post.
What is zucchini carbonara?
In this dish, we call for zucchini noodles instead of pasta to make this gluten-free carbonara. But if you’d like, you could easily use a mix of half zucchini noodles and half spaghetti pasta that would still provide a veggie boost and cut down on your total pasta serving. Zucchini noodles keep your plate full and satisfying, yet still light and refreshing while providing vitamins and minerals in every bite. As a bonus, you can have a low-carb, Whole30-friendly meal on the table in 30 minutes that will impress both special guests or your everyday dinner crowd. The best part? We’ve packed in all the flavors of bacon, garlic along with an extra boost of nutrition from fresh asparagus, lots of onion and a healthy dose of olive oil.Satisfy your pasta craving while keeping things light with this healthy Zucchini Pasta Carbonara with Shrimp! Click To Tweet
How to turn veggies into noodles
Where once upon a time zoodles (or spiralized veggies) were a foreign concept and required a special tool to make, you can now easily find them pre-zoodled at most grocery stores. No complaints here because when you’re short on time, shortcuts are invaluable. However, we do enjoy making our own veggie noodles when we have time, so here are some different options on tools and what you can use them for.
A spiralizing tool allows you to cut just about any vegetable into long swirly strands or ribbons of “pasta” that you can top with your favorite sauce or sauté with garlic and drizzle with olive oil for a super-simple side dish. Some of our favorites include: zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, potatoes, beets, kohlrabi, jicama, cucumber, parsnip and turnip. You can pretty much spiralize everything and we do when we’re in a fork-twirling-tuck-into-a-bowl-of-something-amazing mood (ahem, Something just like this zucchini pasta carbonara).
What veggie spiralizer works best?
We often get asked which is the “best” this or that – blenders, knives, coconut oil, etc. – and though we do have our preferences when it comes to spiralizing tools, we can only say that the one you’ll use is the best one for you. There’s really just two types: one that sits on the countertop and requires a bit of kitchen real estate to store and a small hand-held version that can easily slip into a drawer. You just need to decide how often you’ll use your spiralizer tool and how much space you’re willing to devote to this handy little kitchen gadget.
Of course, there’s always going to be differences in quality, durability, and clean-ability so it’s always a good idea to do your research and read the reviews to find the one that best fits your needs. However, if you’re really want to get a good one and get it right now, Jessica has used this one for years and it’s still cranking (and it comes with 3 different interchangeable blades for both noodles and ribbons).
OK, enough about kitchen tools. Let’s get cooking so we can start twirling!
Zucchini “Pasta” Carbonara with Shrimp
Keep things low-carb with this lighter take on classic creamy carbonara pasta that swaps zoodles for the traditional pasta and ups the veggie and protein, too.
- 4 medium zucchini (about 2 lbs.), cut into “noodles” with a spiral cutter, julienne peeler or use a regular vegetable peeler to cut into wide ribbons
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 8 ounces fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed, thawed and drained if previously frozen
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Fresh grated Parmesan
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and zucchini. Cook, stirring often until zucchini are just tender. About 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
- To the same pan, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and onion. Sauté onion until it starts to soften then add garlic and cook, while stirring, for an additional 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add asparagus and stir. Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add shrimp and stir fry with the vegetables for 4-5 minutes or until they’re pink and cooked through (being careful not to overcook them). Stir in crumbled bacon and parsley and remove from heat.
- Toss shrimp and vegetable mixture with the zucchini and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drizzle with additional olive oil and the Parmesan cheese before serving.
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Though grated cheese, such as Parmesan, is an essential part of a standard carbonara dish, you can easily make this recipe dairy free and/or Whole30 friendly by omitting the Parmesan cheese.
- Serving Size: 4 servings
- Calories: 275
- Fat: 17g
- Sodium: 850mg
- Carbohydrate: 11g
- (Fiber: 3g
- Sugar: 5g)
- Protein: 21g
What’s your favorite vegetable to spiralize? Share in the comments below!
Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
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