Satisfy your pasta craving while keeping things light with this healthy Zucchini Pasta Carbonara with Shrimp!
Same fork-twirling satisfaction minus the uncomfortable after effects
Pasta…it can be a love-hate relationship. It always seems like a great idea until later when you’re left feeling tired, sluggish or bloated. But it tasted so good! We get it, and that’s why we’re here to prove that healthier, low-carb options (that don’t lack flavor) exist!
So, let’s ditch the button-popping, bloat-inducing, gluten-filled pasta noodles for zoodles (zucchini noodles) and crush that craving with this Zucchini Pasta Carbonara with Shrimp, shall we? We promise you can twirl zoodles just as well. And while we’re at it, let’s add some shrimp (or chicken if you’d like) to up the protein and make it extra satisfying (remember, fat + protein = more satisfaction and stable blood sugar levels).
Impress guests while keeping things light and flavorful.
If you’re reluctant to swap the “real” noodles for zoodles, you’re not alone. Pasta is one of the easiest dinner options out there whether you’re cooking for a large dinner crowd or casual weeknight dinner. But guess what, you can still have your “pasta” with this Zucchini Pasta Carbonara with Shrimp. 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.
Turn veggies into “pasta” any day of the week!
Where once upon a time zoodles/spiralized veggies were a foreign concept and required a special tool to make, you can very likely find them pre-done at your local grocery store. 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!
- 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 Tbsp. olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 8 oz. fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed, thawed and drained if previously frozen
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled
- Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan, if desired (omit for dairy-free or Whole30-friendly)
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. 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 Tbsp. 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 parmesan cheese before serving, if desired.
- Serving Size: 4 servings
- Calories: 275
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 850mg
- Fat: 17g
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Fiber: 3g
- Protein: 21g
Helpful Tools to Make This Recipe:
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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