This low carb pasta carbonara is the perfect dinner for two, calls for just 7 ingredients and about 20 minutes, and has right under 10 grams of carbs per serving. It’s super creamy and loaded with bacon as you’d expect from a carbonara recipe. And thanks to the Palmini, you’ll barely be able to tell you’re eating an impasta!
How to Make Pasta Carbonara
Pasta carbonara, despite its creaminess, is actually made without cream. The creaminess comes from a blend of eggs and cheese that are cooked into the pasta with minimal heat to thicken but not scramble.
If that sounds complicated, it’s not. Trust me!
For this low carbonara version, you’ll need to pan fry a bit of chopped bacon before adding minced garlic and a bit of cooking wine (substitution options below) to deglaze the pan.
Then you simply reduce the heat, toss the pasta in the bacon mixture, and add the eggs and grated parmesan. Toss it together over a super low heat for a minute or two, and you’ll have creamy pasta carbonara.
Easy enough, right?
Low Carb Pasta Carbonara Ingredient Notes
I’ve made a few changes to a traditional carbonara with this version. I’ll briefly run through some of the primary ingredients and answer potential substitution questions.
What is Palmini Pasta?
Palmini makes their pasta from palm hearts and one serving has just 20 calories and 4 grams of carbs. I first used it in my Kung Pao Shrimp Noodles recipe and love the product. You can also use it for classic recipes like my Italian chicken meatballs and spaghetti.
I’ve described it as a blend between zoodles and a closer impasta like chickpea pastas. You can soak it in milk to reduce the acidity or even boil it for a few minutes for a softer texture, but I like it straight out of the package (after rinsing).
Is it real pasta? Of course not. But it’s the best I’ve tried with calorie content this low.
Palmini has a store locator to help you locate some unless you want to order online. If you have trouble finding it or want to use a different pasta, go right ahead. I’d use 10-12 ounces (cooked weight) of another pasta for this low carb pasta carbonara.
Update: If you’re having trouble finding Palmini noodles, you can find Pastability on Amazon as well. I’ve used it in recipes like my rotisserie chicken spaghetti.
Doesn’t true carbonara use guanciale or pancetta?
It does. But if you’re familiar with my recipes, you should know making grocery runs to specialized stores is not part of my M.O.
Also, center cut bacon is much lower in fat. Technically the others would still be low carb, but I like to keep the total calorie load under control when possible.
If you wanted to use a different type of bacon, go right ahead. They should all work fine.
What can I substitute for white cooking wine?
Aside from flavor, the acidity of the wine is great for balancing the fatty richness and deglazing the pan. If you don’t have this ingredient on hand, there are a few other options that should accomplish the same goals:
- sparkling white grape juice
- white wine vinegar
- lemon juice
- worst case: chicken or vegetable broth
Can I use egg whites?
You DO need some fat for the creaminess of the pasta carbonara. And too much protein from the egg whites on their own might not work the same way in terms of thickening. If you want to reduce the fat content, you might use 4 slices of bacon instead of 6 or use reduced fat parmesan.
Then, if you decided to take it further, substitute 1 of the whole eggs for 3 tablespoons of egg whites. Let me know how it turns out!
Final Pasta Carbonara Notes
The final steps of adding the eggs might be the only spot that needs troubleshooting. Be sure to reduce the heat and if you notice eggs scrambling, remove the pan from the heat. Go slow and you can always increase the heat if your sauce isn’t thickening.
And finally, I’d encourage you to try this recipe several different ways. I decided this version was the best after testing 4-5 variations. You may find you like the pasta boiled for a few minutes or soaked in salt water better than simply drained. Or you may find you like 2 fewer slices of bacon or 2 eggs instead of 3. Have fun!
- 6 slices Center Cut Bacon
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
- 1/4 C (60mL) White Cooking Wine
- 3 large Eggs
- 2 Tbsp (15g) Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 12 oz packet Palmini Pasta, or your choice of cooked pasta
- Cut the bacon into small pieces, peel and mince the garlic, whisk the eggs together with the black pepper and parmesan, and drain the pasta. (You'll want all your ingredients ready to go as this is a fast cooking dish.)
- Add the bacon to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fully cook the bacon before adding the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the wine.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, cooking for about a minute to cook off the alcohol. Reduce the heat to a low-medium.
- Add the pasta and toss with the bacon and garlic sauce before pouring the egg mixture over the top.
- Use tongs to continually toss the pasta around in the sauce. Be careful to not scramble the eggs and reduce the heat to low or remove from the heat altogether. After a few minutes, the eggs should thicken and resemble a cream sauce for the pasta.
- Serve warm with fresh parsley and additional parmesan, if desired.
Each serving (1/2 the recipe) has 4 Smart Points.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Servings Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 17gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 23g