Lightened Up Pasta Carbonara

Lightened Up Pasta Carbonara


D has ordered pasta carbonara at a restaurant and it has been a huge disappointment. Every time the pasta seems to be drowning in a pool of oil – completely unnecessary and a straight turn off.

A real simple ingredient list for this one – pasta, bacon, eggs, cheese, cream, onions and garlic. Not too hard to find in your kitchen on a regular day right?

So where’s all that gloopy oil coming from in the restaurants? Are they flat out pouring bacon grease onto the plate, or did they spill the container of evoo by accident? I’m at a loss, because when I made this the other night it was not greasy at all, and was simply the right amount of creamy without overwhelming your taste buds.

The key to this dish is using the drained hot pasta to cook the egg based sauce. The pasta has to be hot enough so that when you mix in the egg, cream and cheese mixture the eggs are also cooked ever so slightly. If you put the pot back on the heat you’ll wind up with scrambled eggs on your pasta so stay away from that.

To lighten things up a bit, I made sure to drain the oil from the bacon pan, before cooking the onions and garlic. There was still the slightest coating of bacon grease on the pan, just enough to add a bit of a smoky taste but not enough to drown the onion and garlic.

Instead of cream I used coconut milk. It’s a bit lighter in calories than heavy cream and I just thought why not?

Sprinkle some capers and freshly diced green onions as a garnish and dinner is ready. Simple yet creamy and full of flavor.

Finally a pasta carbonara I can actually enjoy.



Yields 3

Lightened Up Pasta Carbonara

10 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save Recipe


  • 8 ounces linguine (use gluten free brown rice pasta for gluten free version)
  • 5 ounces bacon
  • 1/2 of a large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • two eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • green onions, thinly sliced for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon capers, for garnish


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Cook bacon in pan over medium heat, in single layer, flipping over half way through. Cook until crispy and drain on paper towels. Chop the bacon into small pieces.
  3. Pour bacon grease out of the pan and into the same pan add onions and garlic and cook for medium-low heat for a couple minutes. Remove from heat and combine with the bacon.
  4. In a bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, cheese and coconut milk. Mix until smooth.
  5. When pasta is cooked drain pasta quickly and return to pot. Pour egg mixture over the pasta and mix quickly, making sure the pasta slightly cooks the egg mixture. Add in bacon and onions. Mix.
  6. Serve garnished with capers and green onions.

This post has been shared on Gluten Free Wednesdays

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    • Vicky says

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy this if you make it at home! It’s not a pasta dish I ever make at home, but just knew I had to make a non greasy delicious home made version to prove to myself that it can be done!

  1. says

    I totally agree with you with the pasta at restaurants drowning in oil. I once ordered this lobster pasta it was delicious, but couldn’t eat it all so I took it home, the next day when I opened the takeout box it was drowning in oil, it looked so gross had to throw it out. Nothing beats a good pasta made at home. Your carbonara looks so good, yummy!

    • Vicky says

      Ick, pasta drowning in oil, so gross. Really don’t understand what the restaurants are thinking sometimes. Who wants to slurp up that oily greasiness?

  2. says

    I always worry about replacing cream with coconut cream as it can sometimes be quite a hard taste to mask. Do you find you can taste the coconut at all? 🙂

    • Vicky says

      I have actually been thinking a lot about this lately as I have been using coconut milk/cream in place of heavy cream in the last few dishes that I have made and I honestly do not notice any kind of coconuty taste. It might depend on how sensitive you are to the taste of coconut milk, but I honestly don’t feel like it gives the dish a coconuty taste. I’ve even been adding it to my coffee in place of milk/cream and don’t find any kind of overpowering taste.

  3. Charlotte says

    I don’t usually like carbonara because it’s too creamy for me, so I was thinking about using coconut milk, then saw your recipe and tadaaaa!! It tastes great! I can taste the coconut quite a lot, but that’s what I quite liked about it actually 🙂

    Thanks for sharing !

    • Vicky says

      So glad you enjoyed it! I think I am immune to the taste of coconut milk at this point – I never taste the coconutty flavor in savory dishes, but guess that just depends on each person and taste preferences!

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