This Dairy Free Carbonara recipe has coconut milk instead of cream. Healthier and lighter in calories without sacrificing any of the flavor!
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. And so I thought, why not make lightened up dairy free carbona instead. Coconut milk in place of heavy cream. Brilliant, or what?
A real simple ingredient list for this dairy free carbonara pasta – pasta, bacon, eggs, cheese (use dairy free cheese for a dairy free version), coconut milk, 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 oil by accident, or did they cook the cream too long? 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 and overpowering 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, coconut milk 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 in too much bacon grease.
Instead of cream I used coconut milk. It’s a bit lighter in calories than heavy cream and I just thought why not? Let’s try to remake a classic with a bit of a more modern Asianized spin.
Sprinkle some capers and freshly diced green onions as a garnish and dinner is ready. The result? A simple yet creamy and flavorful dairy free carbonara.
Finally a creamy dairy free carbonara I can actually enjoy. Not too oily and not too heavy -> just how carbonara should always be.
What do you think? Are you willing to give my dairy free carbonara pasta a try or are you a die hard fan of the classic version?
If you do try my dairy free carbonara pasta please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Looking for other 30 minute dinner pasta dishes to try? Check out some of my favorites:
- Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Dairy Free Chicken Pasta with Creamy Pesto Sauce –> PIN for Later
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Sage –> PIN For later
- Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Sauce Pasta –> PIN For Later
- 30 Minute Ham and Tomato Pasta
Lightened up and healthier dairy free carbonara pasta is made with coconut milk instead of cream! All the flavor with non of the calories!
- 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 vegan shredded cheese
- two eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- salt pepper to taste
- green onions thinly sliced for garnish
- 1 tablespoon capers for garnish
Cook pasta according to package directions.
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.
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.
In a bowl combine eggs, salt, pepper, cheese and coconut milk. Mix until smooth.
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.
Serve garnished with capers and green onions.
Melissa Belanger - A Teaspoon of Happiness says
Coconut milk seems like a fantastic way to lighten up carbonara. This just might make me actually cook carbonara at home. It’s always been something I’ve avoided, but I love that you’ve made it healthier!!
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!
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
Vicky, this sounds delightful! I like to, what I call, take some of the grease out of various dishes that are otherwise great. I must try coconut milk in more things.
Thanks! I have been adding coconut milk to a lot of dishes lately and really love it!
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!
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?
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? 🙂
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.
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 !
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!
Hi, I just wondered if you could post the nutritional info plsss
Here is the nutrition info per serving (the recipe serves 3)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33.5g 52%
Saturated Fat 14.8g 74%
Cholesterol 174.4mg 58%
Sodium 557.2mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 61.5g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 25.4g 51%
Vitamin A 12% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 18% Iron 14%
So when you say coconut milk do you mean the canned kind or just any random coconut milk you can get in the dairy section? I ask because I really don’t like coconut milk at all and we use almond milk for our “milk” lately. Could I use that? I know since it’s replacing cream it needs to be a bit heavier but would that be ok or no?
In this recipe I am referring to canned coconut milk which is thicker than the one you find in the carton. I personally do not think the taste of the canned coconut milk is overwhelming or even noticeable in this pasta recipe. I’m not sure this would work too well with the almond milk since it just isn’t thick enough, but you could give it a try?
Nancy Harmon says
My daughter, who has all kinds of food issues, is staying with us during Covid-19. I made this recipe substituting spaghetti squash for pasta. and omitting the cheese. and using nutritional yeast. It was a hit! the spring onions and capers add a nice zesty touch.
So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Love the idea of using spaghetti squash instead of pasta!