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Dinner Recipes

Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Bacon Recipe Is a Lightened-Up Take on Carbonara — Perfect for Summer

This lighter take on a classic is brightened up with parsley and lemon

Carbonara is a classic Roman pasta dish. Traditionally made with spaghetti, eggs, Pecorino, guanciale and black pepper, it’s rich and comforting. My friends and I often split an order as an appetizer at our favorite Italian restaurant. And while I do love it, sometimes I crave something a tad healthier. If you feel the same, then you have to whip up this Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with Bacon recipe.

We sub in squash ribbons for some of the spaghetti. Zucchini is very versatile — and it’s loaded with heart-healthy benefits, such as reducing cholesterol. Bacon is similar to guanciale but less fatty and easier to find. We skip the eggs but stir the ingredients with some of the pasta cooking liquid to tie it all together. And of course, there’s plenty of grated cheese! Cook along with our video and watch how fast and easy it comes together. Then leave us a comment.

Total Time

Cook Time


  • 2 medium zucchini, about 1 lb.
  • 6 slices bacon
  • minced
  • 8 oz. spaghetti
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 c. parsley leaves
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest


• Using vegetable peeler, cut enough thin long ribbons of zucchini to equal 6 cups. Dice remaining zucchini.

• In 12" nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, 6–7 min.; remove from pan. Reserve 2 Tbsp. bacon fat in skillet. Add diced zucchini; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3–5 min., adding garlic during last 30 sec. Turn off heat.

• Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 3/4 cup cooking water; drain. Add spaghetti, cooking water, zucchini ribbons, salt, and pepper to skillet; stir to wilt zucchini ribbons slightly. Break bacon into pieces; add to skillet. Top with parsley, cheese, and zest.


  • Calories: 397
  • Fat: 15 gram
  • Saturated Fat: 6 gram
  • Protein: 16 gram
  • Carbohydrate: 49 gram
  • Fiber: 4 gram
  • Cholesterol: 25 mg
  • Sugar: 3 gram
  • Sodium: 499 mg
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