Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb)

It’s a good day folks! We’ve got a new healthy comfort food recipe for you guys with this Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb spaghetti squash carbonara, and you’re going to love it! It’s dairy-free, creamy and has bacon in it. So, basically it checks all the boxes and makes a great meal prep recipe, too! You’ll really look forward to the lunch leftovers!

Horizontal overhead image of spaghetti squash carbonara in a skillet with a serving fork and spoon dug in.

What is carbonara

Carbonara is traditionally an Italian pasta dish made with noodles, pancetta and a sauce made with egg, cheese and heavy cream. It’s typically a quick and easy dish to whip up and one that just feels like comfort food. We played with this traditional idea a bit to come up with a Paleo-fied version.

Vertical overhead image of spaghetti squash carbonara in skillet and also served up in a bowl with a fork and spoon dug in.

How to make carbonara Paleo

Here’s how we modified this traditional dish to make it Paleo and even Whole30 friendly! It’s also low carb…although not quite low carb enough to call it Keto for you die hards out there, but scroll down a little further in the post and we give you some tips for cutting extra carbs if needed. But first…how we get to a Paleo version.

  • Spaghetti Squash – we ditched the pasta noodles for spaghetti squash to get a little extra veggie goodness in the dish. And if you cook it just right, so the squash is more al dente, you will love the texture and feel like you’re actually enjoying pasta!
  • Almond Milk – we opted for using almond milk over heavy cream, and you could also use full fat coconut milk as well. Either way it comes out creamy and delish, but is dairy-free.
  • Optional Cheese – if you’re eating Keto, or just don’t adhere to a strict Paleo or Whole30 diet, you can use the cheese. Otherwise, it’s just optional and you can skip it all together. This spaghetti squash carbonara turns out great either way!
  • Chicken and Greens – and because we love adding in extra real foods, we spiced up the traditional take on carbonara by adding some chicken and spinach to the dish.
Vertical close up angled image of spaghetti squash carbonara in skillet.

Tips for making this recipe Keto

As is, this spaghetti squash carbonara gets close to being 10 or less net carbs per serving, so we’ve labeled it as Low Carb versus Keto. But…if you’re really aiming for a Keto version, here are some tips for cutting those last few net carbs.

  • Omit the arrowroot starch – if you omit it all together this will take you into Keto territory. However, note that the sauce will not get so creamy. It will be a runnier sauce, more like extra flavorful creamy, broth.
  • Omit half the arrowroot starch – you can half the arrowroot starch to cut some carbs and still get some of the extra creaminess. Best of both worlds perhaps.
  • Omit the spinach – lastly, you could omit the spinach to decrease the net carbs as well. We find eating greens is worth the net carbs, but you do you to get to your own personal goals!
Vertical close up image of spaghetti squash carbonara served in a bowl with a fork and spoon dug in and topped with extra bacon bits.

More healthy comfort food to try

Try out this spaghetti squash carbonara

We love to make this spaghetti squash carbonara on Sunday for dinner and then enjoy the leftovers for lunches during the work week! It’s great for feeding a crowd or family or perfect for meal prep. Leave a comment below to let us know how it goes. Also, take a pic to share on social media, and tag us @realsimplegood so we can check it out! We LOVE seeing what you guys are cooking up! And if you don’t already, make sure to give us a follow – let’s stay connected!


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Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb)

4.54 from 56 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6
Calories: 330kcal
Author: Erica Winn
This Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb spaghetti squash carbonara is dairy-free, creamy and has bacon in it! It checks all the boxes and is great for meal prep!
Print Recipe Rate Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 8 pieces bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp each)
  • 1 cup almond milk (or full fat coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or sub 1 tbsp garlic oil)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano or parmesan cheese (optional – omit for Whole30 and strict Paleo)
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place open side down on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside to cool enough to handle.
  • While the spaghetti squash cooks, chop and place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until it just starts to get crispy. Remove and set aside on a paper towel lined plate and reserve bacon grease in the pan.
  • In the same pan, add chicken thighs to the pan and season with half the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the bottom gets golden brown and then flip. Season with the rest of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for another 6 or so minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove and set on a cutting board. Turn heat off and leave skillet as is. Cut the chicken into thin strips.
  • Combine almond milk, chicken broth, sea salt garlic powder and arrowroot starch in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Once spaghetti squash is done and has cooled just enough to handle, scoop the flesh out with a fork onto the sheet pan you cooked it on. Discard the shells.
  • Turn the heat on the pan you cooked the chicken in to low. Stir the almond milk mixture again to dissolve the arrowroot starch. Add the sauce mixture to the pan. Increase heat if needed to bring the sauce to a low simmer. Stirring frequently, simmer sauce for 3-4 minutes, or until it thickens.
  • Add the spaghetti squash noodles to the pan and mix to coat with the sauce. Add spinach to the skillet and mix in. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until spinach wilts. Add bacon and chicken back to pan. Mix ingredients.
  • Serve and top with cheese (optional) and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition facts are an estimate provided for those following a Ketogenic or low-carb diet and do not include the topping/serving items for this recipe. See our full nutrition information disclosure here

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 330kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Fiber: 3g
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Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb)

35 thoughts on “Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (Paleo, Whole30 + Low Carb)

  • Real!! Simple!!! And sooo good!!! I substituted the spaghetti squash with butternut squash noodles because I had some on hand that needed to be used, and it worked wonderfully. I also used coconut milk, and there wasn’t a coconut flavor at all. Even my picky 10 year old loved it. This will be on our repeat meal list for sure!! Thanks for creating simple and delicious recipes.

    • You’re so welcome! We are thrilled to hear it was a hit for the whole family! The butternut squash noodles must have been great. We’ll have to give that a try! Thanks so much for giving our recipe a try and for taking the time to come back and rate and review it! We appreciate it! 🙂

  • This was absolutely delicious! My husband was skeptical at first because but even he loved it. Since I don’t have almond milk I used flax milk and I ran out of arrowroot so I used potato starch and it was perfectly creamy.

  • Made this last night, it was so good and light! I didn’t have spinach, so used kale, it tasted fine, just had to let it cook a little longer at the end. How can you go wrong with bacon?!?

  • This was delicious! Will definitely make again. We used canned coconut milk and needed to thin the sauce, so I’d recommend omitting the arrowroot when using coconut milk.

  • Made this tonight and all I can say is that if you haven’t tried this “what are you waiting for”. So much lighter than regular Pasta Carbonara but very filling. When we brought our plates to the sink even our dog was jumping just to get to lick the plates. He’s such a paleo dog 😂

  • Made this tonight and it was a HIT with my 5 kids and my hubby!!! I made my meal Whole30 compliant, using spaghetti squash, and made it with pasta for the rest of the family as they have no wheat intolerances! The only change that I made was adding some Trader Joes “Everyday Seasoning” spice! Reading the above reviews, I will be trying this recipe with coconut milk next time 🤩
    Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!

  • I’ve made this at least the times over the last four months. I really enjoy it, and it’s always a good use of veggies in my CSA box. I usually throw in peppers and onions too, reminds me of the bad for you carbonara I used to order from Domino’s years ago! This is a go-to recipe that makes the whole family happy!

  • I came across this recipe on the Whole 30 recipe instagram- and boy I am so glad I did ! My biggest struggle on whole 30 rounds has been missing those creamy comfort foods- and this did the trick with filling that void! This carbonara was creamy- delicious- and almost felt like a guilty pleasure! Definitely will be returning to the blog for more dinner inspiration!

  • Instant potted this!! I’m not on Paleo or Whole30 so made some adjustments – regular milk, and wheat flour instead of the arrowroot. But the big change was that I did it all in my instant pot.
    Cut spaghetti squash in half, clean out seed and place on trivet in instant pot with 1 cup of water.
    Pressure cook on high for 8 min. Quick release. Set squash aside and drain pot. Chop bacon, add it to the pot and saute till crispy. Scoop out the bacon with a slotted spoon. Set pot to saute and add chicken per recipe. When the chicken is done, remove it to a cutting board. Mix up the sauce mixture and pour it into the pot. Stir constantly till it thickens. Add back the other ingredients, per the recipe.

  • Amazing! One of the best meals I’ve ever made! I used coconut milk, I didn’t have any arrowroot so I didn’t use anything for that, and it was still creamy and awesome.

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