A very green “carbonara”

by Jenn on March 6, 2013

in Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Meats,Pastas and Grains

A very green carbonara

I am not going to write about the weather.  Ever since I have become cognizant of my own weather ramblings as I introduce blog posts, I have noticed I am far from alone in this habit.  Who needs small talk on a personal blog? Not here, I know you all didn’t come to hear me babble about the sun shining (or not as the case may be…)!

Boxed gluten free pasta can be hard to use sometimes – you want to make your favorite pasta dishes, substituting in GF pasta, but it just doesn’t come out the same.  In our home, the dish we struggle with is carbonara.  Every time we add in egg to our GF pasta to make the classic Italian dish, it just doesn’t coat and mix into the pasta the way it should.  I’ve finally decided to stop forcing something that clearly isn’t working out, and to instead embrace something new.  And voilà, our new pasta favorite, avocado carbonara came to be!

Because I grew up eating avocado near daily (thanks to my mom being from California), it just seems natural to experiment and play with it.  Its thick creamy fruit plays perfectly in so much more than just guacamole, and it’s worth experimenting with (actually, if you go back through this blog, you’ll see I use avocado all the freaking time 😉 ).  Turns out, if you want something that will nicely coat GF pasta in a rich creamy way, avocado is exactly what you need.  And another bonus, this dish can be totally naturally dairy free and you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything.

So next time you’ve got an avocado lying around and you are going to cook up some GF spaghetti, give this a try – you might just find a new favorite weeknight dinner – it is one of our regular dinners, we love it so much.


This post is short and sweet today, because rather than sit at a computer this evening, I prefer to watch my baby girl play – some things are happening so fast and I don’t want to miss one minute :)

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Avocado Carbonara

Prep Time: 5 min to chop vegetables
Total Time: 20 min
Makes 2 very generous portions


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cubed pancetta (50g?), or use some crisped up bacon instead
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 200g gluten free spaghetti
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat up a large pot of water for the spaghetti (keep the lid on to have it boil faster) to boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with a couple glugs of olive oil.  Once hot, sauté garlic, pancetta, and zucchini until pancetta is cooked through and it and the zucchini are starting to brown a bit.  When done, remove from the heat.
  3. When the water is boiling, add in your pasta and stir fairly frequently (keep heat high for a rolling boil) until pasta is soft an cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, make the “sauce” by mashing the avocado and blending some lemon juice into it (just taste as you go to see how much you want).
  5. When pasta is done, drain but reserve a couple spoons of the pasta water.  Then rinse the pasta. Mix the reserved pasta water in with the avocado sauce, and stir the avocado sauce into the pasta. Be careful with GF pasta, as it tends to break easily, so mix in gently.
  6. Finally, add in the sautéed pancetta and zucchini.  Serve and garnish with lemon zest, salt and pepper.  Enjoy!


A very green carbonara


Holly March 7, 2013 at 3:00 am

I’ve hesitated trying a gluten free diet and your posts always remind me that gluten free does NOT mean flavor free. Your dish looks and sounds wonderful!

Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Thanks! Honestly, the I feel the level enjoyment of a gluten free diet is what one makes of it. One can lament not ever having glutenicious muffins and bagels etc., or one can find creative and easy ways to use ingredients they know work for them. We prefer to go with the “glass is half full” approach to GF cooking, and find we don’t miss that much at all :)

Zoe March 7, 2013 at 3:45 am

This looks so good, Jenn! I can taste all the flavours, just by looking at the ingredients and your photos. Avocado and zucchini are favourites here. We’ll need to try this sometime soon. Perfect for spring, too. :)

Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Thanks Zoe!

Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts March 7, 2013 at 3:56 am

What a great recipe! I love carbonara and I’m cool with this green version for sure. :-)

Wondering how often I ramble about weather … I know I ramble. 😉 So happy that you are spending all that important time with your beautiful little girl!


Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Thanks Shirley! Ha well now that I pointed it out you will notice everyone talks about the weather in their blog posts, lol :)

Rosa March 7, 2013 at 7:57 am

A scrumptious dish! Very healthy and tasty.

Your daughter is really cute!



Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Thanks Rosa!

Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} March 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I LOVE avocado! This looks like a great way to use it, and as always, your pictures are gorgeous!

Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Thanks so much!

dixya @ food, pleasure, and health March 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

your daughter is adorableeeeee. I love avocado, pasta, and now together- bring it on :)

Jenn March 7, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Aww thanks!

Rochelle March 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

I haven’t been over here in a while, but I decided to drop by and see how things were over here since the baby. I’m so glad I did! She’s TOO adorable and those eyes pierce into you even through the screen.

As for your delicious looking carbonara; I admit I’ve never had carbonara before, but I certainly must try this version with avocado!

sippitysup March 11, 2013 at 3:49 am

It’s very ‘green for spring’ and that’s why I love it. GREG

Nancy/SpicieFoodie March 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Hi Jenn,
Your baby is gorgeous!

I’ve never used GF pasta but have been meaning to check it out. Thanks for the tip and delicious recipe. Being Mexican I can’t live without avocados.

InTolerantChef March 20, 2013 at 7:16 am

What a great idea indeed! Perfect solution to get that yummy creamy fix that makes the pasta so special.
Gorgeous photo of the little cutie too :)

Nik@ABrownTable March 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm

This looks so gorgeous and colorful. Though I don’t have a gluten problem, I do make it a point to try all sorts of different types of gluten-free flours. Some of them have absolutely wonderful flavors!

Nupur April 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Amazing Blog and wonderful pictures.. Adding Avocado to Carbonara is a fantastic idea..

your daughter is very cute, adding her on this page has enhanced the charm

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