This Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara recipe packs all the flavor of its original counterpart but is much healthier. 


I feel like for most of us the words “healthy” and “light” really mean “boring” or “tasteless”. Whenever I eat diet foods that are supposed to taste like their fully loaded counterparts, they usually tend to be more reminiscent of cardboard than lighter versions of the original.


I told my husband I was going to work on a recipe for a healthy carbonara, and he understandably snickered. After all, if you’re going to eat something called carbonara, it better well taste like three darn good things – parmesan, bacon and pasta – and “light” is not an adjective I’d use to describe any of those foods! So instead of substituting ingredients, I simply use less of the offending ones (except cream, that one doesn’t make the cut here). I also like to use a combination of eggs and pasta water to help retain the lusciousness and creaminess of a classic carbonara.


On the day I was making this, my hubby came charging into the kitchen, having caught a whiff of the cooking bacon wafting through the house. However, as soon as he realized that this was my “carbonara light” experiment, he retreated, thinking it would taste terrible. After a bit of arm twisting, I succeeded in getting him to try it. Three bowls later, hubby asked that I please remove him from the kitchen before he ate the whole pot.


Which reminds me, this dish serves six, but if you eat it all on your own, it’s definitely no longer qualifies as light! It’s definitely hard to resist though! If you’re looking for other light pasta try my Wild Mushroom PastaLemon Spaghetti with Toasted Walnuts or Pasta Primavera recipes!


Let me know if you try any of my recipes by tagging me on social media, @weelicious!


Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara

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Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water*


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. 
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally so it cooks evenly, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Whisk together the eggs and cheese in a small bowl. Add it to the pasta and immediately (so it doesn't curdle) stir and toss together. Add the bacon, onions and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water (see Cook's Note). 
  • Toss to coat well and serve immediately (see Cook's Note).
  • Cook's Note: The pasta will absorb some of the liquid as it sits, so if not serving right away, toss with the remaining 1/2 cup warm pasta water just before serving.


Calories: 510kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 1080mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


  1. This is delicious! So easy! I never made Carbonara before, so I was a little nervous. But you told it well, and I made it well, and we will make it again!

  2. Love this recipe!!! I was wondering, do you think it would be possible to do this with spaghetti squash? Thanks.

  3. […] Spaghetti Carbonara with Turkey Bacon with Broccoli Crowns Total Cost: approximately $5.51 […]

  4. Yes, the package should specify! If you can find the brand Davidson’s Safest Choice those are the ones I used!

  5. I can’t wait to make this! I love pasta carbonara but I always feel so guilty eating it because of all the cream. A question about the pasteurized eggs – will the egg package specify that the eggs are pasteurized? I just checked what I have in the fridge and I don’t see the word pasteurized anywhere.

  6. Hi!
    I am really enjoying your website and your cookbook!
    With a toddler who is not a fan of meat I am really working to find new recipes for the whole family and this one is a HIT!!!
    Thank you so much and keep the yummyness coming!

  7. Weelicious Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara - Triple Threat Mommy | Triple Threat Mommy says:

    […] received an email while I was in the playground from weelicious. I opened it up while we were in the playground and jumped for joy when I read, “Lightened […]

  8. Weelicious Lightened Up Spaghetti CarbonaraTriple Threat Mommy | Triple Threat Mommy says:

    […] received an email while I was in the playground from weelicious. I opened it up while we were in the playground and jumped for joy when I read, “Lightened […]

  9. If your baby is already eating solids and doing well at that and doesn’t have an egg allergy, then this should be fine! If he or she hasn’t tried noodles yet then you should definitely watch closely and help them eat it! I would chop the noodles into smaller pieces, too.

  10. […] Here is a healthier version of the Italian classic. (This recipe was inspire by Weelicious.) […]

  11. Live in nj. In the dark due to sandy. Made the carbonara in the dark last night. Was all i hoped for. Was delish!! I am lactose intolerant and love recipes that replace cream so i can enjoy. Thanks for sharing the recipe!! Wish we had leftovers

  12. Thank you, thank you, Catherine, for showing us this yummy traditional version of Carbonara! This “egg” version is more the true version versus the carbonara we see in restaurants which usually has cream. I know the carbonara die-hards like me prefer the italian “egg” version and cringe at versions that add the cream- so thank you for showing us the turkey bacon way!

  13. Oh, yum this looks so good! Even the lighter version I would have a hard time stopping myself at one bowl.

  14. I made this for dinner tonight–tasted great and was easy to put together. I love carbonara but never eat it because it’s so rich. Seems like a good alternative to spaghetti with meat/tomato sauce.

  15. It reheats well and tastes great as leftovers! It really is best fresh, but I had it as leftovers twice after I made this recipe and it was still yummy!

  16. The eggs do cook partially because of being mixed with the hot ingredients. That’s what so great about using pasteurized eggs! They’re safer and have already been heat treated to become pasteurized!

  17. Do the eggs cook through being in the pot with the hot pasta? Raw eggs don’t really scare me, but I’m curious.

  18. Geez, I adore traditional carbonara but I really can’t eat more than a few bites. Thanks for lightening it up!

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