More like Carb-o-nada! This is all the decadence you crave from a carbonara sauce, with a healthy seaside twist. Lightened-up and tossed with shrimp, shrimp carbonara really hits the spot when I’m craving pasta.
What’s in This Shrimp Carbonara
I started making this recipe when I had a craving for legit shrimp carbonara with egg, no noodles. Now, you can just as easily make this recipe with noodles (see the next section!), but it’s great without them!
- Shrimp – you can use tails on or off, depending on your preference. I like tails off, as it makes it easier to scarf!
- Parmesan cheese – opt for freshly grated for the best flavor.
- Eggs + egg yolk – this is what gives us a lusciously creamy sauce. The trick is to stir the yolk into the warm shrimp, without scrambling. This is why you’ll want to remove your pan from heat and work quickly to incorporate.
- Heavy cream, or pasta water – For creamy shrimp carbonara, opt for heavy cream, for a more traditional shrimp carbonara no cream, go for pasta water. Add more/less depending on how thick you’d like your sauce.
Pasta? Or No Pasta?
If you’re looking for a low carb dinner, opt for no pasta, or use a veggie-based alternative–zucchini noodles, butternut squash noodles, or spaghetti squash. Skip shirataki noodles, they’re best for stir-fries.
This recipe works just as well with pasta — Just boil water in a large pot of water with a touch of salt, and cook per the box’s instructions. Drain the pasta, and make sure to reserve a bit of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the pan at the same time you add the shrimp. Use the drained pasta water (only as much as needed) to thin the sauce.
How to Make Shrimp Carbonara
As I’m sure you know, carbonara is all about the technique. Here’s how to nail it every time:
1. Cook the meat: Cook the bacon, and set aside. Sear shrimp in bacon fat, and set aside. Add garlic, then the shrimp and bacon back to the pan.
2. Make the sauce: Meanwhile, whisk together the sauce.
3. Bringing it all together: Remove the pan from heat, and stir in the sauce until it sets. If you’re using pasta, add warm pasta to the pan and stir the sauce in.
Storing + Reheating
Believe it or not, this dish stores really well in the fridge…
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container, leaving fresh herbs and additional parmesan in a separate container.
- Reheat in the microwave and top with fresh parmesan before serving.
- Freeze? Carbonara sauce doesn’t freeze well, so enjoy it fresh!
Want to add your spin to this recipe? Aside from swapping your noodles, here are a few ways to get creative with shrimp carbonara:
- Add chicken for a chicken and shrimp carbonara.
- Or skip the meat and use pasta to set the sauce, as I do in my spaghetti squash carbonara.
- Add in veggies, like sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.
- Add a crunch to the top, like panko, more bacon bits, or even crushed pork rinds
More Healthy Pasta Recipes
- Zucchini Lasagna
- Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
- Cabbage Lasagna
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
Shrimp CarbonaraPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 pound shrimp
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup Parmesan grated
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Bacon. Cook chopped bacon in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Once crisp, remove bacon from the pan and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan.
- Shrimp. Turn the heat of the pan up to high, and add shrimp – making sure not to overcrowd the pan (I do this in 2 batches). Sear the shrimp until golden on each side, about 2 minutes. If you cooked the shrimp in batches, return it all to the pan, along with the garlic. Toss to coat and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Sauce. Meanwhile, whisk together the parmesan, eggs, yolk, cream, and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth and set aside.
- Toss. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the parmesan/egg combo over the shrimp, stirring constantly so the eggs thicken but don't scramble. You can add additional cream to thin out the sauce a bit if you prefer. Serve carbonara over pasta if you wish, topped with parsley and additional parmesan.