>Easy, quick and simple – Kale Carbonara


I work full-time, and some nights when I get home after a long day the last thing I want to do is cook a lavish meal for my family.

Sometimes it takes all my strength and energy just to reheat something that’s already in the fridge.

And creativity?  Forget it.  There are nights when I just want the food to appear on the plate in front of me – POOF!

But I want it to taste good. And I need to be in the mood for it. 

It’s nights like these when my arsenal of simple, quick-fix meals comes into play.  Things like fritatas and omelets, soups and sandwiches – simple fare that comes together quickly and doesn’t involve too many strange or exotic ingredients.  Like spaghetti carbonara – basically bacon and eggs in pasta form.  

This past week, we wound up with some Lacinato kale in our CSA box.  Now, I knew I was getting some “green kale”, but I expected it to look like this:

and not so much like this:

Yeah  – I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it. But I forged on anyway, because I’m not one to let food go to waste, especially highly perishable green food.

As I was wearily contemplating dinner on Monday night, peering into my fridge hoping some ingredients would magically meld together before my eyes and produce a healthy and flavorful meal, it came to me.  I had bacon, eggs, parmesan cheese and some whole wheat pasta.  What if I wilted the kale in the bacon fat, and made carbonara out of the whole mix?  It sounded too easy – which was just what I was hoping for.

Now, I realize this is not a traditional carbonara, but better cooks than I have bastardized carbonara with veg before, so I figure I’m in good company.

Kale Carbonara
prep time: 2 minutes
cook time: 20 minutes
serves: 4-6
1 lb whole-wheat thin spaghetti
3 pieces thick-cut bacon, diced
1 bunch Lacinato Kale, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan chees
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add diced bacon, and saute until crispy
  4. Remove half the fat from the pan, and add the kale to the pan with the bacon
  5. Saute kale until wilted
  6. Whisk eggs together in a bowl with the cheese and some salt and black pepper
  7. Once pasta is cooked, add it to the pan with the kale and bacon.  Turn off the heat
  8. Immediately add the egg/cheese mixture to the hot pasta, kale and bacon.  Stir to combine.  If it appears too dry, add some of the pasta cooking water to loosen it up a bit.

I sprinkled mine with a bit of red pepper flake for heat, but that’s totally optional.  This all came together in the time it took the pasta to boil, and the end result was fabulous.  The slightly bitter green flavor of the kale paired very well with the smokiness of the bacon and the rich creaminess of the egg and cheese.  Next time you make carbonara, consider throwing some greens in there – I don’t think you’ll regret it.


Categories: Dinner, italian food

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13 Comments on “>Easy, quick and simple – Kale Carbonara”

  1. 16 December 2010 at 12:39 am #

    >Thanks for the inspiration. I made this for dinner to rave reviews. I magically had kale and bacon on hand and read your post. My husband was very impressed.

  2. 16 December 2010 at 1:36 am #

    >@tree – so glad to hear it. we love carbonara, and the added kale gave it something extra. so happy to know someone else enjoyed it!

  3. 16 December 2010 at 2:17 am #

    >I'm all for bastardizing carbonara if it means I can eat it more often. I think kale makes for a lovely (and healthy!) addition, so this sounds like the perfect busy-night dinner to me. By the way, in the time it took to write this comment, I've scrolled back up to look at those gorgeous photos of the pasta 5 times – beautiful! :)

  4. 16 December 2010 at 10:22 am #

    >wow angi – thank you! that's such a compliment. i've always admired your photos on your site! and yes, this was the perfect busy-night dinner. i'm looking forward to more kale so i can make it again.

  5. 16 December 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    >Your recipe looks delicious and your photos are awesome. You should share it at http://www.dishfolio.com/

  6. 2 January 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    >I like the sound of adding greens to a carbonara!

  7. 2 January 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    >What a great idea to use fresh greens and add them to pasta. Sounds delic! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. emily
    4 March 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Perfect for our dinner tomorrow night! Thanks for the suggestion– I never know what to do with Kale and I love it!!


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